A Connecticut doctor whose wife and two daughters were killed in a gruesome 2007 home invasion said on Thursday's episode of "The Oprah Winfrey Show" that while he has had suicidal thoughts he chose not to kill himself because he hopes to be with his family in the afterlife.
In court earlier this month, before a man convicted in the killings was sentenced to death, Dr. William Petit said he had struggled with suicidal thoughts, nightmares and flashbacks. Winfrey asked Petit why he decided not to kill himself after all.
"Religious reasons," Petit answered. "I thought in the afterlife, if I was going to meet up with my family, if I did that (commit suicide) then maybe I would never meet up with them again. I wasn't willing to take that chance. I thought that they would not approve and they would want me to go forward."
Petit was the sole survivor of the home invasion. His wife, Jennifer Hawke-Petit, and daughters, 17-year-old Hayley and 11-year-old Michaela, were killed. The mother and youngest daughter were sexually assaulted. Authorities say their attackers tied the girls to their beds, poured gasoline on or around them and set the house on fire.
Steven Hayes of Connecticut was convicted of sexually assaulting and strangling Jennifer Hawke-Petit and killing her daughters. He was sentenced to death. Another defendant, Joshua Komisarjevsky, is to go to trial next year.
Petit told Winfrey he thinks his wife would want him to continue his medical career. He also told Winfrey that he is not considering forgiveness right now.
"I don't think you can forgive ultimate evil," he said. "I think forgiving the essence of evil is not appropriate."