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Connecticut Home Invasion: Dr. William Petit Hangs Head as Grim Photos are Shown at Trial

Dr. William Petit and his family in undated family photo. The Conn. doctor survived a brutal home invasion, but his wife and daughters were murdered. Family Photo

Connecticut Home Invasion: Dr. William Petit Hangs Head as Grim Photos are Shown at Trial
Dr. William Petit and his family (Personal Photo)

NEW HAVEN, Conn. (CBS/AP) The trial of Steven Hayes, the man accused of being the mastermind of the Connecticut invasion that left three members of the Petit family dead, continued Thursday, with prosecutors showing grim photos of rope used to tie up victims, ripped clothing and ransacked rooms to jurors.

Prosecutors say Joshua Komisarjevsky saw Jennifer Hawke-Petit and her daughters as they shopped for groceries. They say he followed them to their home in the affluent bedroom community of Cheshire, then returned later with Hayes. Together they say the two men severely beat Dr. William Petit, now 53, and killed his wife and both of his daughters, attempting to destroy evidence of their crimes by setting fire to the house.

Petit, the sole survivor, who was badly beaten and tied up in the basement but escaped before the fire was set, hung his head at times as prosecutors showed photo after photo of burned staircases and hallways and images of his childrens' badly torn and burned clothing.

Petit had sobbed during Wednesday's testimony as photos of his daughters' bodies were shown at the trial of Steven Hayes, one of two suspects charged with murder, sexual assault and other crimes in the deaths of Hawke-Petit and her daughters on July 23, 2007.

The photos included images of rope used to tie up the victims; ripped shorts and other belongings of 17-year-old Hayley and 11-year-old Michaela; ransacked rooms; and melted containers that prosecutors said contained accelerants used by Hayes and Komisarjevsky in starting the fire.

Komisarjevsky is awaiting trial. Both men face the possibility of the death penalty if convicted.

State Police Sgt. Karen Gabianelli took the stand in New Haven Superior Court, leading prosecutors through photos displayed on a screen before the jury. On Wednesday, prosecutors showed photos of the bodies of the victims as they were found by police and firefighters.

In all the bedrooms, jewelry was removed, Gabianelli said.

"It looked like it had been gone through pretty well," she said.

In another bedroom where clothes were strewn about, she said, "The closet was pretty well gone through, too."

Hayes and Komisarjevsky were paroled burglars at the time of the invasion.

Prosecutors showed photos of a pickup truck they say Hayes drove. Photos show the interior containing a knapsack belonging to the 17-year-old along with jewelry, including a string of pearls stored in a plastic bag.

Superior Court Judge Jon Blue ended the session after defense lawyer Thomas Ullmann said his client had "medical issues" and unspecified information related to security. Earlier, Ullmann said Hayes had seizure-like symptoms and urinated on himself Wednesday night.

Complete Coverage of the Petit Family Murders on Crimesider.

  • Kevin Hayes

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