Steven Hayes Murder Trial: Jury Begins Deliberation
Steven Hayes' Murder Trial Jury Deliberation Has Begun
Jurors have ended their deliberations for the first day in the murder trial of Steven Hayes, who has pleaded not guilty for the murders of Jennifer Hawke-Petit, Hayley Petit and Michaela Petit in the Connecticut home invasion case.
After Hayes' trial is over and a verdict is reached, his accomplice in the crime, Joshua Komisarjevsky, will go on trial.
Dr. William Petit, the only survivor from that fateful night, took to the stand a few weeks ago to talk about what happened to his wife and two daughters. Dr. William Petit was beaten to within an inch of his life, while his wife and one of his daughters were raped and all three were killed and tortured in July 2007.
Steven Hayes offered to plead guilty in the case to avoid the death penalty, but prosecutors are seeking a sentence of death for the 47-year-old.
Judge Jon Blue gave instructions Monday morning and told the jury: "You are the sole judges of the facts."
"We're in the home stretch," the judge said after going over all 17 counts with the jury. "No one will hurry you to produce a verdict."
The jury's verdict must be unanimous and they will resume their work on Tuesday morning.
The trial has been affected by Judge Jon Blue's illness and Hayes' reportedly suffered 'seizure-like symptoms' during the trial and the judge ruled the condition was serious enough to warrant a trial delay. His lawyer also said Hayes urinated on himself then asked for a delay.
The police response during the Connecticut home invasion, as the case has become to be known by, has also been questioned, with some saying the police could have saved three lives from the Petit family if they had acted earlier.
Captain Robert Vignola defended the police response in court and while he did admit that half an hour passed before the 911 call and them seeing the two men running from the Petit house, they were following standard procedure. Vignola said that police have to establish a perimeter first and said they could not see any activity inside the house when they arrived.
The police were alerted to the situation by a 911 call made by the bank manager of a Bank of America branch where Jennifer Hawke-Petit was forced to take $15,000 out of the family account about 40 minutes before she was killed.