No Verdict on Day 1 of Hayes' Death Penalty Deliberations - NBC New York

No Verdict on Day 1 of Hayes' Death Penalty Deliberations

Jury will return Saturday to decide whether Stephen Hayes deserves death for home invasion murders



    No Verdict on Day 1 of Hayes' Death Penalty Deliberations
    The face of evil: Steven Hayes

    The jury in the Steven Hayes trial will be back on Saturday to continue deliberations in the penalty phase.

    On day one of deliberations, they could not reach a verdict on whether the man convicted of the murders of Jennifer Hawke-Petit and her daughters Hayley and Michaela should get life in prison or die for his crimes.

    The jury foreman sent a note to Judge Jon Blue just after 2 p.m. Friday asking "what does it mean to UNANIMOUSLY find the existence of a statutory mitigating factor?"

    The note included a diagram of what the foreman described as an example of how the jury vote is playing out. The example shows 10 jurors finding at least one mitigating factor, but two jurors who don't find any of the three possible statutory mitigating factors.

    "Based on the example above, are we unanimous in finding existence of statutory mitigating factor?", the note read.

    If the jurors unanimously find the existence of statutory mitigating factors, by law they must sentence Hayes to life in prison without the possibility of parole.

    Blue told the jurors they were not unanimous and needed to continue deliberations.

    The jury sent out a second note around 4:15 p.m. asking Judge Blue again to clarify statutory mitigating factors.

    Blue told the jurors they could not fill out verdict forms until they unanimously find there are mitigating factors or unanimously find there are none.

    The jury understood Blue's direction, but said it would have to return Saturday.

    There was an emotional moment earlier in the day when Maybelle Hawke, mother of Jennifer Hawke-Petit, approached Steven Hayes' brother Matthew Hayes in court. She grasped his hands and briefly talked to him.

    "I'm so sorry", Matthew Hayes said to Hawke during the conversation. It was the first time the family of the victims and the family of Steven Hayes have made contact since the July 2007 murders.