Oct. 24, 2011 -- A death row inmate has written a series of letters bragging that he has killed 17 women, made a snuff film documenting one of his alleged murders and often kept their shoes as morbid trophies.
The letters were written by Steven Hayes, convicted last year of murdering Jennifer Hawke-Petit, 48, and her two daughters, Hayley, 17, and Michaela, 11, during a Connecticut home invasion that turned into a gruesome rape and triple murder. The only person to survive the 2007 attack was Dr. William Petit, who was beaten with a baseball bat and tied to a pole in the basement.
The letters came to light when lawyers for Hayes' accomplice Joshua Komisarjevsky argued that the existence of the letters were grounds for a mistrial. Komisarjevsky was convicted earlier this month of taking part in the Petit murders.
Judge Jon C. Blue, who denied the request for a mistrial, has presided over both Hayes' and Komisarjevsky's trials and expressed some skepticism about the veracity of the claims in Hayes letter. If true, they would make Hayes responsible for 17 unsolved murders in New England between the early 1980's and 2007.
The prosecutor's office did not immediately respond to calls from ABC News about the supposed 17 murders.
The letters, written to a woman named Lynn in Wilson, N.C., were intercepted by the Connecticut Department of Corrections in early October and handed over to prosecutors. A copy of one letter was leaked to the New Haven Register which published excerpts over the weekend.
The gruesome and shocking revelations contained in Hayes' letters included a detailed description of the death row inmate's alleged first kill.
"I was driving home from a bar when I noticed this girl hitchhiking at the entrance to the highway. She was short, hot and the perfect victim," wrote Hayes in one of the excerpts published in the New Haven Register. Hayes claimed to have abducted the woman, taken her to a hotel and sexually assaulted her before asphyxiating the woman. Her identity is unknown.
He described another victim as a "drunk chick" he also picked up hitchhiking. Hayes said he tied her up to his bed for an entire weekend before killing her. "I got most of it on tape, 16 hours, 2 CD's. By far the best snuff film ever created," he boasted.
In the letters, according to the New Haven Register, Hayes also claimed to have raped dozens of women after using a date-rape drug to knock them out.
Hayes claimed his victims were all between the ages of 14 and 25. In the letter, according to the Register, Hayes described the emotional pleasure he received from the "pain and emotional abuse" his victim went through.
Hayes also claimed to have "trophies" from all of his 17 victims.
"The 17 kill trophies meant the most to me. Each trophy was one of a kind and completely specific to each victim," wrote Hayes. The trophies turned out to be sneakers. During Komisarjevsky's trial, it came to light that a police search of Hayes' home turned up a number of women's sneakers.
In his letters, Hayes criticized Komisarjevsky for his lack of ruthlessness. "I've searched my whole life for someone who could embrace and had the capacity for evil as I possess?I thought I finally found it in Josh. But events show Josh, while (he) had the proper evil intent, lacked in the most serious aspects, commitment and control."
It is possible the letters could be heard in court this week during the death penalty phase of Joshua Komisarjevsky's trial which begins Tuesday. The defense has argued that Komisarjevsky does not deserve the death penalty because it was Hayes who was responsible for the blood bath.
If sentenced to death, Komisarjevsky would join Hayes on Connecticut's death row.