Dec 29, 2010

Willim Petit Jr.: Person of the Year

While there is certainly no more deserving a man for this title, I personally feel that it might just be a bit of a misnomer. A very humble person who clearly carries himself as a bit of an every-man, William Petit was undoubtedly surprised to find himself thus honored by The New Haven Register this week.

From all appearances of the man however, he might be more apt to graciously accept the title of Most inspiring person of the year, as inspiring others would seem to be at the core of his life mission.

As far as I can see, William Petit. has achieved
something akin to miraculous within the three plus years following the murders of his wife and two daughters. He managed to take one unadulterated act of pure evil and turn it into thousands of waves of hope, and acts of ever-lasting good. And as with most good endeavours, it was a concert effort, with the hard work and support of many people and their efforts both within and outside of, The Petit Family Foundation, a non profit charity created in the wake of the murders. All donations and proceeds from events, such as the annual 5K Road Race IN Plainville, help others. Women who are affected by violent crime, others living with chronic illnesses such as Multiple sclerosis, and several other endeavours, all changing lives for the better.

Most astounding to most of us is that Dr. Petit managed to create and organize this extremely successful Foundation during a time when his own body and psyche were very much still in the process of healing; healing from injuries and post trauma inflicted within the same crimes that took the lives of his wife and daughters; Jennifer, Hayley and Michaela Petit. Those injuries included severe head and brain trauma  and  blood loss that nearly cost him his life: He was hospitalized for five days before being discharged, only to attend the funerals and memorialize his family.

Since those dark days in the summer and fall of 2007, Bill Petit  has been through many, many challenges that would daunt even the most stalwart person of faith. And yet, he  managed to not simply survive a feat within itself, but bit by bit he mustered the strength to make the traverse from victim to survivor, and then purveyor of good, affecting a widespread charitable movement of sorts that began with a handful of words that he made to the crowd that gathered at his family's memorial.

"If there is anything to be gained by the senseless murders of my beautIful family, let it be for all of us to  go forward and embrace a faith that embodies action; help a neighbor, fight for a cause, love your family. Continue the kindness and idelaism that defined these three women's lives"

And the recounting of  eleven year old daughter Michaela's favorite quote on her facebook page:
"You must be the change that you wish to see in this world"  "Be the change" has become the watchword of The foundation and all of the allied community efforts,  to raise money always for those struggling, suffering and in need.

Clearly an exceptionally caring and thoughtful girl, when she chose those words of Mahatma Gandhi, Michaela unwittingly pre-destined the core mission of the future Petit Family Foundation, as well as becoming the spark to an en-masse good works movement that began in the wake of the crimes that stole her young life; Crimes that took place in the suburbs of Hartford but whose ripple effects were felt continents away.

And William Petit Jr.brought all of this to us. He was, and still is, the messenger.Not only a victim of severe brutality and violence, he lost his wife, his daughters and his home within this terrible set of crimes. He could have easily chosen to curl up in the fetal position and give up on life. Few would blame him, many would expect it. But he didn't. Instead, he carried his family forward into this world, by doing what they might do if they were still with us. And he asked us all to try to emulate the kind and giving qualities that these three  people graced this world with.

With Hayes, Here We Go Again

I found this article in my archives today of all places.

Having recalled that this Post generated a lot of controversial commenting,  I thought it  more deserving then residing in dusty old draftswille, in fact I don't know how it wound up there.

From today's vantage point, many months later, as we now enter the penalty phase of Steven Hayes trial, which commences tomorrow morning, the piece has an even bigger punch than it did when first written:

As much as this columnist expressed what seemed a genuine respect for veteran public defender Thomas Ullmann, by doing so within this frame of reference, she almost seemed to be willing him not to pull a redux of the Michael Ross debacle with Hayes ie When Ross, like Hayes, wished to take accountability for his crimes and Ross's over- zealous public defenders, simply and quite literally-would not allow it.

At the same time, the writer seemed resigned to the fact that, her admiration for Ullmann not withstanding, the Hayes case was already heading in the same direction at that very moment.

She was right of course.

Attorney Ullmann and Culligan and their team of tax paid minions, fought tooth and nail to disallow Hayes from doing what was his absolute right to do:plead guilty to the crimes that he was accused of AND INDEED committed.

Every legal parlor trick in the book was brought out: first his competency was questioned, then when he was found to be competent, Ullmann and Culligan threatened that if need be, they would break the attorney/ client privilege and share information with the court that Hayes had made to them, within that pact, that would supposedly influence the court regarding the finding of his own ability to represent himself and declare himself guilty.

He gave in his lawyers in the end and reversed his plea back to Not Guilty and Ullmann got to walk away thinking himself a hero for refusing to" let Steven Hayes' commit state assisted suicide." This after he stated that a life in prison on death row is worse than the death penalty itself.

Which is it Mr Ullmann? Or are you suggesting he deserves worse than the Capital punishment that was in fact LAW when he and Komisarjevsky with full aforethought and Mal intent, set about breaking into the Petit household with their primary motive sexual assault

  ie  their phone texts prior to the crimes had Hayes chomping at the bit to start the evening's rape and carnage"Hold your horses dude:"   HAYES REPLIED Dude my horses are ready to bust out !!!"

This was a clear sexual reference and illustrates beyond a doubt that the two men had discussed raping Michaela and likely Hayley, according to Kmisarjevsky's interviews with writer Mike MacDonald who he surreptitiously met with in prison for "interviews" based on Komisarjevsky;s version of the crimes, he in effect sold Hayes on the home invasion cajoling him and titillating his evil side telling him how attractive the girls and Mrs Petit a young blond shapely mother of both teens. He'd spotted then stalked the family at an area supermarket and followed them home with his pedophilia lust trained upon Michaela only eleven years old.

Tragically all we are left with is a 20 20 hindsight and  a murdered mother and her two young daughters. We cannot continue to forget that Dr Petit was severely assaulted in this so called home invasion which is clearly a set of sex crimes whereupon the family member who poses the most threat is removed first Mr Petit was the only man of the house asleep on the sunporch when the men stalked the house intent upon their mission. Rape pillage and Burn the evidence.

Dec 27, 2010

Judge Blue denies Defense request for "reconsideration" motion to Re-try Hayes case

pdf of denial of motion

Judiciary Committee Co-Chairmen Both Tapped By Malloy

This ought to be interesting. At least Mike Lawlor will be off the Judiciary committee and out of the House of Representatives. For this, I am grateful.

Lets see if Mr. Lawlor has any skill with the practical implementation of the myriad of legislation, some of which he has the audacity to "lay claim to" after the political dust settles.. Translation: he has a habit of taking credit for popular new laws and reforms at voting time, when in fact, he, with his considerable influence over the weaker members in the House,(of which there are an abundance) usually crushed the very legislation that he later proclaims is his brain child within his election time advertising. This audacity seems to stem from a certainty that the majority of the CT residents a) don't know what is best for them, and b) don't pay attention to what is going on in the house and senate anyway. Ironically, this the has overtones of the BUSH-ESQUE "fodder units" referrals, and the mindset that accompanies such verbiage.

A classic example;  The hotly debated " three strikes law" that was demanded by the Connecticut public  in the wake of the Petit family murders. Lawlor, an attorney and former prosecutor, did all he could to fight the notion of a standardized sentencing law that would have greatly limited prosecutorial discretion. Instead, when the public temper increased, due to the release of even more details concerning the considerable criminal backgrounds of the two paroled men that killed three members of the Petit family members, emerged, Lawlor mocked the very concept of a three strikes law and stalemated the house on the vote. As a result the state wound up with some mishmash "persistent offender law" that is rarely if ever actually used.

And then to add insult to injury, many months later, Lawlor mendaciously claimed to be the "author of a new three strikes legislation" in his election pamphlet. He did not say "persistent offender law", he actually used the words Three Strike Law, hedging his bets that the average voter wouldn't know the difference anyway. This sneaky lowly maneuver typifies the man the legislator and the human being.

So we the people of Connecticut are left with a persistent offender law that has rarely, if ever since, been actually used in the courts. The only exception is  perhaps as a bargaining tool to encourage a defendant to take a plea for a lesser charge as an incentive to avoid a jury trial and wind up convicted and thus eligible for the already dusty "new" persistent offender sentencing law. Then techinally  the prosecutor or Judge  is alllowed to dole out a stricter sentence based upon a repeat offender status. However, this is only with certain crimes and not crimes that the defendant committed or was arrested. The record then only reflects "convictions" in the past a string of plea bargained down charges that reside on the OFFICIAL criminal record as a result of all of this nonsense.

