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Dr. William Petit: Death Sentence is About Justice Not Revenge

Haley, Michaela, Jennifer Hawke-Petit, William Petit (Personal Photo)

NEW HAVEN, Conn. (CBS/WFSB/AP) Dr. William Petit, the sole survivor of the 2007 Connecticut home invasion that left his daughters and wife dead, responded Monday to the death sentence passed down by the jury in the trial of Steven Hayes.

PICTURES: The Petit Family

He said the verdict was not about revenge.

"Vengeance belongs to the Lord," Petit said. "This is about justice. We need to have some rules in a civilized society."

He also said it wouldn't bring closure, saying whoever came up with the concept was "an imbecile."

"It's a hole with jagged edges," he said. "Over time the edges may smooth out a little bit, but the hole in your heart, the hole in your soul is always there."

Hayes' attorneys had tried to persuade jurors to spare him the death penalty by portraying him as a clumsy, drug-addicted thief who never committed violence until the 2007 home invasion with a fellow paroled burglar. They called the co-defendant, Joshua Komisarjevsky, the mastermind and said he escalated the violence.

But prosecutors said both men were equally responsible and that the crime cried out for the death penalty, saying the family was tormented for seven hours before they were killed.

Petit said he cried at the verdict, "thinking of the tremendous loss."

"Michaela was an 11-year-old little girl tortured and killed in her own bedroom, surrounded by stuffed animals," he said, his voice cracking. He said his older daughter, Hayley, had a great future, and his wife, a nurse, had helped many children at the hospitals where she worked.

Hayes was convicted of six capital felony charges, three murder counts and two charges of sexually assaulting Hawke-Petit. The capital offenses were for killing two or more people, the killing of a person under 16, murder in the course of a sexual assault and three counts of intentionally causing a death during a kidnapping. He was sentenced to death for all six.

COMPLETE COVERAGE OF THE PETIT CASE ON CRIMESIDER

  • Edecio Martinez

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