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Crime & Courts

Conn. Home Invasion‎ Killer Faces Death Sentence

  • Stephen Hayes

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

Convicted killer Steven Hayes will be formally sentenced today to Connecticut's death row for his part in the horrific 2007 Cheshire home invasion case that left a mother, and her two daughters dead.

Judge Jon C. Blue is expected to uphold the jury's Nov. 8 death sentence verdict after denying defense motions last week for a new trial, a new penalty phase hearing, and a request to sentence Hayes to life in prison without the possibility of parole.

Judge Blue concluded the jury was fair in its decision that Hayes should be executed for his crimes. Hayes' defense team had argued that the jury was swayed by emotion after hearing and seeing the gruesome testimony and evidence that involved the rape and strangulation of the mother Jennifer Hawke-Petit and the torture of the two daughters who were left tied to their beds as their home was set on fire.

After the jury announced its verdict of death for Hayes last month, the lone survivor of the home invasion, Dr. William Petit gave a rare press conference outside the courthouse in New Haven. 

Petit told reporters throughout the trial he wanted to hold his comments until after the penalty phase was over. "This is not about revenge, this is about justice, Dr. Petit said. "We need to have some rules in a civilized society. Fortunately, justice delayed wasn't justice denied."

Emotions are expected to run high inside the New Haven Superior Courthouse at the sentencing. 

This is the day that the Hawke and Petit family members will be allowed to give "victim impact statements." Traditionally, these statements, which are allowed as part of the judicial legal process, give the victim or victims of a crime the chance to speak directly to the convicted in the courtroom. This, however, is not a conversation with the person sitting at the defense table. This is an opportunity for crime victims to address the court and explain how the crime has impacted them and their family, and often times, the words are spoken to the convicted. 

Prosecutors confirm several family members are expected to give these statements, and Steven Hayes will also have the opportunity to speak under Connecticut state law before the judge formally imposes the death penalty, though his defense attorney has not said if he will, and that it will be a "day of decision."

Once sentencing is complete, Hayes will return to his cell at the Northern Correctional Institution in Somers, which is where death row is located. Prosecutors are expected to meet with Judge Blue next week to start discussing court dates for the next trial in this case for defendant Joshua Komisarjevsky.

Laura Ingle currently serves as a New York-based correspondent for FOX News Channel (FNC) and also frequently anchors She joined FNC as a Dallas-based correspondent in 2005.

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