Here is another article regarding the Judges latest ruling that the Gag order will remain in the Petit murder trial for co-defendant Steven Hayes. Hayes is the man accused of raping and strangling to death, Jennifer Hawke-Petit and pouring gasoline on and around her daughters Michaela and Hayley, who were tied to their beds still alive, prior to lighting them ablaze, presumably in an effort to destroy evidence of the sexual assaults that both men had committed. See previous Posts re the gag order and its relevance in the case.
The trial for Steven Hayes is scheduled to begin Monday September 13 at New Haven Superior court: He is the first of two men involved in these crimes to be tried. The other "defendant" Joshua Komisarjevsky is not scheduled to be tried until sometime after the conclusion of Hayes trial.
Sometime after the pre-trial proceedings were about to begin, the prosecutor handling the Petit murder case officially requested that both defendents be tried together for the sake of the surviving victim and the victims family members, or at least tried simultaneously in one courthouse in an effort to spare the families and the surviving victim, the pain of dragging out the entire experience and hearing explicit testimony about the horrors their loved ones endured during the attacks and murders a second time years after they begin to heal from first the crimes themselves and then the trial.
There was also the issue of time; two years had already passed at that particular juncture--two years and nothing of any substance had transpired within the court in regards to these heinous sexual assaults and murders of Jennifer Hayley and Michaela Petit. Familiar with Connecticut's unusually time consuming voir dire process (IE jury selection laws which vary greatly from state to state and in Connecticut are ridiculously time consuming) prosecutor Michael Dearington was aware that trial selection alone for just one jury trial could take 6 months easily. With the trials occurring consecutively this extended the "sentence" for the Petit and Hawke family members by at least an additional two years.
Attorneys for both men were against either prospect, a joint trial because the two defense teams were already adversarial, predictably casting the blame for the worst of the crimes on each others client-The second request for simultaneous trials was attacked venomously by Thomas Ullmann State public defender for Hayes, who at one point said that the fact that this idea was even being proposed or looked into by the courts to see if it was viable (the two simultaneous trials would need adequate court accommodations) quote "made him "sick"
He claimed that he had never seen this done in any other case where two defendants were involved in carrying out one set of crimes and he once again re-injected his opinion that the victims and surviving victim were getting "special consideration" due to the fact that they were white and from an upper middle class background, this a recurring theme of his used with the media and the judge and thereby the potential jury pool-from the start of this capital murder case.
Shortly after Ullmanns tirades to court and the media, the request for simultaneous trials was dropped by prosecutor, likely due to the fact that neither he nor Dr Petit wanted to give either defense an excuse for declaring a mistrial at a later date citing that simultaneous trials had robbed one or both of them of something or other. Not to mention the whole thing was just becoming very very ugly thanks to Mr Ullmanns attacks on the victims and his general lack of professionalism. This is a strategy that Attorney Ullmann has adapted time and time again and indeed, he would seem to be relying on, so certain he seems of its effects.
Clearly the Petit's and the Hawke families are a very private and dignified people and Dr Petit is no exception to this familial trait. I believe that Thomas Ullmann is aware that Bill Petit's likely reaction to his accusations of getting special treatment from the courts and being a media - glommer, ( trying to sway the jury through the lens of the TV cameras -Ullmanns most recent ludicrous accusation ) will likely have the effect he desires; It will muzzle Dr Petit and likely the rest of his family. They will take the high road and pull even further away from the lights of the TV cameras and the press, if only to disprove the awful accusation of being media hounds, the very idea of which they surely find abhorrent and could not be farther from the truth in the first place..
Once again I must rely on a somewhat banal though appropos question; how does Attorney Ullmann sleep at night?