Dr. William Petit Tells Court He Has Considered Suicide Many Times

PHOTO A jury has sentenced Steven Hayes to death in the deadly Cheshire home invasion case. Hayes, 47, was convicted last month for the killings of Jennifer Hawke-Petit and her daughters, Hayley and Michaela.PlaySketch by Christine Cornell
WATCH Petit 'Seriously Considered Suicide'

Dr. William Petit, the sole survivor in the home invasion that left his wife and two daughters dead, said today he has considered suicide many times because he is living in a "universe he doesn't want to be in."

"I seriously considered suicide may times. I have no wife, no children, no home and no interest in life in general," Petit said. "My wife was raped and strangled in her own home. Hayley and Michaela died alone in the only home they had never known."

Petit's heartrending statement was one of several made today by relatives of the family brutally murdered during a 2007 home invasion, bringing a packed Connecticut courtroom to tears as convicted killer Steven Hayes stared straight ahead, awaiting his sentence of death.

In his own statement, Hayes expressed remorse to the Petit family.

For Petit, however, "The impact of these crimes is like a bomb going off in your house. I shudder and feel a cold sweat and realize for the 100 thousandth time what happened."

Petit, sobbing, spoke of his sadness that daughter Hayley, who was 17 when she was killed, never fell in love.

"She never got to love someone for a long time," he said. "She had a friend, who was a boy ... he would call on Sunday night and she would jump up and play basketball. That's what they did.

"She loved it and probably loved him," he said. "Hayley was a good, kind and gentle soul. Her potential will never be known. There are few people like her and she was ripped away from the sanctuary of her own home.

"We were robbed of this in a heinous, evil manner over what? Money," Petit said.

Speaking of Hayes and his co-defendant, Johsua Komisarjevsky, Petit said, "They were unspeakably violent and cruel.

"I lost my past and my future, they caused their own personal holocaust. All I can do is do the best to honor the lives of my family," he said.

Hayes spoke for the first time during his trial. "Words can never express what I have done," he said. "People will say I'm saying sorry because I got caught, but I'm sorry for the pain I have caused.

"My actions that night were my own," he said. "I stand before the court as Steven Hayes, convicted murderer. This is not the real Steven Hayes.

"I make no excuses but this is not the real me, this is a monster so full of rage I was impossible to control," he said. "I was an out of control train destined to crash ... the death I wanted was my own.

"I am tormented and have nightmares about what happened in that house," Hayes said. "I look at Dr. Petit and think about what he went through. Not a day goes by it does not weigh on my conscience.

"Death for me will be welcome relief and will bring peace and comfort to those I hurt," he said.

When Hayes finished speaking, Judge Jon C. Blue formally sentenced him to death.

"It is now my sad duty ... you have had a fair trial ... you shall suffer death--may God have mercy on your soul," said Blue.

In a videotaped statement played to the courtroom, Cynthia Hawke-Renn, the sister of Jennifer-Hawke Petit, who was killed alongside her two daughters Hayley and Michaela, said Hayes took away "the joy from every single day."

"Last night I had the repeated nightmare that I am Hayley struggling in flames and smoke," said Hawke-Renn. "With palpitations I awaken, left to wonder how does this nightmare ever end."

"I used to have trust and faith in humanity and you have taken that from me," she said. "You did not have to murder or rape any of them."

Hayes is convicted of raping and strangling Hawke-Petit and accused accomplice Komisarjevsky is charged with sexually assaulting 11-year-old Michaela Petit. Michaela and her older sister Hayley, 17, died after they were tied to their beds, doused with gasoline and the house was set on fire. Last month, the jury unanimously found the death penalty the appropriate punishment for Hayes' role in the triple murders.

Hawke-Renn said that Hayes will die a "peaceful" death when he's given a lethal injection, "one without pain."

"I would have given anything for my loved ones to have died in this same peaceful manner," she said.

William Petit Sr., the father of Dr. William Petit Jr., the husband and father of the victims who was badly beaten with a bat, was the only person to survive the attack on his Cheshire, Conn., home, said in his statement that his family "will never be the same."

"You destroyed our family," said Petit Sr., breaking down into tears. "[Dr. Petit] will never walk them down the aisle, he will never know the wonderment of grandchildren."

"He doubts if he should be living at all. We have lost the [Dr. Petit] we all knew," he said. "He puts on a brave face. It works for a while but there is no way of forgetting the brutal truth."

Petit Family Lashes Out at Steven Hayes During Sentencing

Johanna Petit-Chapman, Dr. Petit's sister, spoke about the last night she spent with her sister-in-law and nieces.

"They went to sleep on a Sunday night, they had dinner together, talked and read the new Harry Potter book," she said. "None of us would know it would be their last night."

"Three beautiful lives taken because of Stephen Hayes' selfish act," said Petit-Chapman, through tears. "He does not deserve life."

During the six-week trial that culminated in Hayes' conviction, prosecutors argues that Hayes and Komisarjevsky ambushed the Petit family on a summer night after following Hawke-Petit and Michaela home from a grocery store and targeted the family as wealthy.

The two intended to rob the family, but after finding little cash in the house they held the family captive for hours before driving Hawke-Petit to the bank to withdraw $15,000. Hawke-Petit was seen on the bank's surveillance system pleading with the teller to help her family.

Prosecutors alleged that Komisarjevsky raped Michaela, later forcing her to take a shower before tying her to her bed. During Hayes' trial, prosecutors argued that he raped Hawke-Petit before strangling her. As the two girls lay tied to their beds with Hawke-Petit dead on the lower floor of the house, Hayes and Komisarjevsky set fire to the house, prosecutors said, pouring gasoline on and around the girls' bed before fleeing.

Komisarjevsky, 30, is scheduled to stand trial early next year.

Hayes will join nine other men who currently await execution on Connecticut's death row, which is housed in the Northern Correctional Institution in Somers, Conn.

The last inmate to be executed in Connecticut was serial killer Michael Ross in 2005.

Hayes' lawyers had argued that he should be spared execution because the ringleader was Komisarjevsky who escalated the violence instead of carrying out a house robbery as originally planned. The lawyers also argued that Hayes had expressed remorse for the crime and wanted to be executed.