Jury to Decide Life in Prison or Death for Hayes - NBC Connecticut

Jury to Decide Life in Prison or Death for Hayes



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    The face of evil: Steven Hayes

    Today, it is up to a jury to decide whether Steven Hayes’ should get the death penalty or life in prison for killing Jennifer Hawke-Petit and her two daughters in their Cheshire home.

    "Here we go. Ladies and gentleman. You found Steven Hayes guilty of 16 counts. You must now decide whether he lives or whether he dies," Judge Jon Blue told the jurors on Thursday. "You are to decide if Steven Hayes, a fellow human being, is to live or die."

    They will begin deliberating on Friday morning.


    Defense attorney Thomas Ullman argued on Thursday that sentencing Hayes to life in prison is the worst sentence for his client and called Hayes to the stand.

    “He's not a rabid dog that needs to be put down. He is neutral. His greatest freedom was to walk from here to desk,” Ullman said.

    He argued that Hayes doesn’t have any contact with people outside prison, stays in a tiny cell and is hated by the guards.

    “It’s a pipe dream that Hayes will end up in general population. He's a dead man if he does. He can't have contact with other inmates,” Ullman said.

    Hayes was convicting of killing Jennifer Hawke-Petit and her two daughters in the home invasion in 2007 in Cheshire.

    Hayes was convicted of sexually assaulting and strangling Hawke-Petit. Authorities said her daughters, Michaela and Hayley, died of smoke inhalation after they were tied to their beds and doused with gasoline before the house was set ablaze.

    As prosecutor Gary Nicholson made closing statements, he painted a picture of the horrific night and Hayes’ crimes. The women were burned in their beds and Nicholson talked about gas being poured on the women.

    “Those girl knew they were about to die a horrible death," prosecutors said

    Hayes’ brother, Matthew Hayes, is in court on Thursday and was visibly shaken.

    Earlier in the penalty phase, prosecutors introduced a two letters he wrote to Steven. One called his brother an abusive, calculating “monster.”

    His eyes were glued to a photo of the Petit family posted on a screen

    Hayes co-defendant, Joshua Komisarjevsky, faces trial next year.

    After each side makes its case, the jury will then get instructions from the judge and return Friday to begin deliberating.

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