Doc: Hayes Said He’d “Rather That They Kill Me”

The penalty phase goes on for man convicted in Petit murders.


As the trial for Steven Hayes resumed on Monday morning, a psychiatrist testified that he wanted the state to kill him and
a prison official testified that Hayes posed more concerns that he would harm himself in prison than his co-defendant did .

Dr. Justin Schechter evaluated Hayes twice in 2008 and said Hayes told him he was very depressed and said "I would rather that they kill me." Schechter said he didn't assess if Hayes really did hope to be executed, but saw his comment as an indication of Hayes' depression.

Theresa Lantz, retired commissioner of the state Department of Correction, said Hayes was kept on one-on-one, 24-hour observation for an extended period because of concerns he could harm himself.

His co-defendant, Joshua Komisarjevsky, was not.

As Hayes has served in prison, 24 disciplinary reports have been filed. In March, he was written up for making threats, including: I have nothing to lose. I'm going to kill" a prison guard, according to testimony.

One document says the prison warden thought that Hayes would be a threat to other inmates.  

Through the penalty phase, Hayes' defense team is trying to convince jurors to sentence Hayes to life in prison rather than to death and a psychologist is expected to testify that criminals do not become more violent behind bars.

Hayes, 47, was convicted of killing Jennifer Hawke-Petit and her daughters, Hayley, 17, and Michaela, 11, during a night of horrors in their Cheshire home in 2007. The home was burned to the ground with the women inside. Dr. William Petit escaped. He is  the only surviving victim.

This is the second week of the penalty phase.

Last week, several people took the stand for the defense. One person described Hayes as a follower and as a career criminal who was trying to get better.

The defense also bought out chilling segments from journals written by co-defendant Joshua Komisarjevsky.

In them, Komisarjevsky writes about his role in the Cheshire murders and about actually enjoying it.

The defense tried to show jurors that Hayes is the one who has remorse and, they argue, that explains why Hayes tried to kill himself in jail more than a dozen times by overdosing on pills and cutting his wrists.

The state argued that those attempts were all an act to get jurors' sympathy

Closing arguments are expected to happen at the end of this week. Jurors are expected to deliberate a life or death sentence for Hayes on Monday. 

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