A state police detective testified today in graphic detail how Steven J. Hayes described the escalating violence he allegedly participated in during the Cheshire triple homicide.
State Police Detective Anthony Buglione testified he questioned Hayes for about 70 minutes at the Cheshire Police Department several hours after the crimes at the Petit house.
Buglione said Hayes was alert throughout the interview but was emotionless.
“He was pretty flat.”
Buglione said Hayes told him he met co-defendant Joshua Komisarjevsky 18 months before the crime at a half-way house and the two became friends. Hayes reportedly told Komisarjevsky he was “desperate” for money.
Hayes allegedly said the original plan was to break into a house, tie the people up, get their money and get out quickly.
Buglione said Hayes told him they went to the Petit house late at night and a man was asleep on the sun porch. Hayes allegedly said Komisarjevsky entered the house through an unlocked basement door, picked up a baseball bat and beat Dr. William Petit Jr.
Hayes then allegedly entered the house and they tied Petit up, telling him they were only there for the money.
Hayes allegedly said he and Komisarjevsky went upstairs looking for money and found Jennifer Hawke-Petit sleeping in bed with her daughter, Michaela Petit, 11, Buglione testified.
Hayes allegedly told Buglione that he and Komisarjevsky tied Hawke-Petit to her bed, tied Michaels to her own bed and then tied Hayley Petit, 17, to her bed.
Buglione testified that Hayes said when the pair found a bank book showing up to $30,000 in it, they decided to drive to the bank later that morning. Buglione said Hayes reported that he drove to a gas station to fill a canister with gas before going to the bank with Hawke-Petit.
Hayes told Buglione the plan was to put the Petits in their car and burn the house down, the detective testified.
But then Hayes allegedly told Buglione that Komisarjevsky said he had sex with Michaela while Hayes and Hawke-Petit were at the bank.
Hayes said Komisarjevsky told him to have sex with Hawke-Petit in order to “square things up,” Buglione testified.
Hayes allegedly said he did have sex with Hawke-Petit briefly.
He did not tell Buglione anything about how Hawke-Petit was strangled or who lit the fire, the detective testified.
Hayes simply said things “got out of control,” Buglione said
During pre-trial proceedings months ago, New Haven Chief Public Defender Thomas Ullmann objected to Buglione’s testimony about Hayes’ statement being allowed, because the interview was not tape recorded.
Judge Jon. C. Blue, however, allowed the testimony.
Buglione also said Hayes told him he gave Komisarjevsky $40 to buy a gun at a local Wal-Mart to scare people whose home they planned to break into.
SPECIAL SECTION: The Petit Slayings
Buglione’s testimony came late this morning as the Hayes’ trial resumed following several days of delay.
This morning state police Sgt. Karen Gabianelli resumed her testimony about evidence found at the scene of the home invasion.
Gabianelli presented a cell phone, boots and dog tags that belonged to co-defendant Joshua Komisarjevsky and clothing that both he and Hayes were wearing at the time of their arrests not far from the home of the Petit family on July 23, 2007. A BB gun, money and cell phone that were seized from Hayes also were shown to the jury.
Hayes, 47, of Winsted, went on trial last week. He faces 17 counts, including murder, in the deaths of Hawke-Petit, Michaela, and Hayley. Komisarjevsky, 30, of Cheshire, faces trial next year.
Gabianelli presented as evidence Hayley Petit’s hat from Miss Porter’s School, from which she graduated in 2007.
Hayes was wearing the hat when he was arrested, authorities said.
Gabianelli testified that a purple knapsack that had Hayley’s initials on it was found in a red pick up truck Hayes had borrowed. The truck was found in the parking lot of the Stop & Shop in Cheshire, where the defendants allegedly first saw Jennifer Hawke-Petit and her daughters.
The trial resumed Wednesday after two health-related delays.
Judge Blue was released from Yale-New Haven Hospital Monday afternoon, clearing the way for the resumption of the Hayes’ trial.
Blue today told jurors about his medical procedures. He said that he went to the hospital Sunday for tests but “unfortunately” the tests could not be done until Monday.
Blue said “I took them and I passed the tests with flying colors and was discharged” from the hospital Monday.
Hayes, according to his attorneys suffered a seizure or seizure-like symptoms last Wednesday night and was not fit enough to allow testimony to go forward last Thursday afternoon.
Dr. Petit , the sole survivor of the July 2007 home invasion and attack that claimed the lives of his wife and two daughters, was in the courtroom today. He has been there every day but Monday when Judge Roland Fasano reported the news about Blue’s condition. The Petit family had been told the news the night before.
The victims’ families released a statement Monday in response to the recent delays. It said, in part, “Despite this delay, we remain encouraged by the progress being made in this case and again, on behalf of the victims, Jennifer, Hayley and Michaela, are confident that in the end justice will prevail.”
If the jurors convict Hayes of the most serious charges, they will then begin a second phase of the trial to determine whether he should face the death penalty.