An accused killer's recorded confession is a horrifying glimpse into how an almost casual plan to rob people at ATMs escalated chaotically into a night of rape, murder and arson that left a mother and her two daughters dead in a suburban Connecticut home.
The taped confession of Joshua Komisarjevsky, publicly released Monday, details the attack on the home of Dr. William Petit, and the murders of his wife, Jennifer Hawke-Petit, 48, and his daughters Michaela Petit, 11 and Hayley Petit, 17.
Towards the end of the audio taped confession, Komisarjevsky, 31, implied that he agreed to tell his story to the police in the aftermath of the triple murder because "I feel they deserved it, you know. They earned this and uh I just f##d up."
Much of the tape has been played for the jury in court, but this is the first time the public has had a chance to hear the voice of Komisarjevsky who, in a virtually unbroken monotone, described what he said happened in the Petit house in the early morning hours of July 23, 2007.
Komisarjevsky, together with his accomplice Steven Hayes were looking for a quick score of cash that night. They first considered robbing people withdrawing money from ATMs, but they decided instead on breaking into the Petit house.
Hayes and Komisarjevsky met after both had served time for other offenses. Hayes was tried for his role in the triple murders last year. He was convicted and sentenced to death and is currently on Connecticut's death row.
The chaos of that night was underscored by Komisarjevsky's admission to Cheshire, Conn., Detective Joe Vitello, who recorded Komisarjevsky's statement, that so little planning went into the crime that night that they didn't even have proper disguises. Komisarjevsky ended up using a torn shirt as a mask. "We really did it on the fly…There was no planning or anything."
The two men gained entry in the house and discovered Dr. William Petit sleeping on a sunroom porch. They argued about who would attack him, and finally Komisarjevsky describes how he picked up a baseball bat and took a swing at Dr. Petit.
"He let out this, this unearthly scream…I couldn't take the screaming," Komisarjevsky said. When asked by Vitello asks if Petit was bleeding, he said, "Yes, he was bleeding profusely."
Hayes and Komisarjevsky then walked upstairs and "gently shook" Jennifer Hawke-Petite and her daughter Michaela awake. Michaela had fallen asleep watching television with her mother in bed. Komisarjevsky described all the women as remarkably compliant.
On the tape, Komisarjevsky repeatedly depicts himself as being solicitous of the women he had kidnapped, particularly Michaela. Komisarjevsky said he was careful not to restrain Michaela's feet too tightly .
"I had noticed that she had eczema and I, I suffer from that myself," he told the detective.
A short time later Komisarjevsky said he noticed Michaela was "stressed out" after being separated from her mom. "I untied her hands and um, uh I asked if she wanted something to drink," he said.
Komisarjevsky said even though the men put pillowcases over the girls heads so they would not be able to identify their captors, he added he made a point to "roll up, to roll it back up, like put it over their head but roll it back up" so that they wouldn't get too hot .
Despite his claims of sympathy and care for Michaela, he also confessed to the cop that he molested the girl, and when the house was set on fire, it didn't occur to him to untie Michaela and Hayley from their beds.
The two men tied up Dr. Petit in the basement. The mother was brought downstairs to make some phone calls and later taken to a bank to withdraw some cash.
Petit Home Invasion Detailed in Taped Confession
As the hours wore on in the house, Komisarjevky said the tension between Hayes and himself increased.
"The stress level was very high and, um, I never done anything like this. Anyway, I was very uncomfortable, uh, with the situation and um, um I felt very out of control in the whole thing," Komisarjevsky said.
After Hawke-Petit returns from the bank with $15,000 the men demanded, Hayes raped and strangled her, according to testimony in Hayes' trial.
The two men begin to discuss killing the family and burning the house down to avoid leaving behind any DNA evidence.
On the tapes, Komisarjevsky puts the blame squarely on Hayes.
"He began ranting and raving about DNA, and he was mad at me because I had on several occasions accidentally used his name in front of the occupants in the house, um, and I all of a sudden you know got to kill them," Komisarjevsky said.
"We go to kill the whole family and burn the house down on top of them. Um, that was not, that was not the plan. I'm, I'm not killing anyone," Komisarjevsky said.
He claims he argued with Hayes over the plan to kill the family, particularly the girls.
"I was like you can't seriously, be, be contemplating burning these, these two girls alive…I was just like that's unconscionable," he said on the tape.
But within the hour Hayes began pouring three or four containers of gasoline in the house and after three attempts to light a match, he ignited the inferno.
The two men were arrested just outside the house a short time later.
In one of the final minutes of his audiotaped confession, Komisarjevsky seems to be particularly struck by the death of the two girls.
"They did every, they did, they did what they were supposed to do. There was no reason for them to die. They were compliant the entire way, both you know, very bright young ladies," he said.