Within hours, three jurors were dismissed from what is likely to become one of the most notorious murder cases in Connecticut history.
Steven Hayes is one of two suspects accused of raping and strangling Jennifer Hawke-Petit, then raping, tying up and setting fire to the beds of her daughters, Hayley and Michaela.
Dr. William Petit, husband to Jennifer and father of the two girls, was the only person to survive.
Hayes’ trial began on Monday morning in a courtroom filled with reporters from all over the state, as well as national press.
As the trial began the judge asked each of the jurors if they had any communication or event that interferes with their ability to sit on jury and be fair.
One juror said she had heard about Hayes’ attempting suicide and attempting to change his plea and that she couldn't be fair. She was dismissed.
In April, Hayes changed his plea to guilty. Days later, he changed his plea back to not guilty.
Another juror was excused from serving after saying her hours at work have decreased and she can't afford to miss work.
A third juror was excused after she said she didn't want to go through it and that her "memory isn't all that great.”
Dr. Petit was in the courtroom on Monday. As he walked into the courthouse, he said he was happy to get things finally started.
Less than an hour later, Hayes arrived in a car with tinted windows, escorted by four police cars.
In the upcoming months, jurors will see forensic evidence of the alleged rapes, pictures of the crime scene and hear testimony from several people, including Dr. Petit, who will give his own account of what happened the day his wife and daughters were killed.
Petit will be able to remain in the courtroom through the entire trial, which could last six months.