December 2, 2010 / 7:16 PM / in 8 years

Man sentenced to death for Connecticut home invasion

BOSTON (Reuters) - A Connecticut man convicted of murdering a woman and her two daughters in a 2007 home-invasion case was sentenced to death for his crimes on Thursday.

Steven Hayes, 47, told the court he was haunted by the memory of his victims and according to authorities has repeatedly tried to commit suicide while in prison.

“Death, to me, will be a welcome relief,” he said in the New Haven courtroom.

Judge Jon Blue confirmed Hayes’ death sentence, handed down by a jury last month, after hearing from the sole survivor of the attack, Dr. William Petit, whose wife and daughters were killed.

The attack left “a giant hole ... in my heart,” a tearful Petit told the court.

According to prosecutors, Hayes and an accomplice, Joshua Komisarjevsky, decided to rob the Petit home in Cheshire, Connecticut after targeting Petit’s wife, Jennifer Hawke-Petit, at a local grocery store.

When they arrived, they found Petit asleep, beat him and tied him up.

After being held several hours, Petit escaped the house, at which point Hayes sexually assaulted and killed Hawke-Petit and set a fire that killed the two daughters.

Komisarjevsky is scheduled to face trial next year.

Connecticut’s last execution — and the only one since 1960 — was in 2005, according to the state library website.

Reporting by Scott Malone; Editing by Ellen Wulfhorst and Jerry Norton

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