Conn. Father's Chilling Testimony About Day of Murders

By Diana Perez and LeAnne Gendreau
|  Wednesday, Sep 15, 2010  |  Updated 7:36 AM EDT
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Photo Evidence From Hayes Murder Trial

Petit Family

Dr. William Petit, Michaela, Hayley and Jennifer Hawke-Petit.

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On the second afternoon of Steven Hayes’ trial in the brutal Cheshire home invasion, the jury has lost another juror.

The juror said he's having a hard time remembering the evidence because it's diorganized, and further said that he's confused by the state's case and lack of preparation.

The state moved to dimiss the juror and the judge agreed, but called this development an extraordinary interjection in any case and said he's worried about contamination of the jury and possible mistrial.

Four jurors have left the case since it started on Monday. The new makeup is seven women and five men.

The juror made his complaint about the case on the the day the only survivor of the brutal home invasion that left three women dead took the stand and gave emotional testimony.

Dr. William Petit have been telling, in chilling detail, the story of the terrifying ordeal he and his family went through on July 22 and 23, 2007 at 300 Sorghum Mill Drive in Cheshire. 

Steven Hayes and Joshua Komisarjevsky are accused of beating Dr. Petit and raping and killing his wife of 22 years, Jennifer Hawke-Petit, and killing their two daughters, Michaela, 11, and Hayley, 17.

Dr. Petit started with the family sitting down to dinner the night of July 22 and is bringing the jury through the events that would continue for hours, until his wife and daughters died inside the home and Dr. Petit was found, beaten in the driveway. 

Petit talked of waking up on his couch feeling pain in his head, and then the sensation of blood running down his face.  He testified to being tied up and threatened by the two suspects.

"If he moves, put two bullets in him," Petit said one of the suspects said that night.

The sole survivor of the attack told jurors he was taken to the basement and tied to a pole.  He did not know the fate of his wife and daughters upstairs, but heard one attacker say "Don't worry.  It's going to be over in a couple of minutes."

"In my mind at that moment I thought they were going to shoot all of us," Petit told the jury.

His testimony also included a description of what happened in the moments after he escaped from the house, crawling to his neighbor's house for help.

In addition to telling his story, he also shed light on who the three women brutally killed were like in life.

Michaela was a Girl Scout who took piano and flute lessons. Hayley attended Miss Porter’s School and had been accepted at Dartmouth. Jennifer, a Registered Nurse, had been diagnosed with Multiple Sclerosis in 1998.

Hayes and Komisarjevsky, who is awaiting trial, have tried to blame each other for escalating the crime. Both defendants had offered to plead guilty in exchange for life sentences, but prosecutors pushed for death penalty trials, defense attorneys have said.

Authorities say a chance encounter at a local supermarket led to the July 2007 home invasion.

Komisarjevsky spotted Jennifer Hawke-Petit and her two daughters at the store and followed them home, then returned later with Hayes, authorities said.

Authorities say Hayes and Komisarjevsky, two paroled burglars, broke into the house, tied up Dr. William Petit and beat him, before taking his family hostage and forcing his wife to withdraw money from a bank.

You can read a preview of what to expect in the case here.

You can follow the trial on Twitter as Diana Perez offers updates from the trial.


 

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