I would say that Lawlor is the consummate politician, but he is actually more dangerous and morally flawed than that phrase implies. I am actually growing some respect for soon to be Governor Malloy, if in fact he made this move with Lawlor intelligently, with any of the aforementioned as considerations. We'll have to wait and see.

Dec 20, 2010

Madison spa founder holds fundraiser for Petit foundation

This is something I like to read about; especially near the holidays, people doing good things to help others in need.

Dec 15, 2010

The Crime Report » Archive » CT Gov.-Elect Vows To Fund Delayed Justice Reform Plans

I was quite heartened to read of this today and I can only hope that our new Governor is genuine regarding his commitment to seeing the long-delayed Judicial reforms that were passed by the Connecticut Legislature two years ago, finally become a reality. Those reforms, we were assured by Governor Rell , " were "just the beginning. " This, all in the wake of the Petit family murders and several other tragic sexual assaults and murders in the state, all committed by recently paroled career felons. Seven people were killed in three separate violent crime incidents, all occurring within months of each other in late 2007. The reforms hastily and in some cases, grudgingly passed by a somewhat reluctant and petulant house of representatives, and less so the State Senate.

I have asserted for quite some time that there is no more essresponsibilityesponsibility of our state government than to protect its
citizens from crime.And while this starts with our Police force, the bulk of our state's issues with crime do not exist within law enforcement; These men and women are on the lines doing their jobs and usually doing them well They are often frustrated by the same things that frustrate victims of crime, victims advocates, probation and parole officers and Activists for Domestic Violence and sexual assault.

The state has major issues with such important issues as bail, I recently posted an article about unscrupulous bail bondsmen, and completely inconsistent bail amounts for similar crimes, often leading to men being bonded out too easily and going right back out to commit immediate further violence upon whomever they were placed under arrest for attacking or stalking in the first place. Then there is the issue of our Parole system; inexperienced parole board members with insufficient training, no enough forensic psychologists to assess likelihood of re offending. We have one now on our entire Connecticut Parole board-we had none prior to 2008.

Communication between departments within the judicial arm of the government has been abysmal at best. The Petit murders brought to light an age old issue that unbenowst to the people of the state had been going on for years whiteout resolution, putting hundreds of innocent lives at risk and finally culminating in the perfect storm of one Steven Hayes, and one Joshua komisarjevsky, two recklessly paroled inmates who despite reams of criminal records showing both as high risks to the public were paroled anyway due to a common problem of a lack of complete criminal records that had been going on for years and paroles were still being granted left and right..

A lack of time limits for a violent crime case resolution always always benefits the defendant, and in turn always detracts from the victim's case and the victim them self..The inordinately high plea bargain percentage in Connecticut at 96-97% of all criminal cases

Dec 12, 2010

Man Charged With Killing Jasper Howard Scheduled For Trial In January

I am happy to see that the trial for this young man's accused murderer is moving
along so swiftly. What so many Connecticut resident's don't realize is that murder
trials generally don't begin for an average of  3-4 years from the time of the actual murder(s):

We are a state notorious for time- consumptive individual voire dire processes, (the jury selection process whereby the attorneys involved in a violent crime case question each potential juror separately, and ad nauseum, leading to a colossal waste of time, adding more motivation to the court to simply plea bargain a case in order to avoid a trial )Aswell as an over- liberalized system that has become hijacked by defense attorneys, thanks to a Judiciary committee  (comprised largely of attorneys themselves) and a state legislature,whose many members seem to suffer from a reflexive class-guilt that seems to compel them to empathize more easily with chronic offenders than with the victims and future victims of these offenders.

It has gotten to the point where even many Judges expect, and indeed, defend the "norm:" which appears to be a minimum of a three year wait from the date of a crime's commission to the advent of a jury selection. Case in point, Judge Damiani,  currently retired but presided over the early court machinations of the Petit murder case. More aptly, he presided over the barrage of continuances that served as "pre-trial hearings"  for the Petit case. This wait is not exclusive to that case, it is pretty much the norm for all violent crime cases in this state, including rape, murder and capital murder.

This ever widening time berth between a crime's occurrence and its actual Judicial  resolution is one of the few things that is indeed color and class blind. The highly publicized Petit family capital murder case fell victim to it, in effect, a second victimization for William Petit and his family members, this time at the hands of the State's Judicial process,.

Two years after the murders of Jennifer, Hayley and Michaela Petit, the presiding Judge appeared to take it as a personal affront when William Petit dared complain about the length of time that had passed between the crimes that left him with severe head injury and no wife, children nor home, and the slightest signs of a trial being scheduled. He was given what amounted to a tongue-lashing, in open court. This, when the State Victim's Advocate brought Petit's concerns to the Judge. As I recall, when admonishing Petit, the Judge cited that a three year wait for a trial was well within the" normal parameters for a capital murder case"
And, he added," he considered it an insult to both he and his court" that Petit had implied that this wait was ludicrous..

I'm not sure why the Jasper Howard case has moved so swiftly through our court's usually hapless pace.
It could be the young man's celebrity that has helped move our normally sluggish judicial system along faster than it's norm, or perhaps there is an unusually dedicated prosecutor and/or presiding judge involved in the case. Whatever the reason, I am glad to see that it is happening for any victim of violent crime for the sake of their family and thier legacy in this world. They need a voice, their voice has been silenced.
I recently wrote an article about the Connolly murders that took place in Fairfield Connecticut; my home town. The Connolly's were the much loved long-time.married owners of a local Jewelry store, they were shot to death by a repeat felon with his girlfriens acting as lookout. The murders occurred in 2005, the suspects were in custody within weeks, yet for some reason, November 2010 finally marked the completion of jury selection for the defendant in these murders.. Six years after a  brutal double murder, and the trial is just now being scheduled. for 2011.

Something is terribly wrong here.

The Connecticut Legislative body needs to roll up their collective sleeves, pass a crime bill that enforces clear time limits between a crime's occurrence and when it is tried, or resolved by plea bargain. The right to a speedy trial should not be an exclusive right of the defendant. I daresay that a victim of violent  crime and the family of victims murdered or surviving, have as much at stake as the defendant.

 It is time that a legitimate article of victims rights is created and those rights become as rigid and unwavering as the rights of defendants. 

Brett Bednarz "Person of Interest" in Triple Murders Thanksgiving Day East Hartford

I'm sorry to say that my supposition regarding the brutal murders of a 74 year old woman   Bernice Therrian and a couple who cared for her on Thanksgiving day, were correct: It does appear to be a Domestic Violence crime at this time.

The adult son, and possibly the adult daughter of one of the victims, the elderly woman homeowner who was bludgeoned to death, are both being investigated by Police as possible suspects in the slayings. 46 Year old Brett Bednarz had been arrested in October for assaulting his mother and thanks to Connecticuts automatic plea bargaining system he wound up with a a Breach of Peace charge instead of assault and thus did not have a criminal record that reflected the danger that he posed-to both his mother and any other person who he might predate upon.

A home in Manchester, where both Bednarz and his sister reportedly reside together, was served a bench warrant for criminal search and seizure in the days following these murders.Bednarz was subsequently atrrested for marijuana possession and was taken into custody where police said he was cooperating with the investigation.  Police have now informed the public that the Bednarz continues to be a person of interest in the murder of his mother and the two caretakers that were killed along with her in her home on thanksgiving day. All three were killed by severe blunt force trauma of the head with Mrs Therrien being the most severe assault, usually indicating a personal attack with associated rage.

Mr Bednarz has been arrested multiple times in the past, including charges of assault. Apparently the Police had been called to the East Hartford residence where these murders took place at least five times in the months before the murders occurred. I will update as more information becomes available. My guess is that an arrest is imminent.

Dec 7, 2010

Jury selection set for Joshua Komisarjevsky - Petit Family Murders

We finally have a date set for jury selection for the Komisarjevsky's trial. Truth be told, although both of these men are despicable and obviously guilty of these crimes, I am more emotionally invested in seeing Komisarjevsky prosecuted. Hayes was tried and recently convicted and sentenced to death after a long and emotionally draining trial..

 Both men were complicit in the assaults and murders of  Jennifer, Hayley and Michaela Petit, However, Joshua Komisarjevsky was the instigator of these crimes, it is he who made certain that the assaults and murders occurred. Because he is significantly younger than Hayes,  many people mistakenly assumed that Komisarjevsky was the proverbial second-hand guy- when in fact the opposite is true; He targeted this family for his own personal reasons, a pedophiles attraction to Michaela Petit. As well, this was Komisarjevsky turf,  He lived in Cheshire his entire life, when he wasn't in prison ie for setting fires (age 14) and breaking into houses where the homeowners were often sleeping in their beds. This was something that Hayes had never done prior to meeting Komisarjevsky. Komisarjevsky was out of prison and living in his parents home, less than 2 miles from the Petit's house at the time of the crimes.

