This could have been something that truly helped Dr. Petit and his family, as well as the still grieving community, had the request been bonafide and made for the right reasons.
But, once again the a typical sociopath's manipulation is clearly woven into Steven Hayes professed desire to be given his death sentence, sans the ludicrous appeals process that is literally built into every death Penalty sentence - prospectively that is. ( I won't even go there right now )
Steven Hayes makes it clear from the start that his intention to "waive appeals" in order to be given his death sentence, is a decision not based upon remorse or a self imposed justice, but rather his focus is on himself throughout the entire content of his letter to the Courant.
As different as they seem, like Joshua Komisarjevsky, Steven Hayes has anti-social personality disorder, aka he is a sociopath. There are drastic gradient differences in sub-types and their personality traits can vary quite a bit, but the underlying obsession with self and their inability to feel appropriate empathy or remorse- these are these qualities are what make a sociopath a sociopath.
One would imagine that having raped and strangled Jennifer Petit who had complied with all of his demands throughout the kidnapping, robbery and sexual assault as well his part in the arson murder of
the two young daughters this this would be at the nucleus of Mr Hayes wish to die.
Unfortunately it is not.
Hayes makes it clear from the onset of this letter that he is bitter and angry at the prison system for their alleged mistreatment of him while he has been incarcerated.
Hayes didn't make his claims of abuse as an aside but rather the sole reasoning for his wish to take his death sentence. In doing so Steven Hayes entirely negated the sentence portion of the entire issue and in this he negates his responsibility culpability for these crimes.
As a people, and a society we want to see remorse we hope and yearn for it. It is in our fabric.
While it doesn't set things right, it makes us feel better. Thus there is this perpetual desire and hope that even the most horrendous of murderers will come to feel some remorse over taking another life especially when children are involved. This helps us make sense of something that is so aberrant to us to begin with. The aberence itself has already causes a huge amount of collective pain.
Most of us simply cannot wrap our head around nor fathom any human being harming another so savagely and with seemingly little to no regret, as was illustrated when these men reportedly ran out of the burning Petit home laughing.
The laughter haunted us.
I remember when I first read a Cheshire Police-man's account of how he had watched from the bushes as the men ran out of the Petit home laughing and jumped into the Petit family car to make their attempted but thwarted escape
The home invasion itself, the predation, the brutal assault, the kidnappings sexual assaults and murders were already so very painful to consider. Yet we owed it to the victims not to close our eyes and cover our ears - this happened to their lives and the lives of every one who loved or knew them.
Two men just set this family's home on fire, gas poured on a mother who lay strangled to death at their hands. Her two daughters were still alive, terrified, doused in gasoline tied to their beds. It couldn't be a more terrifying scenario.
The laughter between the men showed all of us that these men were not under duress and/or panicked
as they claimed during or after these horrible crimes. Rather the despicable laughter showed a mocking and a self satisfaction akin to giving each other the high five after murdering an innocent family!
Their laughter proved beyond any doubt not only full intention, but indeed a glee and a self satisfaction with their just executed murderous spree.
This was just too much evil too comprehend for any of us, and it haunts me to this very day as I know it haunts thousands of others across the globe.
So when I saw that Steven Hayes, the man who has assaulted and strangled Jennifer Hawke- Petit in July 2007,was volunteering to bypass all of the built in obstacles to his death sentence -and seemingly " get on with it" so to speak, I naturally felt a relief, a reflexive hopefulness that perhaps he'd had time to think about the horror of his actions and realized the depth and breadth of the pain that he had caused - not only to his victims and their family but so many others who were and still remain deeply pained and traumatized by his and his accomplices actions.
But as I scanned excerpts from Hayes letter to the Hartford Courant today I immediately saw that this was
actually narcissism at its finest' THEY are treating ME so badly, they are making me just want to die rather than continue living like this!"
I wasn't surprised by the self absorption of the letter and indeed what turned out to be a giant complaintive lament/ bid for attention. The persecutory view and self victimization are hallmarks of Sociopaths and Narcissists alike. But still, still I found myself, a seasoned armchair forensic psychiatrist, who knew better, vividly disappointed and disgusted all at once. There was just so much at stake.
A true conscientious request to have ones own death sentence carried out due to spiritual or emotional epiphany, a" better late than never" conscience by even one of these two murderers, would have healed and possibly even restored something in all of us so familiar with this crime. It is that inexplicable desire to make human, even the least human among us, despite our wariness, we still long for it. I know I was drawn in and I'm an old hand at this sort of thing.
And on top of it all adding insult to injury, we had to hear the obligatory Public Defenders office apologists/ advocates with their official take on Hayes's letter:
The" plight" of men in solitary confinement, the subsequent natural suicidal ideations due to cruel and unusual prison conditions yadda ya, all thrown in for good measure.
These are men who have raped children, shot and raped elderly women, murdered, maimed and willfully and wantonly destroyed innocent life. And yet our official spokesmen for the most treacherous killers in our state were, as always, ready at the gate to feel Steven Hayes' pain.
Who spoke for the victims pain, for the entire extended Petit family's pain? For the thousands of us who didn't need to know Jennifer, Hayley and Michaela to experience a tremendous sense of pain, regret and trauma for what they endured - because two career felons given early release parole by this state, were intent upon fulfilling their own sick desire for a fleeting sense of power and control over others?
Others that they perceived as having it better than them.
And as is too often the case, no one weighed in from the States victims advocates office or head State's Attorney's office. Key issues such as early release parole and the death penalty repeal in all of it's supposed prospective glory - none of this was touched upon - not a word.
The argument can be made that perhaps the official proponents for victims didn't wish to give Hayes's letter any more credence and attention than it had already received. Or...perhaps they weren't asked. Niether of these reasons passes muster with me. because the bottom line was that the result was that as per usual, the voice for the victims, the human beings who are the embodiment of these violent crimes, was once again glaringly absent ; Another opportunity missed to address the core issue's that Steven Hayes's letter presented to the judicial system the victims and the people of this state.
And.as a final insult, the reader had to wade through what has become the Connecticut Public defender's and liberal legislator's obligatory Michael Ross reference, ie " pulling a Michael Ross" a common refrain with that stops a hair short of making a canonized martyr of the worst serial killer of women and children that our state has ever seen.
Article in the Courant re letter