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Crime & Courts

Connecticut Detective's Testimony Provides Chilling Account of Deadly Home Invasion

  • Stephen Hayes

    Photo released in Feb. 2010 by the Connecticut Department of Correction shows convicted killer Steven Hayes. (AP)

  • 092210_Hayleybedroom

    This July 2007 police photo released Tuesday, Sept. 16, 2010 by the Connecticut Judicial Branch as evidence in the Steven Hayes trial shows the charred bedroom of Hayley Petit (AP).

  • 091410_Petitmurder

    This June 2007 photo provided by Dr. William Petit Jr., shows Dr. Petit, left, with his daughters Michaela, front, Hayley, center rear, and his wife, Jennifer Hawke-Petit, on Cape Cod, Mass. Dr. Petit was severely beaten and his wife and two daughters were killed during a home invasion in Cheshire, Conn., July 23, 2007. (AP) (AP)

  • 091410_Petitmurder2

    Sept. 13: Dr. William Petit Jr. , right, leaves court with his father, William Petit, left, after the first day of the trial of Steven Hayes at Superior Court in New Haven, Conn. (AP). (AP2010)

One of the men charged in the 2007 killings of a Connecticut woman and her two daughters allegedly told police that he was desperate for money and that "things got out of control" when he broke into the family's upscale home.

The trial of Steven Hayes resumed Wednesday in New Haven Superior Court after being delayed early this week when the judge was hospitalized for two days.

Hayes and another man awaiting trial, Joshua Komisarjevsky, face the possibility of the death penalty if convicted of murder and sexual assault charges in the killings of Jennifer Hawke-Petit and her two daughters, Hayley, 17, and Michaela, 11. 

State police Detective Anthony Buglione provided a chilling account Wednesday of what he said Hayes told him occurred in the family's Cheshire, Conn., home.

Buglione testified that Hayes said he called Komisarjevsky -- whom he had met in a halfway house -- and together they devised a plan to burglarize a home.

"He said his life sucked — no money, not enough to eat," Buglione told the courtroom, reports.

Hayes allegedly told Buglione that the two men decided they'd break into a home, tie people up, get money and flee as quickly as possible, according to the station.

Prosecutors say Hayes and Komisarjevsky forced their way into the Petit's home on July 23, 2007, and beat Dr. William Petit with a baseball bat before forcing his wife, Jennifer, to withdraw $15,000 in cash from a bank. 

Police allege that Hayes, 47, sexually assaulted and strangled Hawke-Petit. Komisarjevsky, 30, is accused of sexually assaulting Michaela. The two convicts then bound Hayley and Michaela to their beds before pouring gasoline on or around them and setting the home on fire, police said. Both girls died of smoke inhalation.

Buglione said that Komisarjevsky entered the house through the basement and that Hayes watched him beat a man four or five times with a baseball bat, reports. 

Buglione said that after tying up the man, the two convicts searched the house and found a woman and girl sleeping in the master bedroom. 

Hayes allegedly told the detective that they tied the woman and child to separate beds and put pillow cases over their heads. Hayes and Komisarjevsky also tied up another girl in the house, Buglione reportedly said. 

Buglione said that after finding a bank book that said the Petits had $30,000 in the bank, Hayes and Komisarjevsky changed their plan and decided to force the woman to withdraw money from her bank, according to the station. 

Buglione said Hayes told him that he drove to a gas station at around 4 or 5 a.m. to fill containers he had found in the home with gas. 

When Hayes returned to the home, he and the woman drove to a bank where she withdraw cash, Buglione reportedly told the jury.

Hayes allegedly told Buglione that Komisarjevsky sexually assaulted Michaela and that he would have to do the same to Hawke-Petit to "square things up."

Buglione said Hayes told him he argued with Komisarjevsky and that Komisarjevsky accused him of not wanting to do any of the "dirty work," reports.

Hayes then said he sexually assaulted Hawke-Petit on the living room floor, Buglione reportedly told the courtroom. 

Buglione gave his account based on statements Hayes allegedly made during a 70-minute interrogation after his arrest. 

Buglione also said Hayes smelled of gasoline during questioning and showed "no emotion," the New Haven Register reports.

Sgt. Karen Gabianelli also testified that the suspects were found in possession of the victims' belongings. 

Gabianelli said that a knapsack with one the victim's initials on it was found in the pickup truck used by the suspects. Other items found included cell phones, latex gloves, a box cutter, clothes and a hat from Miss Porter's School, from which Hayley graduated in 2007.

Click here to read more on this story from

Click here to read more on this story from the New Haven Register

The Associated Press contributed to this report 

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