The two men had met at a halfway house on their last leg of a shortened prison sentence, care of early release parole thanks to the Connecticut Parole board. The two men struck a "friendship" for what that is worth between two psychopaths, likely discovering their shared fantasies of sexual violence and their wanton disregard for the rights of others. It's clear that Komisrajevsky basically used Hayes,( as far as one can engage someone who is criminally-minded to begin with) for a night of sexual assault with robbery thrown in as a bonus of sorts.Robbery was not the main intention of these crimes.

In order to make the crime more appealing to Hayes, Komisarjevsky dangled the idea of raping  attractive Jennifer Hawke Petit, who at 48 was close to Hayes age, and reportedly described to Hayes as  " tall blond young- looking attractive Mom". That would be Mom to Michaela Petit, the eleven year old daughter of the Petit's,tragically the true prize that Joshua Komisarjevsky had set his sights on,  after spotting her with her mom at an area supermarket that very same day.

It was not a "chance intersection of three peoples lives" that sparked the beginning of one of the worst set of crimes that the state of Connecticut has ever seen" - as we have all heard over and over in the media..
It was rather one Joshua Komisarjevsky -  sociopath, pedophile, stalker, thief, who "sparked" these

It  also drives me crazy when I see that the media and press still refer to the Petit crimes as  "robbery gone awry." One only need read the text messages sent between the men in the hours before the break-in, to see what was foremost on their minds.

Hayes:.'Hey, are we still on for tonight...?!
Komisarjevsky: " Yes definitely."
Hayes " I'm chomping at the bit to get started,  I need a Martguerita !."
Komisarjevsky:  " hold your horses, I'm putting the kid to Bed "
* Yes, this thug had a five year old daughter, who he had just won primary custody of no less. Again thanks to the state of Connecticut family court this time, this after  just getting out of prison for a string of 23 home break ins!

Hayes "Dude, the horses are dying to get loose lol...!

The sexual innuendo is obvious, this is not a reference to a robbery. The two men had been committing home- break ins together, for the prior two nights beginning the very first evening that the komisarjevsky had his Connecticut dept of corrections tracking anklet officially removed.  The decision regarding how long the anklet stayed on Komisarjevsky was determined by the Connecticut Parole board who as we now know were haphazardly paroling dangerous offenders for years. The pair had broken into a total of three houses, all while the homeowners were in bed asleep. But there were signs that the two had been discussing and thinking about going further with those crimes, in the direction of sexual assault and/or violence:

The last house to be robbed the night before the Petit home invasion, had had a butcher knife left stuck into the counter top in the kitchen, as well as several framed photographs of the family members stolen. Those photographs all included attractive women.  It was clear from the small amount of facts leaking out to various news sources before the gag order was placed on the case, that these crimes were motivated by sexual violence, which at its core is about dominance and control. The money that the men managed to procure from Mrs Petit, likely originated as a desperate offer by Mrs Petit, hoping and trying to buy the men's goodwill and get them out of the house, without her daughters being sexually assaulted or harmed.

 She had a lovely 17 tear old  daughter and a  pretty 11 year old girl in the middle of puberty. She may or may not have been aware of Joshua Komisarjevsky attraction to Michael as all three were tied up in separate rooms for the majority of the evening/morning hours. She may have been more worried about their intentions with her daughter Hayley, not knowing that Komisarjevsky was in fact a pedophile. Hayely, a strong athletic intelligent girl was way too much of a threat to Komisrajevsky's lightweight ego. He needed someone he could control well as physcially.

It should be mentioned that all of Joshau komisarjevsky's girlfriends, as well the mother of his then 5 year old daughter, were a maximum of 15 years old when he became sexually involved with them, this meant a 11 year difference with the girlfriend he had at the time of the Petit crimes. This speaks volumes about the guy.Unfortunately, Michaela Petit was tall for her age and appeared  a bit older than her 11 years, perhaps 14 or so,

I do not believe that the men were overt in their sexual molestations or assaults of  the Petit girls prior to Hayes leaving for the bank with Mrs Petit in tow As we know from the Hayes trial evidence, Joshua Komisarjevsky took a series of  nude photos of Michaela at approximately 7 am that morning around the time when Hayes was believed to be at a gas station, filling multiple containers with gasoline, thus a plan was already hatched to burn the entire house down with all of the family members tied up in the house -including the injured Dr Petit, who lay bleeding from his severe head wounds tied to a pole in his basement.

The Photos were taken on komisarjevsky's cell phone and showed Michaela in various outfits, including a school girl outfit consisting of a plaid skirt and a white sleeveless top. She had been taken out of her pajama's that she had been wearing in order to pose her tied in various outfits and stages of undress. The plaid skirt is classic pedophile behavior and it makes me livid that this guy targeted the youngest, most vulnerable person in the house. But this is exactly why she was targeted.

I have speculated that the money that Mrs Petit got from the bank may very well have been a bribe of sorts, and the men pretended to be as harmless as they could up until the point where they received the money. As well we discovered via the Hayes trial, the moment that Mrs Petit left for the bank with Hayes was when Joshua Komisarjevsky chose to fully sexually assault Michaela Petit.

 He had likely been trying to gain the trust and compliance of Jennifer Hawke Petit up until he point where the money was in hand. And  unfortunately that is exactly when both men turned on her, the moment she returned from the bank into her home. As a woman and a survivor of violent crime,it is this moment that I cannot help but imagine and re-live as Jennifer Petit must have.  The thoughts running through her mind, the terror for her family, the fear the shock.  Both men tied her up,including a noose around her neck. She was raped and strangled by Steven Hayes, while Komisarjevsky walked in and out of the room.
This was testimony of Hayes's, which in this particular case, sounds believable. Hayes admits to killing Mrs Petit, although at various times, he gave different reasons for doing so, one of which was at the provocation of Komsarjevsky who said to "get rid of her" I believe that once they broke in and were facing serious charges they soon planned to kill all of the members of the Petit household. Only after sexually assaulting the Mrs Petit adnd the girls. They assumed by burning down the home with the Petit's tied up inside that this  would be rid of all DNA evidence as well as witnesses.

Mrs Petit might have began screaming when she realized the men were going to kill her and her family and Hayes either reacted by choking her to death, or Komisarjevsky  ordered him " to "get rid of her" as Hayes had originally claimed. We will probably never know the entire truth unless Steven Hayes chooses to finally come completely clean now that he has been found guilty and sentenced. This he could do for the sake of the Petit Hawke families and for the successful prosecution of Joshua komisarjevsky
Until now, his attorneys would not allow him to tell the truth just as they wouldnt allow him to plead guilty months before the trial.

Joshau Komisarjevsky, in classic sociopath form, will assuredly never tell the truth regarding these crimes. He is a textbook sociopath,  deceitful manipulative and lacking in any real human conscience. He will do anything to avoid being exposed for what he truly is,.and he will avail himself of whatever and whomever is handy in doing so. In his criminal case, public defender Jeremiah Donovan, has already taken unusually big risks as an attorney for this guy, ie breaking a Court imposed Gag order trying to deflect guilt derived from fiorensic evidence showq during the hayes trial He would have us believe is this is some baby faced kid who simply got caught up in Steven Hayes murderous acts.. The forensic evidence has already shown that this is clearly not the case and that of the two men, komisarjevsky was a further evolved sexual predator.

It is my fervent desire and belief that in 2011, a Jury of twelve of Mr. Komsitrajevsky's peers will find him guilty of Kidnapping, Arson, Murder, Assault, and Sexual assault of a minor child, and sentence him to death. Until then, we will continue carrying on the spirit of the Petit women, by helping others in need through the Foundation that William Petit Jr founded in the wake of this tragedy.
The Petit Family Foundation .

Cheshire Killer Steven Hayes Talks at Sentencing

Dec 5, 2010

Motion to "reconsider motion for a New Trial" filed by Hayes Defense Team

Another motion was filed in New Haven Superior Court on Thursday by Steven Hayes Defense Team; The motion requested a recosideration" of  a former motion filed by said defense, last week
requesting a new trial for Mr Hayes. That motion cited multiple factors that the defense claimed caused the Hayes Jury to become biased,
distracted and unduly influenced  by the unusually large media presence among other things.

