The judge ended Steven Hayes’ trial early on Thursday because of his medical condition. Without offering specifics about the health concern, the judge said he wanted to err on the side of caution.
While adjourning early was frustrating for the Petit family, Dr. William Petit said outside court that the hearing is going faster than jury selection.
Jennifer Petit's sister, Cynthia Hawke-Renn, said she needs to be here, especially because her sister cannot, and that any delay, means that she will be spending more time away from her life in North Carolina, where her family and her job are.
Earlier in the day, Hayes’ lawyer said his client suffered seizure-like symptoms on Wednesday night and did not sleep. By 2 p.m., the judge adjourned court for the day.
Hayes did not seem to be ill in the courtroom, Renn said. "He did not seem to be ailing."
Earlier in the day, Hayes' attorney told the judge he wanted to proceed with caution and kept asking Hayes if he was OK.
Just after 2 p.m., the defense attorney said he received information at lunchtime about Hayes’ health and told the judge he did not want to move forward with court.
As court adjourned, members of the Petit family shook their heads.
Reporters stopped Renn outside court to talk about the judge's decision and the case in general.
It was clear that this is difficult for the family, but Renn said people have been very supportive. She also addressed seeing the photos that have brought jury members to tears.
When the family does not shed tears, she said, it is because they have seen these photos before and been through the destroyed house. Those images stay with them. They are something they never could forget, she said.