NEW HAVEN, Conn. (CBS/WFSB) Dr. William Petit took the stand on Tuesday, the second day of the capital murder trial of Steven Hayes, who is accused of masterminding the 2007 home invasion that ended with Dr. Petit's wife and two young daughters brutally murdered.
Hayes and another man, Joshua Komisarjevsky, are charged with murder, sexual assault and other crimes in the killings of Jennifer Hawke-Petit, 17-year-old Hayley and 11-year-old Michaela, at their Cheshire home. Both defendants face the possibility of the death penalty if convicted. Komisarjevsky is awaiting trial.
Dr. Petit told jurors that he woke early Monday morning in July 2007 to pain and felt something warm running down the side of his face; he soon realized it was blood from being beaten with a baseball bat, according to CBS affiliate WFSB.
He told jurors how the night before he and his wife and their two daughters had enjoyed a normal Sunday evening, eating a family dinner and hanging out together before Dr. Petit says he fell asleep on the couch reading, the station reports.
He then told jurors about being tied up and taken to the basement of the house, fearing the worst was happening to his wife and children. Dr. Petit said a piece of cloth he would later learn was a blanket that belonged to his youngest daughter was placed over his head. One of the men asked him at one point where the safe was, telling him "If you give us what we want, we won't hurt you," according to WFSB.
That would apparently turn out to be a lie.
Dr. Petit described his attempts to free his hands while he heard commotion upstairs and a male voice telling his wife to get dressed and grab the checkbook so they could withdraw money from their bank. He also recalled hearing his wife call his office to tell them he was feeling ill and would not be in that day.
Dr. Petit said he heard some sort of moan from upstairs and when he yelled upstairs he says he was answered by a sinister voice he had not heard before that morning. It told him "Don't worry, it's going to be over in a few minutes."
According to Dr. Petit's testimony, the tone of the voice provided him with the adrenaline boost he needed to finally break the ties around his hands and escape the house. He described trying to jump, crawl and finally roll to his neighbor's house for help, the station reported.
Unfortunately, Petit's actions did not save his family.
The state showed jurors photos of Petit's injuries, including a gash on his forehead and several gashes to the back of his head. Jurors were also showed photos of the Cheshire home's basement area, which show a massive amount of blood around the pole Petit was tied to. Also presented were photos of the pressure marks on Petit's legs from the ties, according to WFSB.
After the attacks, the state testified that Petit needed a blood transfusion after losing 6 to 7 pints of blood.
"They threw me on a gurney and I was gone," he said. Petit said he was immediately taken to a hospital, not knowing the fate of his wife and daughters.
The next time he left the hospital, four days later, was to attend the funerals of his wife and daughters.Complete Coverage of the Petit Family Murders on Crimesider.