It should be noted that the defense never objected, formally or otherwise,to the media presence during the entire trial proceedings,themself, nor did they object verbally,or in writing, to the judge or prosecutor, regarding the seating arrangements for the Petit/ Hawke families,an issue that is believe it or not, shamelessly being cited as a reason for the need for a new trial, both within the first and 2nd motion filed by hayes's attorneys. 

The original motion for a new trial was officially denied by Judge Blue six days after it was received by the court. Blue clearly gave the motion due diligence, he offered  extremely succinct counter-arguments for each and every defende claim re how Hayes right to a fair trial was infringed upon ie  by;the media presence, the presence of the Petit's extended family in the Jury's presence, and a host of other objections, many of which bordered on just plain ludicrous..

In the original motion, the defense used the heavy media presence and the "distraction" that it\ had on the Jury, claiming it ultimately affected the verdict,as well as the sentencing during the sentencing phase.
This argument was once again at the nucleus of the motion to "reconsider" The defense team essentially said that Judge Blue's decision regarding the original motion was based upon unsound legal reasoning, and they basically tried to dismantle each point that the Judge carefully laid out in his brief.

This succession of motions is perfect example of why our courts need to begin setting limits on what is clearly abuse of the system by defense attorneys -  public defenders or otherwise.It almost becomes a form of
blackmail, holding the process hostage as it were, which is how our courts got into this mess to begin with.
It is clear that Mr.Ullmann, being an avid anti death penalty propagandist, simply will not let any defeat" stand in any Death Penalty case where he is the defense attorney.

It certainly cheapens Ulmann's vociferous stance when he dons the same  arrogant indigence  over every single case, no matter the brutality of the crimes that his client commits, how many victims lay in his wake and whether they include children, etc..

 In Ullmanns world,  the moral "wrngness of the death penalty" transcends all of these small
insignificant  facts like actual guilt -  the law- how many people suffered as a result of the violence and death..
The contention surrounding the death penalty  gives Attorneys like Thomas Ullmann permission to throw all  considerations out the window;The state is trying to kill his client-that's all he needs,or cares to know; he is thus transformed from a public defender who will defend anyone for anyhting into a self appointed hero for the "underdog."
Never mind that the Dog is rabid.

According to statement made in court during last weeks sentencing, Steven Hayes said that he was glad to receive the death Penalty by the Jury. Indeed he claimed that he" is  tortured by the crimes that he has committed, and that death will be a welcome relief when it comes. He added that he hopes his death will bring some comfort and peace to Dr Petit and the other family members of those he hurt.


Dec 1, 2010

Family speaks at Steven Hayes official sentencing

The formal sentencing of  Steven J Hayes took place in New Haven Superior Court this morning. The courtroom was packed with the usual considerable media presence, as well as members of the general public fortunate enough to make it into the courtroom, which quickly became standing room only.

All were gathered to witness the official meting out of justice to the man convicted of murdering Jennifer, Michaela and Hayley Petit, and severely injuring sole survivor, Wilium Petit Jr..

Various members of the victim's family spoke prior to the sentencing, some directly addressing the man convicted of murdering their family members. Each statement was filled with emotion packed descriptions of  loss, grief, and anger,  pulling back the curtain in effect on the true devastation caused by this set of violent crimes.

A lengthy video-taped statement made by Jennifer Petit's sister, Cindy Renn, was also played in the courtroom. As Renn pointedly addressed her sister's killer; she described, in vivid detail the life destruction that began in the wake of the murders and continues to this day.

It was within the biggest and the smallest details that Renn shares that the enormity of the consequences of the crimes became wholly appreciated.. Generally speaking , very few family member's of victims of violent crime get the chance to make public the depth and breadth of  the trauma and hardship caused by violent crime such as these; except perhaps within the rooms of crime survivor support groups, that a fortunate few might find refuge in. To me, the words of Cindy Renn and the rest of Petit Hawke family members are the most important ones spoken since the advent of this trial.

.The following is a link to the transcript of  Cindy Renn's videotaped statement.

 renn's statement

Nov 29, 2010

Man Previously Convicted Of Murder Arrested In Fatal Shooting

Yet more violent crime resulting from Connecticut's sentencing practices for repeat offenders.. If  I was prone to making puns, I would say that our State's sentencing practices are criminal.

This murderer, or I should say multiple murderer, as it would now appear, was convicted in 1993 for murdering another man and yet here he was clearly out of prison, free to kill yet another person. I'd be interested to know exactly how long Perez had been out before being arrested for this murder and what other crimes, if any, he has committed in the interim.

And just an aside here; why wasn't taking someones life worth at least twenty years in prison in 1993?

Since there was no mention of Perez being on Parole when he arrested for this recent murder, it has probably been a number of years since he's been out.  I can predict with pretty much certainly that the 93 murder case was plea bargained, as plea deals have been the preferred adjudication method for violent crime in Bridgeport Ga2 Court for quite some time. If there was a deal,t this means is that Perez likely  received a much lower sentence than what he would have, should have, received for any murder conviction.

By the very nature of the "deal," charges are dropped down a level or two, and in the case of multiple charges, other charges are dropped entirely, never to be seen again on that criminals official record.
The results of this can be dangerous; inappropriate lesser sentences, lowered criminal charges leading to misleading and inaccurate criminal records, records that fail to illustrate the criminal's true potential for future violence..

As well the plea deal model for serious crime has long wreaked havoc with our Parole Board and their infamously less than- scientific-parole determinations. We've all heard about the disastrous affects of the ill advised early release parole of Joshua Komisarjevsky, co-accomplice believed to be the mastermind of the crimes against Michaela, Hayley and Jennifer Petit. But be assured that the same parole issues have been behind many other crimes committed by inappropriately paroled offenders.

In the Petit case, several  errors within our justice system combined to create a perfect storm of sorts for one of the most brutal homicides that this state has ever seen. A computer based centralized criminal records system was approved in 2008 by the Connecticut Legislature in the wake of gaggle of state murders, all committed by repeat offenders released on early Parole.The system has yet to be implemented,  although the funding for it was supposed to be made available this year.

Plea Deals represent approximately 96% of  Connecticut's criminal case resolutions, They are not made for the reasons that one might think, such as the State having a "weak case,"  as depicted in shows like  Law and Order. No, what we've got in too many of our state's courthouses is rote plea bargaining, bbusiness as usual. The plea deals helps speed things up, move along the daily dockets, and most of all, avoid the need to go to trial.  After all, trials are time-consuming, especially in Connecticut, where our individual voire-dire practice has long been a  prohibitive factor in taking cases to trial. 

It has actually gotten to the point where the ownice is put upon the victim, if he or she must have justice, they are told to pursue such in civil court.

Needless to say, few victims of violent crime have the resources- or the wherewithal, in a post traumatic haze, to pursue a civil suit for the Justice that they did not receive in criminal court.. Not to mention reparations, where applicable. Often the offender has little to nothing to sue, and few attorneys are interested in obtaining an empty civil judgement for the notion of Justice or closure for a victim.

After an average of 9-12 months of fruitless continuances, "hearings" whereupon the perps attorney will ask the Judge for another 4-6 weeks to "review" said case, ie simply drag it out, increasing their billed court time in the process, the deal is officially made between prosecutor and attorney, behind closed doors.
The victim is typically left with his or her case watered down to some obsolete charge(s) that don't begin to resemble the crimes that were committed against them.

Nov 27, 2010

Judge Denies Defense Motion For A New Trial In Hayes Case

This morning, the Friday after Thanksgiving day, Judge Blue officially responded to a motion made earlier this week by the Hayes defense team, a motion that in effect asked for a new trial for Hayes,a  man who was found guilty over a month ago of the murders of Jennifer, Michaela and Hayley Petit, and a myriad of other charges related to those capital crimes. Just three weeks ago, Hayes officially received his death penalty sentence, this after an arduous four days of deliberations by the clearly-conscientious Jury.

After pouring over the extremely detailed response by Judge Blue to the rather lengthy motion by the Hayes Defense team) a motion that I also read in its entirety and found akin to a desperate fishing expedition using a giant net with holes) I became even more impressed with Judge Blue, His finely detailed and methodical response to each claim in the Defense's motion, a motion that had at it's core the notion that various happenings and circumstances within the trial itself and the jury's mode of arriving at its sentence, caused an unfair and prejudicial verdict, and retrospectively, (being the key word here)--
Steven Hayes sentence as well,

Point by salient point, Judge Blue made veritable mince-meat out of of each and every one of the Defenses examples of supposed improprieties which they claimed caused their client to be unable to receive a fair trial, both inside and outside of the courtroom. Ffastidiously and patiently Blue responded to the defense claims as if they were valid, While Judge illustrated his signature common sense in his response to this motion,  I got to see another side of him in reading his actual brief; the savvy and methodical lawyer that clearly still resides within.,0,4556986.htmlpage/

Nov 25, 2010

Nov 24, 2010

Judge denies Hayes acquittal on assaultt on William Petit/ No answer on request for a new New Trial

Good coverage of the follow-up court-side happenings regarding the recent ridiculous defense motions in the Hayes case 

Thank God there was an intelligent Judge presiding over this case, hearing these nonsensical fluff motions. Judge Blue took it all in stride, and handled it with his usual Judicial commonsense and integrity.

