NEW HAVEN, Conn. -- The woman's face is calm, her stride resolute -- as if she were just another slightly harried New England mom running an errand, with reading glasses dangling from her neck onto her crisp white blouse.
But at that moment, captured in bank surveillance images viewed publicly for the first time yesterday, Jennifer Hawke-Petit was in the middle of an unimaginable nightmare of rape, arson and murder -- a nightmare jurors in a gut-wrenching Connecticut home-invasion trial began to hear the details of yesterday.
Back home on that July 2007 morning -- as the 48-year-old mom walked in and out of a brick New England bank withdrawing $15,000 in ransom money -- her two daughters, 11 and 17, lay bound to their beds in terror.
Her husband, Dr. William Petit Jr., lay beaten unconscious on the floor of their basement.
Meanwhile, waiting for her behind the wheel of her Chrysler SUV outside the bank was one of the two kidnappers -- crack-addicted burglary parolee Steven Hayes, a man who prosecutors say raped and strangled the mom just 30 minutes later.
Chillingly, in the silent, black-and-white surveillance images viewed by jurors yesterday, on the opening day of testimony in the capital case against Hayes, Hawke-Petit manages to stride with utter composure into the Cheshire, Conn., Bank of America branch.