Two men convicted in the grisly 2007 murders of a Connecticut family will no longer face the death penalty now that the state Supreme Court has ruled that it’s unconstitutional.
Steven Hayes and Joshua Komisarjevsky were originally sentenced to death for breaking into the Petit family home, raping and strangling Jennifer Hawke-Petit, tying up her two daughters Hayley and Michaela, and then setting the house on fire. Dr. William Petit, Jennifer’s husband and the father of the two girls, was beaten, but he managed to flee to call for help.
Now, Dr. Petit is speaking out about the state Supreme Court’s decision to spare Connecticut’s 11 death row inmates, including the two men who killed his family eight years ago.
Dr. Petit said in a statement:
The dissenting justices clearly state how the four members of the majority have disregarded keystones of our governmental structure such as the separation of powers and the role of the judicial precedent to reach the decision they hand down today. The death penalty and its application is a highly charged topic with profound emotional impact, particularly on the victims and their loved ones. Justice Espinosa, in her dissent especially, forcefully and compassionately recognizes that devastating impact.
Jennifer Petit’s sister, Cynthia Hawke Renn, told NBC News that “cruel and unusual crimes really do deserve cruel and unusual punishment.”
She added, “For people who commit such heinous and horrific crimes — when you torture and rape them and their children, douse them with gasoline and burn them alive — is there not something that should be worse?”