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Petit Family Home Invasion: Steven Hayes Trial Continues Despite Defendant's Seizure

This July 2007 file photo provided by the Connecticut State Police shows Steven Hayes, charged with killing a woman and her two daughters during a 2007 home invasion in Cheshire, Conn. (AP Photo/Connecticut State Police, File) AP Photo/Connecticut State Police

Petit Family Home Invasion: Steven Hayes Trial Continues Despite Defendant's Seizure
Steven Hayes (AP Photo/Connecticut State Police, File)

NEW HAVEN, Conn. (CBS/WFSB) The fourth day of testimony in the trial of Connecticut home invasion suspect Steven Hayes moved forward on Thursday despite Hayes suffering an apparent seizure Wednesday night.

Hayes' attorney said his client suffered seizure-like symptoms, but that they would move forward with the proceedings Thursday nonetheless. He said his client did not sleep Wednesday night, and CBS affiliate WFSB reporter Robert Goulston said Hayes appeared fatigued, stopping to rub his eyes for a two-minute interval at one point during Thursday's proceedings.

On Wednesday, dubbed by both local newspapers and the judge in the case as being "the hardest day," those who were first to respond to reports of the home invasion at the Cheshire home in 2007 took the stand, proving for an emotional afternoon for jurors and members of the Petit family, reports WFSB.

Hayes, along with Joshua Komisarjevsky, is accused of invading the Petits' home during the early-morning hours of July 23, 2007, beating and binding Dr. William Petit and killing his wife, Jennifer Hawke-Petit and daughters, 17-year-old Hayley and Michaela. Prosecutors allege both Hawke-Petit and Michaela were sexually assaulted. Hayes, who prosecutors call a 47-year-old career criminal, is the first to go on trial.

Several jurors, along with members of the Petit family, broke down when photos of the bodies of Hawke-Petit and her two daughters were shown on Wednesday. On Tuesday, one juror was dismissed after telling the judge it was too difficult to listen to the testimony.

Wednesday's proceedings were cut short after the judge acknowledged it had been a difficult day. The judge told jurors at the end of the day that they had been through the worst testimony and that it was OK to hug one another.

The timeline of the home invasion continued to be painted during Thursday's testimony, with members of the Connecticut State Police taking the stand first.

State Police Sgt. Karen Gabianelli testified about evidence gathered by her team at the scene.

Gabianellli said a beach-type bag filled with thee Bank of America envelopes and $15,000 in cash in three bundles was found the Petits' Chrysler Pacifica, in which prosecutors say Hayes and Komisarjevsky attempted to escape.

Monday's testimony included that of tellers at the Cheshire bank, who said Hawke-Petit informed them her family was being held hostage and that she had been told if she withdrew and gave them the cash requested, her family would be kept safe.

Gabianelli said Latex gloves, plastic tie wraps and a cotton mask with the eyes cut out were also found in the vehicle.

The sergeant told jurors that a red minivan registered to Komisarjevsky's mother was found at Quarry Village Road. She said a T-shirt matching the material from the cloth mask was found in the minivan. She said inside the van there were also pieces of fabric that matched what had been cut out to make the mask's eyes.

Gabianelli also talked about the use of accelerant inside the Petit home. Jurors were shown photos of Hayley's burned bed, with a piece of melted material, apparently used as a restraint, on the bed post. She said accelerant traces were found on the carpet in Hayley's bedroom and in the hallway outside her room. She said traces of accelerant were found on Hayley's shorts.

Containers, believed to have been used for gas, were found on both the home's first and second floors, Gabianelli said. She said both gas containers located on the home's second floor were melted.

Gabianelli testified that Michaela's shorts and T-shirt were burned and that she had been wearing them. She said Michaela's clothing was tested for traces of accelerant but did not testify on what the results were.

The sergeant also testified that a red pickup truck, registered to Hayes' boss, was found parked at the Stop & Shop near the Bank of America prosecutors say Hawke-Petit was taken to. Inside the truck was Hayes' wallet and Hayley's backpack, Gabianella testified.

Inside Hayeley's backpack were both Petit and Hayley's wallets. Found near the backpack was jewelry, Gabianella testified. In earlier testimony, Gabianella said jewelry was strewn about the bed in the Petit's master bedroom as though it had been rummaged through.

Complete Coverage of the Petit Family Murders on Crimesider.

  • Kevin Hayes

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