Prosecution Witnesses to Take Stand in Hayes Trial


A jury will hear from prosecution witnesses before deciding whether Steven Hayes should receive a death sentence for killing Jennifer Hawke-Petit and her two daughters, Hayley, 17, and Michaela, 11, during a home invasion.

Hayes’ attorneys rested on Monday, but Hayes' attorney, Tom Ullmann, said he planned to raise a legal challenge on Tuesday because a juror dismissed Friday for a derogatory comment about the defense was replaced with an alternate.

State law requires the same jury for the guilt and penalty phases of the trial.

Superior Court Judge Jon Blue said Monday the issue was an interesting legal argument over whether the phrase "the same jury" means the same 12 jurors or whether it can include alternates, as the Ohio Supreme Court ruled.

Prosecutors plan to call about three witnesses on Tuesday in New Haven Superior Court before the jury decides whether Hayes should get a death sentence or life in prison.

Closing arguments and jury instructions are planned later in the week before the jury begins deliberations.

Hayes was convicted of killing the Petits in their Cheshire home in 2007.

Defense lawyers have tried to show that Hayes was a follower and his co-defendant, Joshua Komisarjevsky, was the mastermind of the crime that led to the deaths of Jennifer Hawke-Petit and her daughters.

Prosecutors say both men are equally responsible. Komisarjevsky faces trial next year.
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