After less than one day of deliberations, a jury found Steven J. Hayes, the former parolee accused of a brutal home invasion in Connecticut that left three dead, guilty on 16 of the 17 counts. Six of those crimes make Hayes eligible for the death penalty. The same jury will begin the penalty phase, which could last a month. Hayes and another parolee, Joshua Komisarjevsky, broke into the Petit family home in Chesire, beat and restrained the father, Dr. William A. Petit Jr., then raped and strangled the mother, Jennifer Hawke-Petit. The couple’s two daughters, 11-year-old Michaela and 17-year-old Hayley, died of smoke inhalation from a fire set by Hayes and Komisarjevsky. Testimony showed that Hayes sent a text with the word “LOL” anticipating the plan. Dr. Petit, who survived, has called for the execution of both men. The case has fueled debate about whether to repeal the capital punishment law in Connecticut.
Triple Murder Case Yields Convictions on 16 of 17 Counts [NYT]