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Conn. man sentenced to death in home invasion

NEW HAVEN, Conn. — A Connecticut man sentenced to death Thursday in the killings of a woman and her two daughters said his execution will be "a welcome relief," while the only survivor of the gruesome home invasion told a judge he had struggled with suicidal thoughts, nightmares and flashbacks.

Steven Hayes made his first public comments about the case before being formally sentenced by New Haven Superior Court Judge Jon Blue. A jury last month determined Hayes should die.

"My actions have hurt so many people, affected so many lives and caused so much pain. I am tormented and have nightmares about what happened in that house," Hayes told Blue.

Hayes sexually assaulted and strangled Jennifer Hawke-Petit. Authorities say he and co-defendant Joshua Komisarjevsky tied her daughters, Hayley, 17, and Michaela, 11, to their beds, poured gasoline on or around them and set fire to their home in 2007. Komisarjevsky goes on trial next year.

Dr. William Petit, who was severely beaten with a baseball bat but survived the attack, told the court he had seriously considered suicide many times after the deaths of his wife, whom he called his best friend, and their daughters. Petit fought back tears as he talked about his family.

"I miss my entire family, my home, everything we had together. They were three special people," he said. "I lost my entire family. I lost the records of our shared lives together due to the fire. Thus I lost my past and my future."

Petit said a week before the murders, he and his wife talked about their future and whether they would move or change career paths. But they could think of few changes to make, other than spending more time together.

"We were satisfied," he said.

Conn. man sentenced to death in home invasion 12/02/10 [Last modified: Monday, November 7, 2011 1:26pm]
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