Sep 13, 2010

Long Awaited Petit Family Murder Trial Begins

"The State of Connecticut vs Steven Hayes" officially began at 10:00 am this morning at Superior Court in New Haven Connecticut.
Hayes is the older of two men that were caught fleeing the Petit Murder scene, driving the Petit family car and ultimately smashing through two police cars, a road block and nearly hitting a police detective before being apprehended by the Cheshire Police department.

The police were tipped off to a "hostage situation" via a 911 call from a branch manager at a local Bank of America where Jennifer Petit had apparantly withdrawn 15,000 while quietly conveying to the teller that the money was to pay two men who were holding her family hostage. She indicated that her family would not be hurt if the Police were not called. Unfortunately this was not the case: shortly after she arrived home, having given Mr Hayes 5000 dollars more than they had even asked for, hayes proceeded to rape Mrs Petit and then brutally strangled her to death.

Her cries roused the half conscious Bill Petit who managed to broke free of his hand binds and hopped up the basement bilco steps legs still bound crying out his neighbors name for help.

By this point The men poured gasoline on Hawke Petits body and led a trail of gas upstairs to both girls bedrooms where they lay helplessly tied to their beds, the gas was poured on and around them while at leasy one of the girls screamed. Police believe that Michaela had been sexually assaulted by Komisrajevsky while Hayes was at the bank with Mrs Petit. The men ran downstairs and lit the gasoline trail and hopping into one of the Petits cars speeding off to thier imagined getaway. Hayes wore Hayley Petits Miss Porters school hat atop his head as he ran from the burning Petit house. Later the girls childhood piggybanks would be found among the mens "take."

Multiple charges, including Murder sexual assault, Arson, kidnapping and aggravated assault were brought against both men. The state prosecutor Michael Dearington soon added capital murder charges as more details of the crimes emerged. He announced his intention to seek the death penalty against both men, this being only the second time he has done so in his entire 20 plus year career as a lead state prosecutor.

The aggravated assault charge stemmed from the brutal beating of lone survivor Dr William Petit Jr, who had been struck at least a dozen times in the head with a baseball bat causing severe blood loss, traumatic Brain injury inner ear damage and shock. In and out of consciousness throughout the duration of the 6 1/2 hour ordeal, Petit was bound feet and hands to a metal pole in his basement where he could have easily died.

He was the first to be attacked in the invasion, most likely in order to eliminate him as a threat so that the men could proceed unhindered in their real motivation for the entire nights crime: the sexual assaults of Jennifer Hawke Petit and her eleven year old daughter, Michaela. Both were spotted earlier in the day at a local supermarket parking lot then followed back to thier home by one of the men who admitted liking "the younger Petit girls looks."

In todays opening statements Hayes attorney Thomas Ullmann more or less implied that the sexual assaults were almost incidental to the robbery, and that the murders were unplanned and the result of a robbery gone too far, although key facts in the case as well as the mens own testimony to police, clearly show otherwise.

Jennifer Petit and her daughter were Blonde, vibrant and attractive As such, they easily stood out in a crowd especially to the appraising eyes of a predator.
And despite Michaela Petits young age, hayes co- defendant Joshua komisarjevsky had a history of attraction to very young girls, making him by definition a pedophile albeit at a very young age.

His daughter Jayda was in fact conceived by his then 15 year old girlfriend - komisarjevsky was 25 at that time. His girlfriend at the time of the Petit rapes and murders was 17 : they had been involved for over a year and komisarjevsky 27 when he was arrested in 2007.

Steven Hayes was 44 at the
time of the Petit assaults and murders. The unlikely pair met at a Hartford halfway house where they were both living out the pre-release portions of independently accrued prison sentences for a litany of felony convictions, the latest gaggle of which represented merely a fraction of either men's total criminal conviction records, which exceeded 50 felony convictions between them.

Note; The preceding link at the Title header is taken from todays NY Times online it contains decent coverage of some of the details of todays proceedings. The following links are also worth a read.
Opening statements for both sides were heard first and these are important as they typically set the tone for the tact or direction that the defense and prosecution intends to pursue within the trial.

Television cameras have been banned in the courtroom as well as any taping devices. A modest amount of seats (20) are reserved for members of the press and are given on a first come - first serve basis. The public was/is allowed to attend the trial, but again limited seating within the courtroom insists upon a first come first serve basis with priority given to legal professionals, family members of the victims and members of the press. Judge Blue decided to move the proceedings to courtoom B when it became apparent that the original courtroom reserved would not accomodate the amount of people who had turned out to attend the first day of the trial.

A gag order remains on the case that applies to the attorneys involved including the prosecution, law enforcement and the defendants themselves. although it should be mentioned that Joshua komsarjevsky blatantly broke the Gag order by corresponding and meeting with a true crime writer in prison and relating details about the crimes - for the purposes of publishing a book about the crimes published pre trial which seemed extremely self serving in a" blame it on the other guy" fashion.

Judge Blue, the judge currently presiding over the trial recently ruled that the Gag order will continue to be enforced, this as it has been an ongoing issue of appeal with both the press specifically the Hartford Courant as well as Hayes' defense attorney Thomas Ullmann who alternately argued for the gag order as it applied to the Courant and other newspapers and against it, as it pertained to his complaint that the surviving victim could talk to the press and he couldn't.
The links below are to State exhibits entered in evidence in today's proceedings. There is also a link to todays complete State exhibit list as well for interested readers.

Link to Photo exhibits by the state

Below find link to complete State evidenciary list for September 13th 2010

Note: Please continue to check back for further coverage of this trial as it occurs in Real-time. Chasing Justice will be covering The State of Connecticut vs Steven Hayes in its entirety including posting of any and all evidenciary files as they become available.

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