Crime Library: Criminal Minds and Methods

A Connecticut Nightmare

Circle Closes In

The two men had occupied the Petit house for over six hours. After Steven Hayes and Jennifer Hawke-Petit arrived back at the house, the sequence of events becomes very difficult to describe. Investigators have refrained from talking about this period in the timeline, and the two accused killers have given different versions to police.

At 9:26 a.m., following the bank's 911 call, the first radio dispatch goes out on police radios about an incident at 300 Sorghum Mill Drive. At 9:36 a.m., a police officer is on foot in the Petit's yard trying to figure out if the persons from the bank — Jennifer Hawke-Petit and Steven Hayes — have even arrived back at the house. Police begin to form a road block on Sorghum Mill Drive and Cheshire's SWAT team starts to assemble.

Meanwhile, the people in the house are oblivious to the police lines closing around them.

According to Joshua Komisarjevsky, in questioning by investigators and journalist Brian McDonald, Steven Hayes was "getting violent" with Jennifer Hawke-Petit. He says he came downstairs to find the older man raping and strangling the mother. At some point, according to Komisarjevsky, Hayes said they would have to burn everything to get rid of the witnesses and the evidence.

The medical examiner says Jennifer Hawke-Petit died of strangulation. According to a search warrant , "One of the deceased was burned beyond recognition, with indications that an accelerant was liberally poured on her."


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