Crime Library: Criminal Minds and Methods

A Connecticut Nightmare


According to the Hartford Courant, "Joshua Komisarjevsky liked young girls." When he was 21, his 15-year-old girlfriend got pregnant. When he was 26, he dated a 17-year-old girl. The pair would go to the mall and have sex in the family restroom, sometimes taking pictures with his cell phone.

Michaela Petit
Michaela Petit

Police say Komisarjevsky used his cell phone camera to take photos of 11-year-old Michaela Petit during the home invasion on July 23, 2007. He told journalist Brian McDonald that the photos of Michaela were going to be used to blackmail her father. Prosecutors have charged Komisarjevsky with the murder of Michaela during a first-degree sexual assault.

Adding to the horror and incomprehensibility of that night is the fact that both Komisarjevsky and Steven Hayes have children of their own. Komisarjevsky's daughter, Jayda, was born while he was in prison and his ex-girlfriend was 16. Upon his release, he battled for custody. Steven Hayes has two children in their teens, a boy and a girl.

Besides having their own children, the two men themselves share troubled years as children. When he was 14, court records say, Komisarjevsky was raped by a foster child his parents had taken in. Hayes began drinking when he was 11 years old.

Hayes was living with his divorced mother in Winsted at the time of the Petit murders. His mother and brother suspected he was using drugs again because money he had saved had disappeared. When probation officials visited his house on July 20, 2007, his mother said it was time for him to go. Steven Hayes's probation mandated that he have a stable living address.

With his savings gone, authorities believe, Hayes needed to get cash so he could find a place to live. Steven Hayes called his halfway house friend Joshua Komisarjevsky, who says he was parked next to the Petits' Pacifica at the Super Stop & Shop when he got the call.