Petit Family Killer's Elaborate Oyster Suicide Plan

PHOTO: Steven Hayes is shown in his 2007 booking photo.PlayConnecticut State Police/AP Photo
WATCH Petit Family Killer's Elaborate Suicide Plan

A Connecticut man on death row for the 2007 home invasion murders of a mother and her two daughters detailed an elaborate suicide plan involving oysters and lying about committing 17 other murders.

In October 2011, convicted murderer Steven Hayes wrote a series of letters bragging that he had killed 17 other women that included detailed and gruesome descriptions of the alleged murders. The letters were intercepted by the Connecticut Department of Corrections in early October and handed over to prosecutors.

The letters were written a year after he was sentenced to Connecticut's death row for his part in the gruesome 2007 murders of Jennifer Hawke-Petit, 48, and her two daughters.

But in a recent interview with the Hartford Courant, Hayes admitted that he fabricated the stories of those murders as part of an elaborate ploy to commit suicide.

"I made it up," Hayes told the paper.

Hayes, 49, said that he hoped authorities would intercept his letters and inform police. Once authorities believed he was a serial killer, he would offer them information on the killings in exchange for pizza, soda and a dozen oysters with hot sauce, he told the paper.

Hayes is deathly allergic to oysters.

"I planned to eat them and have them find me dead in my cell the next morning," Hayes told the paper.

But police didn't buy the notorious manipulator's story and his plan failed.

"It's kind of ironic that here we are trying to kill this guy and yet we go through extraordinary effort to keep him alive," Hayes' defense lawyer, New Haven Public Defender Thomas Ullmann, told "In some ways, I was rooting for him when he did that so that he could control his own destiny, as opposed to the state killing him."

Jennifer Hawke-Petit, 48, and her daughters 17-year-old Hayley and 11-year-old Michaela, were killed during a July 2007 home invasion carried out by Steven Hayes and Joshua Komisarjevsky.

The mother was raped and strangled while the girls, tied to their beds, died when the house was set ablaze.

Husband and father William Petit was the only one to survive. Beaten with a baseball bat and left bound in the basement he managed to escape to a neighbor's house. Nearly five years after the killings, Petit is now engaged to photographer Christine Paluf.

In response to a request for comment, William Petit's lawyer and close friend Richard P. Healey said that the family had "no interest" in commenting on the story.

Petit sat in the front row throughout the separate murder and sentencing trials of Hayes and Komisarjevsky. Both men were convicted and sentenced to be executed and are currently on Connecticut's death row.

This was the most recent of Hayes' suicide attempts. Hayes has tried to commit suicide by had slitting his wrists, attempting to strangle himself and crashing a car into a rock. At the beginning of his murder trial, he was found unconscious in his jail cell after overdosing on prescription medication. Despite the lethal dose of medication he had taken, he survived after being rushed to the hospital.

But he will not give up his appeal.

When the Hartford Courant asked Hayes why he does not follow in the footsteps of serial killer Michael Ross and give up his appeal so that he can be executed, he said that he promised Ullmann he would not do that.

Ullmann said that Hayes knows he is "completely opposed" to the death penalty and does not want him to die that way, even if it means another 10-20 years in the appeals process.

Hayes told the Hartford Courant that he spend his days now thinking about his past and what he has done, too anxious to watch TV or read books.

"I think I've survived because I am meant to live with the thoughts of what I did to that family," Hayes said.

In April, Connecticut Gov. Dannel Malloy signed the state's death penalty repeal bill into law, but the new law does not affect the 11 convicted killers already on death row including, Hayes and Komisarjevsky.