Nov 21, 2010

Following denial of delay request, Hayes' attorneys seek new trial

"Sounds like there's no there, there", said Judge Blue regarding the post-verdict motions made by the hayes defense team this week, the first a request to delay sentencing and the second a motion for a new trial.

Mr. Dearington might not have read the second defense motion at the time of this article, but I did and I can assure  that it is more of the same nonsense;: A waste of taxpayer money being spent up by an overly tenacious  public defender with a bad case of sour grapes.It almost appears that Attorney Ulmann shares the same kind of hatred of  perceived affluence that helped fuel his client, and accomplice, to commit and escalate these crimes as they did.. All I know is that we have heard way too much of Ullmann's by now, very tired " special treatment" accusations aimed at the victims of this case, accusations that began shortly after he was "compelled" to take on Steven Hayes as a client.

In fact, these same cries of classism and  racism (I know, of all things) were at the core of a overly personalized,  very unprofessional  tirade made by Ullmann over a year ago in response to prosecutor Dearington's request for two simultaneous trials for The Petit murder co-accomplices, Steven Hayes and  Joshua Komsisarjevsky..

These very same crimes a year later Mr Ulmann  would assurre the Hayes jury,  caused he and his co-counsel " a terrible sadness." On this particular occasion however, Ulmann was bitterly claiming that" it makes me sick"   ie. that the courts were EVEN cconsidering, ( for a seeming nano-second ) the practical viability of trying both men simultaneously.
It "made Mr Ullmann sick. "

Let me give yall a bit of background here; The entire prospect of trying the two defendants in these murders  was being considered for several good reasons; one, in an effort to give some kind of more reasonable timetable for the criminal cases for both the families and sole survivor and witness,William Petit, Petit, by that point, had been waiting over two years with little to no actual movement in the cases. No date for the first Jury selection had been set.

Secondly the state wished to spare the families and William Petit from re-living the horrors of these crimes in two seperate trials, trials likely carried out over years, This would keep he and his family in an emotional stasis, unable to heal from his trauma and grief.due As well as the practical need to retain as much information/memory about the night of the murfers in order to be the best possible witness for the State.
 Petit was in the unusual psosition of being a victim, a witness and a greiving family member.

Seeing as both men had openly admitted that they'd planned and carried out the crimes together, it was undisputed that the crimes were a joint venture, This certainly could have made for an argument that two accomplices should be tried together,and many people in the state assumed that they would. It certainly wouldnt be the first time that this was done., But as criminals are want to do, the two men were trying to pin the very worst of the crimes on each other, ( you know the parts that were eligible for the death peanlty)and this meant adversarial defenses,and any notion of one trial was quickly dropped for that reason.

However, the idea of trying the two men at the same time, in different courtrooms, in order to save adjudication time, spare the family and survivor william Petitt, the considerable emotional toll that two trials spread out over years would bring, this seemed a fair consideration. Although there were some very real practical obstacles to overcome such as Cout size to accomodate the anticupated media and attendees.

No sooner was the State investigating these issues than the objections from Ullmann and his team went from grumbling to a loud roar. Hence,  the" makes me sick " comment used to punctuate a by now familiar refrain. "If these victims were black or minority...the defendents would already have gotten life in prsion in a deal, its only because the father is a doctor and  blah blah blah blah blah"

Needless to say, the idea of simultaneous trials was dropped prosecution pulled the plug rescinded the request,most  likely concerned that it could later be used as fodder for a motion formistrial especially with Ullmann shouting from the rooftops "special treatment!!!!

Hence, the " it makes me sick comment" from Ullmann who used it to punctuate an ugly, and by now familiar, refrain;" if these victims were black or minority my client would already be serving life,via a deal etc....etc

This is absolute crap: Case in point, the tragic murders of Karen and B.J Clarke, both African Americans, for whom state vigorously pursued death sentences for; the shooter, the man who ordered the killing, as well as the person driving the get away car! The murders also resulted in new state legislation for better protection for state witnesses, it is named The " BJ and Karen Clarke law"'

This kind of hate- mongering and attempts to make racial issues where none exist, is truly grotesque.
 I've  wondered if  Thomas Ullmann some kind of issues of his own with what he considers "class," money, or  "affluence"Not that the Petits were,or are  exactly the picture of affluence, power or privilege" as he has tried so tirelessly to project; They lived  a modest lifestyle, in a town that is decidedly middle class  lived simply church and civic minded they put on no airs.
But perhaps this persistant notion of the haves and the have nots is the only way that Ullmann can transform killers, rapists and other predators into pitiful underdogs.

.Then again, maybe it's all hubris and theatrics. .

All I know is that this man's hatefulness's of a victim of his clients crimes, a man who was beaten on the head to within an inch of his life in the middle of the night as he slept, while his client stood guard, led him bloodied and half consicous to a pole in his basement, tied him up, taking time to grab his bloody wallet, this is the ultimate in irony.

William Petit's daughters as we know, were doused in gasoline by Mr. Ullmanns client, along with the body of their mother, whom Steven Hayes admits to strangling, and raping while the girls, tied to their beds were forced to listen to the struggle that ended in silence. Ulmmanns client helped set the girls on fire, running out of the burning house, laughing, with Hayley Petit's school hat on top of his head.

And now...?
Within a recent post -verdict motion, Attorney Ullmann and Co..complained among other things, that the victim's families were given two whole rows to sit in at the trial.. They also strongly resented and formally objected to, the victims families being given a room in the courthouse to gather,where they might be able to digest painful testimony and evidence which seemed incessent at times. pray ad cry  unmolested..A small space away from the  eyes of the media,who had gathered due to no fault of their own.

Clearly a private people, it was  obvious to anyone watching, that this family would have preferred not to have to deal with any of the fan-fare that accompanied this trial. But unlike Mr Ullmann, they managed to remain humble and gracious throughout the ordeal, (and it was a horrible ordeal) despite the substantial pain and daily indignities that the process visited upon them.

Nov 20, 2010

"Ode to a Psychopath" by Criminal Profiler Pat Brown

I stumbled across this article by Pat Brown on the web today, it captures quite well the personality features of a psychopath, someone with a personality disorder that often leads to criminal behavior.
Some of the most notorious mass murderers in this country were in fact diagnosed as sociopaths; Ted Bundy, Charles Manson, Richard Ramirez, John Gacy, to name a few.

It is the sociopaths complete lack of conscience that leads him/her to become natural killers of sorts. If one is unencumbered by the ordinary human sense of "right vs wrong", then all bets are off, no rules apply -  To the Sociopath, they are"special",  and they often believe that their victims deserved what they did to them, for either being "stupid" enough to become  a victim, or "weak", or as in the case of high risk victims, homeless or prostitutes etc, sociopaths will often claim that they "were doing the world a favor" "cleaning up the garbage"  These exact words and or sentiment  have actually been used by many a serial rapist killer, including Michael Ross a murderer in Connecticut who murdered mostly prostitutes although in the end he started killing little girls and anyone he could get his hands on.

By using the example of several books written by  "Hurricane Carter", a famous boxer in the 60's imprisoned for murder in Chicago, profiler Pat Brown shows us how Carter, like many sociopaths, can give themselves away via their own words, attitudes and character traits, traits that can readily show themselves even within the writings of these individuals.As Sociopaths are almost always highly  intelligent and articulate, writing is often a natural extension of this and in prison many do so prolifically, oftentimes an exercise in narcissism; Seeing their words printed out, being read, pored over by others, this gives them an ego rush.

Where all of this becomes important is when it relates to intervention, hopefully before the sociopath escalates their crimes to murder. But at the very leas, identifying the markers for this particular dangerous brand of criminal, will only assist the courts, probation/ parole officers, and all social service employees, to identify and  intervene, using whatever means are at their disposal to ensure that this criminal does not get an easy path out of the system -  to harm others, to predate, to escalate their crimes.

