The Prudence Crandall Center ( see link above) is one of the Main organizations supported by The Petit http://www.petitfamilyfoundation.org/ familyfoundation
who have contributed significantly towards Victims of Domestic violence via this center and other avenues, since PFF's early inception in 2007 following the murders of Jennifer, Hayley and Michaela Petit during a home invasion.
The case, in which the two defendants were caught fleeing the murder scene in the Petit family car, is just now in the mid stages of voire dire (Jury selection) for the first defendant, Steven Hayes. The other 'defendent" who initially targeted and followed Mrs Petit and her daughter from a neighborhood Stop and shop to their home in Cheshire, is twenty nine year old Joshua Komisarjevsk,y also from Cheshire. He will not be tried until Hayes's trial is completed, which will be quite some time.
In both cases the state is seeking the death penalty for multiple capital crimes including multiple aggravated sexual assault,assault in the first degree of Dr Petit and threecounts of murder one, including the murder of a child
Both men were on early release parole when these crimes occurred despite having been convicted of well over 25 felonies within their respective life times. Indeed, the two men met each other at a Hartford hallway house which serves as intermediary re-entry housing for prisonerssoon due for release. YTheearly release program was the brainchild of Mike lawlor and Co. Dem east haven and vice chair of Connecticuts judiciary commitee
The Connecticut Parole board made the decisions to release each man after less than half of their sentences were served, these decisions were made with both men in absentia and little to no paperwork re their criminal files which in Komisarjevskys case certainly would have given them much needed insight to decline early Parole, due to among other things, his dangerous habit of breaking into homes admittedly only when the homeowners were home for the thrill, using night vision goggles to stalk his victims before his break ins and often taking mementos of women who were living in those homes in which he was illegally breaking and entering into.
Anyone possessing even a cursory knowledge of criminal psychology knows that these habits are red flags - indicative of a budding (or fully engaged) sexual predator,: As this information was made available to Police and the Connecticut Courts involved with his former criminal cases, there was no excuse why this man was released with such a small portion of his actual sentence served thus sharply deviating from the last Judges final admonishment in sentencing hearing. He concluded aloud that despite komisarjevsky, his parents and his lawyers attempts to portray him as a troubled young man from a good religous middle class family gone astray, ( his family had even toted komisarjevskys 17 yr old girlfriend and newborn baby to court for sentencing day, no doubt hoping for whatever leniency being a new fathger might buy him, Komisarjevsky was a dangerous predator
In a recent book based on clandestine-and illegal ( a gag order was placedon the case very early on) jailhouse interviews with Komisarjevky at 27 years of age- he had admitted to committing hundreds of such break--ins "as a kind of extreme sport"and was only caught or prosecuted for only 30 or so by police in several Connecticut jurisdictions- including Cheshire and the surrounding environs. A fair number of those charges were dropped in subsequent plea bargains, the last of which was supposed to have kept komisarjevsky in prison for 9 plus years and special parole for another 5. The presiding judge in that case seemed well aware of the seriousness of komisarjevskys criminal habits and potential for violence, and he said so when declaring his sentencing decision. The Connecticut Parole Board never even saw komisarjevskys criminal history, let alone the court transcripts from his last sentencing hearing in which the judge proclaimed the reasons he considered him so dangerous.
It was later exposed that this lack of paperwork was not an unusual nor singular inclident but had been the norm for years due prosecutors offices refusing to pay for copying costs for parolees criminal files with the parole board basically giving in and continuing to make life and death parole descisions with next to no paperwork on the prisoners in question nor the prisoner even being present for questioning-this the state of Connecticut called "administrative parole" and was The manner of parole for many many years in Connecticut until the Petit murders and several others all committed by new parolees occurring within a one year period, finally exposed these dangerous and irresponsible practices to both the people of the state and even many legislators who were also unaware of the day to day
In response to the public outrage over these crimes and most significantly the fact that they should have been avoided with responsible follow through of the Conn criminal Judicial system, attempts was made by the Connecticut legislature to toughen Parole standards and votes were made to infuse more money into our criminal justice system. It remains to be seen if there has been any viable application of those funds, with the recent economical budgetary problems being cited as one prohibitive cause of this. In the year following this and several other violent crimes committed by career criminals recently released, Some Ct laws were amended and attempts to toughen so called home invasion laws were made among other things.
Bi-partisan disagreement within the mostly democratic legislature, with republican assemblymen and senators largely supporting tougher measures voted down by some but not all democratic leaders,made actual changes in our laws very difficult if not impossible.
And seemingly, to add insult to injury, while many people in the state were still traumatized and grieving over the Petit family rapes and murders, as well another rape murder home invasion involving two women in their 60's which occurred in Connecticut that same year, the Ct Judiciary committee, spear headed by Mike Lawlor andsenator McDonald, voted seemingly out of nowhere to abolish the death penalty. The proposal was reportedly brought up as an idea to " save money"for the statedueto the unwieldy Ct unlimited appeals process in Death penalty cases.
Needlessto say the descision and the furtive manner in which it was handled ie withheld from the local media and thus the citizens, caused an uproar particukarly as a recent quinnipiac poll proved that well over 68 percent of the people of the state were against abolishment.
The house and Senate proceeded to rather swiftly vote on the volatile issue with a very narrow margin result to abolish and with clear-cut divisiveness between republicans and democratic lawmakers, although in fairness some democrats voted against abolishment despite their parties obvious preference. Thus, the mostly democratic legislature narrowly "won" : Fortunately and thankfully, as she had implied, Governor Rell used a rare veto on the bill, citing the will of the people in this state was clearly against aboloishment and was she.
In the meantime those dedicated to helping victims of violent crime, carry on the good fight.
One of our states greatest warriors inthisfight has been Drwilliam Petit lone curvivor of the Petit crimes. The upcoming "Silent No More" Auction supported by the Prudence Crandall Center and the Petit Family foundation is animportant part of that fight. It is a major fund raiser for assisting victims of domestic/partner violence escape from dangerous environments and as importantly, getting new starts for battered women and thier children so that they may begin living a violent- free life with the help that is so greatly needed.
As we read in the papers and seeon the news each week many of these women die every year when they are unable to break out of the cycle of violence and abuse.. The Prudence Crandall Center's mission statement encompasses the concept of 'parallel Justice" for victims of violence in Connecticut and elsewhere through their strong example.
Please help by donating volunteering or getting involved in whatever way that you can
Every person supporting this noble cause is helping to quote" be the Change that you wish to see in the world" A quote of Muhamtma Gandhi that 11 year old Michaela Petit chose to put on her facebook page prior to her untimely death from violent crime