"You will learn that he has a long criminal history of being a burglar and a thief and a person who has for a long period of time in his life [had] a serious drug abuse addiction," public defender Patrick Culligan said. "You will also learn he could be a good worker ... he could be a likable person."
The defense's first witness, former investigator D'Arcy Lovetere, said she got to know Hayes during her time with the public defender's office in his hometown and described him as a "gentleman" and "motivated to work," who was always remorseful for his crimes.
"He wasn't the best criminal in the world for sure," Lovetere testified. "His addiction overtook him , but he just wasn't all that good as a criminal, I guess. He was a klutz."
"He was definitely a follower," she said.
And when she found out that Hayes, who once had a crush on her then-teenage daughter, Lovetere testified, "It knocked the wind out of me."
"I couldn't believe it," she said. "I just was shocked."
The defense also called witness Christiane Gehami , who owns the West Hartford restaurant Arugula where Hayes worked as a pantry chef in 2006, while he was living in a halfway house.
Hayes would often get rides homes from Gehami who said she found Hayes to be "funny" and added that he "got along" with the other employees.
"Nobody lasts in there if you don't get along," added Gehami.
Gehami told the court about a time when Hayes broke up an argument between her co-chef and another man.
"Basically what Steve was doing was protecting me from this guy," she said.
Gehami also provided of preview of the pending trial of Hayes' co-defendant Joshua Komisarjevsky. She said that Komisarjevsky sometimes came to the restaurant to "help with projects" and that she recalls thinking she was "looking at the devil" and denied his offer to work for her.
Komisarjevsky had "dead eyes," added Gehami.
The sentencing phase is expected to be concluded by Oct. 29.
Dr. William Petit, the sole survivor of his family's massacre, has been in the audience throughout the trial. Earlier this month Petit announced that he will not give a victim impact statement during the penalty phase.
In a statement, Petit cited what he considers to be a lack of clarity in Connecticut law regarding the reading of victim impact statements, saying it is not well-defined whether such a statement should be read by the victim himself or by the prosecutor and whether or not such a statement should be presented prior to or after the sentencing.
Petit said he feared that "this lack of clarity" could be used by an appellate court to rule that a victim impact statement improperly influenced sentencing.
"I do not presently intend to seek to offer a victim impact statement in this case precisely because of my concerns that it could be used (wrongly) as a basis for appeal and possibly even a new sentencing trial," Petit said.
Together, prosecutors say, Hayes and Komisarjevsky ambushed the Petit family on a summer night after Komisarjevsky followed Hawke-Petit and Michaela home from a grocery store and targeted the family as wealthy.