Nov 18, 2010

Attorneys Cite 'Errors' In Requesting New Trial Or Life In Prison For Steven Hayes

Like we didn't see this nonsense coming. Still ironic though - just a little over a week ago, the lead counsel for the Hayes defense team spoke to members of the MEDIA- he claimed rather sardonically, that his client was "thrilled" that he was found guilty in his sexual assault/murder trial.

What some folks forget is that at one point in the pre-trial "process" Steven Hayes actually tried to change his plea to guilty, a decision that would have made the entire ensuing trial -and the so called "media frenzy" that accompanied it, unneccesary. That media frenzy is now being cited by ullmann and culligen as a main ingredient in their latest recipe for a request for delay in sentencing, and indeed petition against the sentence itself.  Months back when both Thomas Ullmann and our state's judicial system" would not allow Mr Hayes to stand up and take accountability for the murders, rape, arson that he wanted to admit to committing at that point.

Even if our justice system would have allowed a guilty plea from Hayes at that particular juncture, his bull-dog lawyers were ready in typical pugnacious form, threatening to do whatever necessary, whatever - even disclosing attorney/client privileged information, in order to "save their client from quote performing "state assisted suicide", A phrase by the way, that has been made so many times by Mr Ullmann, that it's become a meaningless refrain. This particular public defender has no discernment, he fights tooth and nail for any and every child murderer, rapist, every sadistic predator whose "case" finds it's way to his desk, and even some that dont; These are the cases that ulmann simply  feels "compelled to take on. If I'm not wrong,  I believe the Steven Hayes" case" was just such a case"  Incidently, lest we forget, each "case" as they are so easily refferred to, has a victim or victims at its core; their; blood, pain, fear, torment and - death. embodies that "case"

Nov 16, 2010

Conn.Judicial branch offers Hayes jurors Post-trauma assistance

I am so relieved to see that Connecticut's Judicial system has extended trauma counseling to the jurors in the Hayes case. The evidence and testimony in these crimes was extremely sad and traumatic and this kind of trauma is life changing. Many people do not realize that people can suffer Post Traumatic Stress syndrome through hearing about, or seeing, images of violence, such as jury members who preside over protracted violent crime cases.

To a degree, many members of the community of Cheshire and the surrounding environs, experienced considerable Post Trauma through learning about the crimes especially during the time period just after the murders of Jennifer, Hayley and Michaela Petit.
In hearing about the details of the crimes, and being in close proximity to where they happened, this alone can lead to a Post traumatic Stress disorder. That risk is proportionately greater for those who knew the victims personally; family members, neighbors, friends and schoolmates.

I daresay that the Petit family crimes have had farther reaching effects than merely the geographic of the Cheshire/Plainville Region. As a Connecticut resident who has blogged extensively about these crimes, I've received emails from people all over the country, and even a few beyond, in Canada, Ireland and England. The majority of letters came at a time when details about the crimes were being revealed in the media. Details like the fact that the Cheshire Police dept were at the scene, setting up perimeters, when the murders actually occurred, bringing a wave of confounded frustration and in some cases, considerable anger. Then There was the fact that Mrs Petit had been taken out of the house at one point by one of the killers, and indeed, she could have easily chanced it and run, but didn't, naively believing the men's claims that they would leave her home and her family alone, once they received the money.

It seemed that with each new detail learned, our level of grief grew as a clearer more accurate picture emerged of the crimes, and with it the various missed opportunities to save this family. There was a lot of " if only's" going on in the minds and hearts of many of us who had became privy to these terrible crimes. By and large, men seemed to respond with more anger and frustration as opposed to women, who tended to have a pervasive sense of sadness grief and frustration as well, at the various alternate endings that could have happened. the if onlys...

This working and reworking of the details of these crimes, imagining different, happier endings, is a natural stage in the grief process, and is akin to something called"bargaining" Although the process itself is usually experienced by close family members or those directly involved with the outcome of the crimes, ie members of the Police on the scene, the bank employees etc, this particular set of crimes transcended these normal parameters. Because of both the randomness of the crimes, thus the victims and the vulnerability that this in turn caused all of us who lived lives that anywhere resembled he Petit's, lives that centered around family, community and yes, personal and civic responsibility- If something this terrible could happen to a family who was the personification of innocence responsibility charitableness--what then of us?

Nov 14, 2010

Smart: Happy end to a sad saga

The amazing Elizabeth Smart story: An unlikely and miraculous happy ending to a tragic longstanding kidnapping/ pedophile abuse case. This article explains how that happy ending very nearly didn't happen.

This young woman is pillar od courage and grace who refuses to be swallowed up by the tragic misfortunes that befell her.

The Petit murders: we must hate evil - On Faith at

A very good commentary piece about the Petit murders written by a Rabbi Boteach in today's Washington Post. Equally interesting was the breadth of opinions found within the comments section, including the one below written by "sensible 2001"

I daresay it closely mirrors my own rather strong sentiments on this subject - And believe me, I have learned from experience, the hard way, that forgiving evil is not advisable, and will be used to propagate more evil, by those who would commit evil against us.

That whole forgive and reach out to understand those who would harm us idea, borne of a strong belief in Christianity, very nearly got me killed, for when dealing with the Sociopath, this kind of thinking and behaving is seen as a major weakness, and something to be taken full advantage of.

Posted by: sensible2001 November"

"I could not agree more with Rabbi Boteach. Evil men (and women) laugh at those who would 'forgive' them for the evil they perpetrate. Show these animals mercy and forgiveness and they will take full advantage. If the good and the just do not defend themselves, our country will descend into chaos (as have many countries throughout the world). In our efforts to be civilized we have become too soft on those who commit heinous acts of violence against us.

Nov 13, 2010

A View from Here: In heart-wrenching Smart trial, Tribune gives public the words the jury hears | The Salt Lake Tribune

Excerpted from the Tribune, a good piece on the Elizabeth Smart case.

We knew this already. Yet the depth of her strength continues to amaze us.

Last week Elizabeth Smart took the stand to testify, finally, against Brian David Mitchell. It became one of those rare stories, its importance to the community transcending all others.

As Smart recounted her horrific experience, The Tribune brought readers extensive coverage both online and in print. News editors Scott Sherman and Elizabeth Neff are leading our team of journalists covering the trial, which enters its second week on Monday.

Each medium presents a different challenge for the team.

In print, we work to provide readers a succinct report of what took place the day before, as well as a layer of analysis of what happened, and how it will affect the trial overall.

For example, when the 10th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals halted the trial just minutes after it opened to consider whether the jury was properly seated, The Tribune — relying on our reporters’ experience and the expertise of our sources — reported the next day that the delay was likely short-lived. The trial resumed on Monday.

Online, our goals are to provide nearly instantaneous reporting as well as a level of depth that could never fit within the confines of a newspaper. Online we are publishing word-for-word transcripts of the testimony.

“Knowing that there would be such intense interest that people would hang on every word, we came up with the idea of giving our readers every word,” Sherman said. “We want to give the public access to the court.”

Veteran courts reporter Steve Hunt is taking the lead on our coverage in print. Reporters Sheena McFarland, Aaron Falk, Pam Manson and Cimaron Neugebauer have been teaming to provide our coverage online. Because journalists are not allowed to transmit from the courthouse, team members have been alternately typing segments of testimony, then exiting the courthouse before sending it back to our newsroom from the street. Sherman and Neff review it before it is published.

Such is the community’s interest in this case, our first-day coverage on received more than 1.2 million page views — a record that surpassed our coverage of the Trolley Square tragedy in 2007.

Sherman explains.

“This is one of those cases where everybody wants to be on the jury. And it’s one thing to read a reporter’s account of what happened, and make a judgment, it’s another for them to read the transcript and to find out what the jury heard to help them decide how they would respond if they were in their shoes.

“The jury is the public and we’re giving the public what the jury hears. I think this is one of those rare cases where the public wants that level of detail.”

So, if you’ve read our coverage online, does it make sense to still read the traditional report that follows? Absolutely, says Neff, who believes our print coverage has distinguished itself.

“[Hunt’s coverage] provides a good analysis of how the Smarts’ testimony fits into the prosecutors’ larger trial strategy,” she said.

As the trial continues, that is particularly important. Our story today, for example, examines how the burden of proof for the insanity defense, as it is being used in this trial, lies with the defense, not with the prosecution. In a sense, therefore, the usual roles of prosecution and defense are reversed, with much of the prosecution’s most compelling argument expected to come when it rebuts the defense.

As the editors who oversee our coverage of many heart-wrenching trials and other stories involving the justice system, Neff and Sherman often are on the front lines of fulfilling our obligation as your connection to these proceedings.

