I have been following the Petit murder story since the crime was first reported. This gruesome tragedy reminds me of the criminals and victims depicted in Truman Capote’s nonfiction book, In Cold Blood: Two murderers who hail from underprivileged and abusive upbringings. An upstanding American family brutally slain. Capote managed to summon some sympathy from me towards the killers in In Cold Blood. But I can’t say I feel any sympathy for the now convicted killers of the Petit family.
On July 23, 2007, Joshua Komisarjevsky and Steven Hayes broke into the Petit family home in Cheshire, Connecticut. The defendants claim they simply wanted to rob the family…only they did so much more. All four family members — father, mother, an 11 year-old daughter, and a 17 year-old daughter — were tied up. The father, Dr. William Petit, was beaten severely. The mother was raped and killed by Hayes. The daughters were molested and killed by Komisarjevsky. Dr. Petit managed to crawl away to summon help. The rest of the family members were doused with gas and burned. It’s unclear whether they died before or during the fire.
Both Joshua Komisarjevsky and Steven Hayes were found guilty by jury in two separate trials in which they blamed each other for masterminding the murders. Hayes has been sentenced to death; Komisarjevsky will likely also get the death sentence on October 24th, at the penalty phase of his hearing.
Do you believe these men should be punished by death?