NEW HAVEN, Conn. (CBS 2/ WCBS 880) — He said “death will come as a relief.”
The monster that killed a mother and her two daughters in their Connecticut home broke his silence in court on Thursday, moments before he was sentenced to die.
The sentence of death was a rare ruling in that state and came just after the condemned man told the court he was tormented by what he did to the family, CBS 2’s Manuel Gallegus reports.
WCBS 880 Fran Schneidau reports from the sentencing of the Cheshire triple murderer, Steven Hayes
The only survivor of a murderous attack on his family, Dr. William Petit, didn’t say a word as he left the courthouse in New Haven.
Convicted killer Steven Hayes was sentenced to death for the strangulation and rape of Petit’s 48-year-old wife, Jennifer Hawke-Petit, and the murders of the couple’s young daughters, Hayley and Michaela.
The judge told Hayes, “This is a terrible sentence, but is, in truth, a sentence you wrote for yourself in flames.”
Petit was asleep on the couch of their Cheshire home when two men broke into the house, beat him and tied him up back in 2007.
The jury saw dramatic video of Hawke-Petit at a bank, where she withdrew $15,000 at the request of the robbers. A short time later, both she and her daughters were dead, and their home set on fire. Dr. Petit barely escaped to his next door neighbor’s.
Throughout the trial, Dr. Petit endured gruesome testimony, evidence, and crime scene photos with remarkable grace and composure.
Eyeing the photographs of his victims Hayes apologized, saying: “My actions have hurt so many people, affected so many lives, caused so much pain. I am tormented and have nightmares about what happened in that house.”
Hayes said death would be a welcomes relief.
Just before the sentencing Dr. Petit addressed the judge, telling him he has considered suicide many times and that he has lost his past and his future. The emotional statement had many in the court crying.
Other family members spoke, including Jennifer’s younger sister who said: “Some people are so evil that they do not deserve life. Steven Hayes falls into that category.”
But Hayes’ defense attorneys were outspoken against the death sentence.
“In my lifetime I hope I never have to stand next to someone getting sentenced to death. I was embarrassed for us as a society. It is a barbaric sentence,” Thomas Ullman said.
Hayes will now be one of 10 men on Connecticut’s death row.
The state has only executed one man since 1960. Hayes’ defense will appeal.
Hayes’ alleged accomplice, Joshua Komisarjevsky, is scheduled to stand trial next year.