NEW HAVEN, Conn. (CBS/AP) Steven Hayes, the man convicted of killing a woman and her two daughters in the deadly 2007 Cheshire, Connecticut home invasion, said he strangled and then raped the woman in a rage triggered after his alleged accomplice told him he had killed the girls, according to a psychiatrist called by the defense.
Dr. Eric Goldsmith testified for a second day Thursday in New Haven Superior Court during the punishment phase of Hayes' trial.
Hayes' attorneys are trying to persuade a jury to spare him the death penalty by arguing Hayes was a follower and Joshua Komisarjevky, who awaits trial, was the mastermind who escalated the violence.
Goldsmith concluded Hayes was in an extreme emotional state at the time of the crime that diminished his ability to control his conduct, but prosecutors said that argument was undermined if the supposed trigger of his rage was a lie.
The New Haven jury convicted Hayes earlier this month of killing Jennifer Hawke-Petit and her daughters, 17-year-old Hayley Petit and 11-year-old Michaela Petit, in their Cheshire home. Dr. William Petit was the only member of the family who survived.
Prosecutors said the daughters died of smoke inhalation after the house was set on fire by Hayes and Komisarjevky.
Prosecutors say both men are equally responsible for all of the deaths.