As she and her family endured a home invasion ordeal of torture, rape and killing, Jennifer Hawke-Petit walked into a Connecticut bank and withdrew $15,000 in the hope of placating her abductors, according to a newly released 911 call from the bank.
"We have a lady who is in our bank right now who says that her husband and children are being held at their house," an official at the Bank of America branch in Cheshire, Conn., told a 911 operator during the July 2007 incident. "The people are in a car outside the bank. She is getting $15,000 to bring out to them. [She says] that if the police are told that they will kill the children and the husband.
"They told her they wouldn't hurt anybody if she got back there with the money," the caller said. "She believes them."
Hawke-Petit may have believed her abductors would let her go, but they are accused of taking her home where she was sexually assaulted and killed. They also tied up and assaulted her husband, Dr. William Petit, a prominent Connecticut doctor, and their daughters, Hayley, 17, and Michaela, 11, according to officials and testimony in the trial of one of the suspects, Steven Hayes.
Hayes, 47, is accused of sexually assaulting and strangling Hawke-Petit. Joshua Komisarjevsky, 30, who is awaiting trial, is charged with sexually assaulting Michaela.
The July 2007 ordeal began, authorities said, as Komisarjevsky followed Hawke-Petit and her two daughters from a grocery store. At the end of the ordeal, the two allegedly tied Michaela and Hayley to their beds, poured gasoline on and around them and set the house on fire, killing them and their mother.
Today, Dr. Petit, the sole survivor, sobbed as jurors in New Haven Superior Court saw graphic photos of his daughters' bodies. A juror also cried as the evidence was passed among jurors, The Associated Press reported.
After describing a pleasant Sunday leading up to the killings, Dr. Petit testified Tuesday that he was beaten in his sleep and woke up around 3 a.m. face-to-face with Hayes and Komisarjevsky.
"I remember I awoke in a daze thinking or feeling ow, ow, ow," he testified. "Something warm was running down the front of my face. ... I saw two people standing in front of the sofa. ... [A] person who was walking said if he moves put two bullets in him."
Petit said the men bound his wrists and ankles with rope and plastic ties, and covered his face, then took him down to the basement, where they tied him to a pole. He said he went in and out of consciousness. Upstairs were Hawke-Petit and the couple's two daughters.
"I heard moaning and thumps. I may have yelled out, 'Hey!' Then he said he heard someone upstairs say, 'You are alright, don't worry it's going to be all over in a couple minutes.' It was a different tone, it was much more sinister," he testified.
Petit said he did not know the fate of his wife and daughters, but said he heard his wife in the kitchen tell one of the attackers she needed to change clothes and get a checkbook.
Later, black-and-white surveillance videos released to the media Wednesday showed Hawke-Petit entering and then withdrawing money at the bank, fidgeting at the counter and talking to the teller as she did.