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Conn. Home Invasion: Steven Hayes "Suicidal" Wants to Get Death Penalty, Says Defense Psychiatrist

Conn. Home Invasion: Steven Hayes "Suicidal" Wants to Get Death Penalty, Says Defense Psychiatrist
Dr. William Petit Jr. arrives at Superior Court with his sister Johanna Petit Chapman, left, Oct. 18, 2010. (AP Photo/Jessica Hill) AP Photo/Jessica Hill

NEW HAVEN, Conn. (CBS/AP) Steven Hayes' defense team continues to argue to a New Haven jury to spare their client's life, and on Wednesday they called a psychiatrist to the stand to testify about Hayes' apparent death wish.

PICTURES: Petit Family Murders

Yale University psychiatrist Dr. Paul Amble testified that Hayes told him he wanted to testify in front of the jury during the penalty phase and that his plan was to "look like a monster" by expressing no remorse.

"He wanted to essentially encourage them to vote in favor of the death penalty," Amble said.

Hayes was convicted two weeks ago of killing of Jennifer Hawke-Petit and her daughters, 17-year-old Hayley and 11-year-old Michaela, at their Cheshire, Conn. home in 2007. The jury will decide whether he deserves execution or life in prison for the killings.

Amble performed a competency evaluation on the career criminal at the McDougal Walker Correctional Facility last March, after Hayes attempted to commit suicide. According to the evaluation, Hayes was suicidal before the murders, and had made at least three attempts to take his own life, CBS affiliate WFSB reports.

Conn. Home Invasion: Steven Hayes "Suicidal" Wants to Get Death Penalty, Says Defense Psychiatrist
Steven Hayes (Left) and Joshua Komisarjevsky (AP Photo/Connecticut State Police) AP Photo/Connecticut State Police

Amble said after Hayes' arrest, he attempted to take his life multiple times. He attempted to overdose on prescription medication at least four times and on Jan. 27, 2009, puncture wounds were found on Hayes' left forearm, Amble said.

PICTURES: Petit Family Murders

But under cross examination by prosecutors, Amble said he did not know if Hayes genuinely wanted the death penalty. New Haven State's Attorney Michael Dearington pressed Amble about whether prisoners sometimes fake suicide attempts to show remorse to a jury to get a more lenient sentence.

On Tuesday, Hayes' attorneys read from a diary that had been confiscated from Hayes' alleged accomplice, Joshua Komisarjevsky, in an attempt to shift blame for the killings onto Komisarjevsky. During the trial the defense maintained that Hayes did not go to the house to kill anyone and that it was Komisarjevsky who escalated the violence and forced Hayes to kill Hawke-Petit after admitting that he had raped Michaela.

In the ramblings, Komisarjevsky calls Dr. William Petit, the husband and father of the victims and the sole survivor of that July 2007 morning, a "coward [who] ran away when he felt his own life was threatened, and left his wife and children to die at the hands of madmen," according to the New York Post.

Dr. Petit kept his emotions in check as he sat in the courtroom listening to the court clerk reading the words of the man who brutalized his 11-year-old daughter and set his entire family on fire, but was barely able to contain his rage outside the courthouse when asked about the name-calling, according to the Post.

"I really don't want to dignify the ravings of a sociopath who appears to be a pathological liar as well," Petit said. "My testimony stands as truthful testimony," referring to his testimony during the trial when he said that the two men beat him with a bat and tied him up in the basement. He was barely able to escape and had to crawl to the house next door in an attempt to get help for his family.

Komisarjevsky faces a separate capital murder trial next year for his role in the murders in addition to the charge of sexually assaulting Michaela.


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