Crime Library: Criminal Minds and Methods

A Connecticut Nightmare

Facing Death

The state of Connecticut has only executed one person since 1960. "I know the public consensus is they should be fried tomorrow," Connecticut State's Attorney Michael Dearington said about Joshua Komisarjevsky and Steven Hayes just two days after the pair were arrested.

Komisarjevsky and Hayes werehave each been charged with six counts of capital felony murder and related charges, and would face execution if found guilty. The pair was also charged with six counts of first-degree kidnapping, as well as assorted assault, arson and robbery charges. Komisarjevsky was accused of sexually assaulting 11-year-old Michaela Petit and Hayes of sexually assaulting Jennifer Hawke-Petit.

Steven Hayes
Steven Hayes

After he was arrested, Steven Hayes was placed on 24-hour suicide watch and on January 31 prison guards found him unconscious in his cell. The accused killer was taken to the hospital in a coma but recovered within days. Sources say he tried to overdose on psychiatric medication.

Dr. William Petit has endorsed the death penalty for the two men accused of killing his wife and two daughters.

Hayes was tried in September 2010 and on October 5 was found guilty on 16 out of 17 charges. He was acquitted on one charge of arson for burning the Petit family home. On December 2, Hayes was sentenced to death.  He smiled as presiding Judge Jon Blue handed down six death sentences, one for each of the capital felony murder charges, and an additional 106 years for the other crimes committed during the home invasion.  After the sentencing, Hayes told the court, "Death for me will be a welcome relief and I hope it will bring some peace and comfort to those who I have hurt so much."

On October 13, 2011, after a month-long trial, Komisarjevsky was found guilty of six counts of capital felony murder as well as sexual assault.  During the sentencing phase, Komisarjevsky's attorneys fought for a life sentence, citing the sexual abuse he endured as a child.  On December 9, the same jury that convicted Komisarjevsky sentenced him to death after 5 days of deliberation.  Komisarjevsky showed no visible emotion as the sentence was delivered.  He will join his accomplice Steven Hayes and nine other men on Connecticut's death row, where he will likely spend decades before his sentence is carried out. 


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