Steven Hayes, the man trying to avoid the death penalty for his role in the greusome triple murder during a Connecticut home invasion, has tried to kill himself multiple times while behind bars, according to court testimony heard today.
Dr. Paul Amble, a Yale University professor of psychiatry who conducted a four hour evaluation of Hayes earlier this year, testified that the defendent has made multiple attempts to commit suicide while incarcerated, once as recently as August of this year.
Amble told the court that Hayes tried to kill himself "several times" prior to the Petit murders, and admitted to wanting to die after the July 2007 triple murder as well.
"[Hayes] described his persistent desire to die were because of his feelings of guilt, remorse and his condition of confinement," said Amble.
Since entering the MacDougall-Walker Correctional Institution, Hayes has attempted to overdose on a variety of pills. In October 2007, prison authorities found 20 pills that Hayes had hoarded in his cell and in January 2009 puncture wounds on his left forearm were spotted.
In January, Hayes "ingested a toxic level of thorazine," an anti-psychotic drug that Amble testified Hayes was not prescribed.
In August, just a month before his trial was slated to begin, Hayes tried to overdose on Ibuprofen, according to Amble.
Hayes told Amble that he often fantasized about killing himself, and even thought about sticking his head in the toilet in his cell and doing a back flip, presumably to break his neck.
Entering prison at 200 lbs, Hayes has since lost 70 lbs, in part because of his paranoia that the prison staff was "contaminating his food."
Hayes, unlike his lawyers, told Amble that he'd prefer the death penalty to life spent in prison.
The details of Hayes' life in prison and suicide attempts come a day after the jury considering whether to condemn him to death heard the twisted reasoning of Hayes' co-defendant about how the home invasion morphed into a horrifying massacre.
The jury Tuesday heard wrenching journal entries byJoshua Komisarjevsk in an attempt by the defense to spare Hayes' life and paint Komisarjevsky as the alleged ringleader.
"I think it may backfire on the defense," criminal defense attorney and former prosecutor Rikki Klieman told "Good Morning America" today.
"It all spills over on Steven Hayes. They are both depraved," said Klieman, who is not involved in the trial but has been following the case. "I think it's a high-risk game, and the roll of the dice may not go their way."
"This," she said of the 2007 crimes against the Petit family," is the worst of the worst."
Tuesday's dramatic reading of Komisarjevsky's writings included details of the last minutes of the lives of Jennifer Hawke-Petit and her two daughters, Hayley, 17, and Michaela, 11.
"Hayley is a fighter. She continually tried time and time again to free herself," he wrote. "Michaela was calm. Mrs. Petit's courage was, is, to be respected. She could have stayed inside the bank where she was safe."
He also railed against the sole survivor of the Cheshire, Conn., attack, Dr. William Petit, who, although badly beaten, was able to free himself from his basement and make his way to a neighbor's house for help.
"Mr. Petit is a coward, he ran away when he felt his own life was threatened," Komisarjevsky wrote. "Time and time again I gave him the chance to save his family."