“This isn’t easy for us to do. To listen to it, to document it, to read it. It’s not an easy job,” Sherman said.

“We feel strongly we have to show people what’s going on. … [This case] feels like it’s so important we have to be as big a watchdog as possible. ... Whatever the outcome of this case, [the public will be able to] say with certainty whether they agree or disagree based on what the jury heard.”

In coming days, experts will testify. The jury will weigh legal arguments. What will not change is the character that was revealed by Elizabeth Smart’s testimony.

“What amazes me is how strong Elizabeth Smart was as a 14-year-old girl,” Neff said.

“She saved her own life. She did, she really did.”

Jury selected in DiMeo murder trial

Finally, a Jury has been selected for the trial of the man accused of murdering Tim and Kim Donnelly, in their Fairfield Jewelry store, in the summer of 2005. Chris DiMeo is accused of killing Tim and Kim Donnelly during that robbery - his ex-girlfriend already has pleaded guilty in a plea bargain.

The Jury selection for DiMeo began in early September, but due to Connecticut's time-consuming voire dire process, (another aspect of our State's judicial system in desperate need of reform) it has taken the usually obscene amount of time to complete a simple Jury selection process.

These murders happened in 2005 -  DiMeo's trial is scheduled to begin in January 2011. The two defendants were on the run for a few weeks before being apprehended in a New Jersey motel. If we do the math, this will presumably be 6 plus years from the actual murders to the onset of the criminal trial for DiMeo.
And we''ll have to wait and see if his lawyers don't manage to come up with something designed to delay the trial, as public defenders with difficult cases are so often want to do.It's become standard fare here in Connecticut.

As a Fairfield resident, I remember well when these murders happened. The town was shocked, devastated and so, so angry. The murders were senseless;The couple had cooperated with the robbers, giving them jewelery and money, not resisting. And yet, Tim Dimeo, a reported heroin addict,, murdered both Mr. and Mrs Donnelly in cold blood, leaving them on the floor of their store, dying from their gunshot wounds. All I could think about was Mrs donne

A friend bought me a beautiful Gold necklace with a Celtic medallion from the Donnelly store just a month or so before the murders.  Mr. Donnelly graciously helped my friend with this relatively modest purchase, treating him as if he were buying the most expensive piece of Jewelry in the store. That spoke volumes of the man.

The charm, it turns out, means "eternal life"

Nov 12, 2010

Paedophile-naming website gets 100,000 hits in first day |

Interesting story from The UK. about a young man that decided to gather information regarding pedophiles for public safety. We should follow suit here in the U.S , we do have the sex offender database but its not specific to child predators.

Nov 8, 2010

Death.Penalty Verdict for Steven Hayes

Today, a parcel of Justice was meted out for Jennifer, Hayley, Michaela -and William Petit. The members of the Jury presiding over the trial for Steven J. Hayes should be well commended. With a painstaking thoroughness, they poured over evidence and testimony and labored for days, all in an effort to make a fair and Just decision -a decision directed by law and common sense. Their wisdom and their courage have inadvertently helped begin the process of healing - for our communities, our state, and for the many people everywhere so deeply affected by these crimes.

May the Petit, Hawke, Chapman and Renn families sleep a bit more peacefully tonight; There could not be a stronger, more tenacious and devoted family advocating for loved ones lost to violence. William Petit Jr. has carried out the sacred, though often arduous duty of witness, survivor and advocate for justice. He has done so consistently with grace, dignity and a determined strength that has gained our deepest respect and admiration.

Rest in peace Hayley, Michaela and Jennifer, our solace is knowing that you are now forever in God's loving embrace; Be assured that we will continue to fight for Justice, in your memory, in your names.

Nov 6, 2010

Jury Begins Day Two of Deliberations in Steven Hayes trial

This is absolutely maddening to me.
I cannot believe that even one member of this jury is taking seriously these utterly fake and manipulative "mitigating factors." "Mitigating Factors", that Hayes and his lawyers have spent years coming up with, as they searched for any plausible scenario that could conceivably pass for encompassing just such a "mitigating factor". Hayes's attorneys are well familiar that a mitigating factor is the only hope of escaping a death penalty verdict. This case is one of the worst that Ullmann has ever had to deal with insofar as a veritable deluge of evidence against his client, not the least withstanding, being caught red handed fleeing the Petit's burning house, with the two girls tied alive to their beds upstairs, and Steven Hayes reeking of gasoline, riding shotgun in the Petits Family car away from the scene.

Steven Hayes has proven himself time and again to be chronically deceitful, he has consistently refused to take responsibility for what he has done. Instead, he's used the 3 plus years in prison since the murders, to come up with anything- anything at all that might sound like a plausible "mitigating factor" to help keep him from a well deserved death sentence.

The trouble was that the man was mired in self damning evidence up to his eyeballs, and his lawyers knew it. Gas station video from a trip he'd made at 6 that morning. Cell phone records showing him traveling to a more distant town to get the gasoline to burn down the Petit home, as well the Petit family, who not only could possibly identify them, but whose bodies would contain DNA evidence, as slight as a hair or flake of skin.

Police witnesses saw Hayes running out of the burning Petit home laughing, laughing - with Hayley Petit's school hat perched atop his head! Is this a man who was in a shocked state, a daze a panic or an uncrontolable rage? ! Rather it sounds like a sadistic, gloating sociopath, one who had no idea that police had quietly surrounded the property and were indeed waiting with a roadblock up the street. Hayes and his accomplice Joshua Komisarjevsky thought that they'd pulled it off; they were getting away with the 15000, as the evidence of their sexual assaults were were burning to death upstairs, and another victim of rape, already dead by Hayes's hands, was burning the fastest, her body so doused in gasoline that nothing would be left of her, including all evidence of their cruel and sadistic crimes.

Enter the highly paid Forensic Psychotherapist hired by the defense; The plan was to meet with Hayes over hours and hours of "Therapy", whereby Mr Hayes, no doubt prepped by his attorneys to "confess" to yet a whole new version of events concerning the night and morning of the rapes and murders. Carefully, with as much twisting, manipulating and deciet,they tried to plant seeds that would later be used in this trial ( specifically the penalty phase, as it was a no brainer that Hayes would be found guilty of at least most of the capital crimes.)

The only chance to avoid a death sentence was just one" mitigating factor" that they could muster up, and hope that the jury would be gullible enough to believe.

At one point Hayes and komsarjevsky had struggled with Hayley Petit when she'd broken out of her binds and tried to use a cell phone to call for help. That struggle alone left DNA in its wake. As well he'd likely molested Hayley and probably Jennifer Petit before the actual rape that he'd committed the moment Mrs Petit returned to the house with Hayes, having procured the 15000 from the bank just as the men asked for, believing that they would now go away, and leave her and her family safe and alive.

Steven Hayes, who had to play nice up until that point in order to gain Mrs Petits compliance, likely turned on this poor woman the moment he was back at the house, "chomping at the bit" to sexually assault her. Both men tied her up, this time with a noose around her neck - Why?

My guess is that Jennigfer Petit was screaming as she realized what was going to happen and hayes strangled her partly in order to silence her at that moment. He'd already admitted that he "didnt know if he'd have the guts to kill her" remember. He either raped her while he strangled her or just after, we'll never really know, because Jennifer Petits body was so burnt that forensics were extremely difficult. Hayes stories about the crimes keep changing, and he has given so many contradictory versions of what happened that one must discard anything that doesnt make sense and rely on the evidence, his first testimony when caught off guard prior to being prepped by his lawyers, and most importantly, common sense as it relates to the whole picture of evidence.

Common sense says that there is no way hayes was told that the girls were dead, and no way that he did not already know that they were going to burn down the house. He had procured the gasoline himself for Goodness sakes -hours and hours earlier! Spare us this mendacious, colossal wate of time and resource. Why on earth would the two rapist/thieves plan to burn down the home but first 'bring the family into their car" whilst doing so !? This is one of the stories that Hayes told the Defense- hired Psychiatrist, in one of his many "therapy" sessions in prison.

This is so absurd and so insulting to our collective intelligence, that I wouldn't even give it mention, it if not for the fact that several members of this jury would appear to possibly be bamboozled into believing some of this nonsense that a sociopath and his lawyers has tried to feed them, using this psychiatrist as the "credible" messenger.
This is also a clever device that the defense came up with in order to get Haye's new and improved version of what happened on the morning of the murders into testimony without actually calling Hayes to testify. If Steven Hayes actually testified, he'd be of course subject to cross examination by the prosecution, who would make mince-meat out of his "testimony". That's the thing about lies, they never stand up under scrutinization, and the person lying can never keep perfect track of his lies. Therefore the liar will always trip up when questioned and re-questioned, especially in front of a jury. Hence, the shrink.

