Court Decision “Does Not Bring Peace,” Says Brother of Steven Hayes

The brother of one of the two men who killed a mother and two children during a home invasion in Cheshire in 2007 says the Connecticut Supreme Court’s ruling on Thursday that the state’s death penalty is unconstitutional brings no peace to those who’ve suffered at the hands of the 11 men on death row.

Steven Hayes was convicted of killing Jennifer Hawke-Petit and her two daughters, Hayley, 17, and Michaela, 11, in a crime that shook the community of Cheshire, the entire state and beyond.

Matthew Hayes, the brother of Steven Hayes, released the following statement in reaction to the court’s decision yesterday:

"Thursday's ruling by the CT Supreme Court does not bring peace to any family or victim who has suffered at the hands of any of Connecticut's 11 CT Death Row inmates. Nobody is restored by the decision. While the death penalty has been a highly charged topic since the events of July 2007 in Cheshire, it has been highly politicized as well, but to what end.

As an educated society, we grapple with the profound question of any state taking life as reparation for a crime, even crimes as heinous as Cheshire. If the state has the penalty available, and has ethical issues imposing it, erring on the side of life is the wise choice, regardless of the justification for death.

When it comes to my brother's sentence, I, like many, am troubled. A hollow sentence ending in the eventual repeal of the death sentence leaves many wondering why the state charted a course they knew wouldn't stand review. For the many that were impacted by the events of Cheshire, I find peace knowing that Dr. Petit will never have to face the two men in court again; his healing can continue, without the barriers of endless appeals.

While we may not agree on the death penalty as an appropriate sentence, or whether Thursday's ruling is a step forward, I'm confident that moving this case, and the two individuals responsible into the history books, is in everyone's best interest."

Matthew Hayes
Seattle, WA


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