NEW YORK (CBS/1010 WINS/WCBS 880) — A jury that heard eight days of gruesome testimony about a Connecticut family’s night of horror has convicted a paroled burglar of killing a mother and her two daughters.
Steven Hayes, 47, was found guilty Tuesday of capital felony murder in the July 2007 deaths of Jennifer Hawke-Petit and her daughters, 17-year-old Hayley and 11-year-old Michaela.
Hayes was found guilty on the following counts:
- Guilty of 6 counts of capital felony.
- Guilty of 3 counts of murder.
- Guilty of 4 counts of first-degree kidnapping.
- Guilty of 1 count of first-degree sexual assault.
- Guilty of 1 count of second-degree assault.
- Guilty of 1 count of third-degree burglary.
The only count of which Hayes was acquitted on was arson, WCBS 880’s Fran Schneidau reported. The jury determined it was not Hayes, but rather co-defendant Joshua Komisarjevsky who lit the match that torched the family’s gasoline soaked Cheshire house.
There was pin drop silence in the courtroom and Hayes showed no emotion as the verdicts were read, 1010 WINS’ Al Jones reported.
The jury deliberated roughly 4 1/2 hours over two days and in two weeks, the same jurors will begin hearing evidence on whether or not Hayes should be sentenced to the death penalty by lethal injection, CBS 2’s Lou Young reported.
Hayes’ defense conceded his involvement in the fatal home invasion but blamed his co-defendant for being the aggressor. Komisarjevsky faces trial next year. He also faces the death penalty.
Dr. William Petit thanked jurors for convicting one of the two suspects and spoke to reporters shortly after the verdict was read in court in New Haven on Tuesday afternoon.
“There is some relief, but my family is still, still gone. It doesn’t bring them back. It doesn’t bring back the home that we had,” Dr. William Petit said.
Petit was tied up and assaulted but managed to escape the 2007 attack in his family home in Cheshire.
Reporters asked Petit if he was going to be able to go through the agony of having to deal with the next phase of Hayes’ trial and Komsersevjesky’s trial.
“Do I really want to do it? Do I look forward to the ride every day? No. I have a little nausea every time get off the exit ramp, a little nausea every time I get out of the car and walk across the street, but I think I do it for my family,” Petit said.
Connecticut Gov. Jodi Rell released a statement shortly after the verdict was read, praising the incredible strength displayed by Dr. Petit during the trial.
“The murders of the Petit family horrified and disgusted us all, almost beyond the ability of words to convey. Today’s verdicts are a measure of justice – but they can never begin to restore the promise lost on that terrible day in July. That grief may ebb over time but it can never be fully expunged,” she said. “I commend Dr. Petit and his extended family for the remarkable strength and dignity they have displayed throughout this agonizing ordeal – which, of course, will continue through the penalty phase, the trial of another suspect and the legal proceedings that are certain to follow. I know that the people of Connecticut will continue to keep the Petit and Hawke families in their thoughts and prayers in the months to come.”