It is frustratingly clear to those of us familiar with this case that these mitigating factors are no more than desperate attempts at wrangling the awful facts of this case into something-anything that might resemble Steven Hayes having any reason in the world to murder three innocent human beings, other than to destroy DNA evidence of crimes that clearly began as crimes of sexual violence and control. The crimes were discussed as you'll recall on cellphone texts sent between the two men hours before they met for the" home invasion."

Hayes: "are we on... I'm chomping at the bit here to get started!"

Joshua Komisarjevsky: Hold your horses man, I'm putting the kid to bed"

Hayes : "Dude, the horses are dying to get loose- lol"

These men went to the Petit home with Rape on their minds first and foremost, money was a secondary gain, albeit one that they hoped would materialize also from the crimes.
They brought rope, masks, zip ties. Why? They robbed three houses in the two days prior to the Petit murders and they didn't need those items for those crimes..

This was to be a night of sexual assaults for both men and it was clearly illustrated within the test messages between the men, as well as earlier statements to police. If anything, Hayes appears to be the one who is most anxious to get at the women in the Petit household.

Clearly his pal told him about Mrs Petit who he had seen with Michaela earlier that day and he had noted she was tall blond attractive and young looking -which he'd obviously confided to his friend and robbery partner Steven Hayes. Hayes jumped on the opportunity to sexually assault a strange women he hadn't yet seen but his buddy told him he'd like. Plus it look like they might be able to get some money and goods from the house although by Cheshire standards there were many more affluent homes to choose from.

This house was chosen because of the the attractive Mrs Petit and sadly 11 year old Michaela who Komisarjebvsky being a pedophile has his sick sights on.

Each and every scenario that Steven Hayes fed this therapist can be completely and thoroughly dis proven and indeed proven to be pre-meditated lies lies told in order to try to escape accountability for his despicable actions and even more importantly lies that could conceivably appear as if there were "mitigating factors" such as mindless rage" due to his accomplice lying to him about the girls being dead, "blah, blah, blah.

None of this - None corroborates with Hayes earlier testimony to police, which as I said, was clearly evasive and missing details and elaboration, but what there was of it, mostly matched the forensic evidence, not to mention the common sense sequence of events for that fateful morning, when he and his accomplice killed three members of the Petit family.

"Don't worry it will all be over soon" One of the men shouted down to Dr Petit who was bloodied and tied to a pole in his cellar. These are not the words of a panicked person, nor would anyone present be in a panic. This is an attitude of bravado in fact they were taunting Dr Petit and had they not he might not have had the Adrenalin surge to break his binds and roll to a neighbors garage crying to call 911.

God help this Jury with clarity of mind and heart. Let each and everyone of them understand that they have been conned, or rather that the defense and Mr Hayes are attempting to con them. None of these so called "mitigating factors" are genuine. Mr Hayes is a calculating rapist and murderer. He and his attorneys are hoping to use the natural human instinct to want to believe that no body could be so evil as this, and this, this is the very same mistake that Jennifer Hawke Petit, with all of her innocence and goodwill-made, when returning to the car with Steven Hayes in the back seat, handing over her last bargaining tool-15000.

Evil people do exist. One of them is sitting in a courtroom right now, waiting, hoping that he has conned 12 people well enough to spend whats left of his life on anti-anxiety meds, reading, writing, eating, meeting with therapists, and spending time with the occassional family member who visits. These are all things that Jennifer, Hayley and Michaela Petit will never do again

Nov 5, 2010

Steven Hayes Jury Ends Day 1 Of Deliberations

It has been decades since a Superior Court jury deliberated on a weekend, but with just one alternate left and the high-stakes nature of the widely publicized Cheshire home-invasion trial, jurors deciding triple murderer Steven Hayes' fate will be back at work early today.

The five men and seven women ended their first day of deliberations Friday without reaching a verdict.

Two notes they sent with hypothetical vote counts on charges suggest they are divided on mitigating factors in the case, which could result in Hayes' being spared the death penalty for the killings of Jennifer Hawke-Petit and her daughters, Hayley and Michaela.

Hayes was convicted Oct. 5 of breaking into the Petits' home in the middle of the night on July 23, 2007, beating Dr. William Petit Jr. and tying up the family while he and an accomplice robbed the family's Cheshire home. At one point, Hayes forced Hawke-Petit to drive to a bank to withdraw money.

When they returned to the home, Hayes raped and strangled Hawke-Petit. The house was doused with gasoline and set on fire. Hayley, 17, died of smoke inhalation. Michaela, 11, suffered the same cause of death and was also sexually assaulted by Hayes' accomplice, Joshua Komisarjevsky, according to trial testimony.

Petit was the only family member to survive the attack and arson.

Komisarjevsky, 30, of Cheshire, will go to trial next year. He also faces execution if convicted.

Six of the 16 counts Hayes was found guilty of are capital felonies, making Hayes, 47, of Winsted, eligible for death by lethal injection.

Judge Jon C. Blue began Friday's juror discussions at 10:19 a.m., telling the panel, "With much thanks and appreciation, we will let you go to work." The jury then went to the deliberation room while members of the victims' family and news reporters waited in the courtroom. The mood in the gallery was mostly light, and the talkative crowd was quieted often by judicial marshals and the judge, who stepped out from his chambers from time to time.

But that lightness wore thin as the day progressed and two notes, the first coming at 2:40 p.m., hinted that jurors could be struggling with their deliberations. Some jurors appeared a little worn and some sighed and took deep breaths as they stepped into the courtroom to get instructions from the judge on how to proceed.

The first note, which Blue described as "complicated," asked the judge and lawyers: "What does it mean to unanimously find the existence of a statutory mitigating factor?"

By law, if jurors are unanimous that statutory mitigating factors exist on one of the capital felony charges, then a sentence of life without the possibility of release is imposed on that particular charge.

The three statutory mitigating factors applicable to this case are: impaired mental capacity, impaired ability to conform one's conduct to law, and the inability to have reasonably foreseen that one's conduct would pose grave risk of causing death. The third factor applies for only some of the counts against Hayes.

The judge said the note asked what if, hypothetically, some jurors find at least one mitigating factor and others find none.

"In our example, two jurors have no for all three statutory mitigating factors, and they refuse to sign yes. What is the next step?" the note asked. Blue told them they are not unanimous and sent them back to deliberate.

A second note came out at 4:13 p.m. asking for more clarification on the statutory mitigating factors involving Hayes' mental capacity and Hayes' ability to conform his conduct to the requirements of the law.

They were still divided on the factors, the note said, and the jurors wanted to know how to fill out the verdict form so they could move on to the next phase of their deliberations. Blue told them the verdict form does not get filled out until each person finds that a statutory mitigating factor exists, or all 12 agree that there is none.

To return a finding that a statutory mitigating factor exists, jurors do not have to be unanimous about which one, but they have to be unanimous that a least one factor exists.

Criminal defense attorney Hugh Keefe of New Haven, who is not involved in this case, said that if jurors cannot unanimously agree on statutory mitigating factors, then a hung jury would result.
The case would revert to the beginning of the penalty phase and a new jury would have to be chosen. Keefe said any new penalty phase would be longer than this one because evidence from the guilt phase would have to be re-introduced to the new jury.

If a hung jury occurred, the defense could file a motion asking the judge to accept a sentence of life in prison without the possibility of release.

Blue asked the jurors if they wanted to continue deliberating and the foreman said they wanted to return this morning. They will resume their work at 9 a.m.

Hayes' defense attorneys argued that a troubled family history, an addiction to drugs and alcohol, a "significantly impaired" mental state and Hayes' status as "a follower and not the mastermind" contributed to his role in the home-invasion killings.

They say Hayes "was unable to prevent escalating violence due to his damaged weak follower personality and significant character flaws." They claim that Hayes was in a state of intense rage at the time of the crime and is now remorseful and has an "unrelenting burden of guilt." The defense argues that Hayes has responded to the crimes with "shame, humiliation, depression, suicidality and empathy" for the victims.

Prosecutors, however, portrayed Hayes, a longtime criminal who was on parole at the time of the Petit killings, as a conniving, sadistic and violent thief whose failed attempts at living a clean and law-abiding life led to a life in and out of prison.

A prison official testified that Hayes was a self-aware, manipulative inmate shrewd to how his self-professed suicide attempts — and the prison system's reporting of them — could affect whether he received life in prison without the possibility of release or death.

Courant Staff Writer Josh Kovner contributed to this story.