Petit, the only one to survive the attack, recalled the mundane events of the family's Sunday, the day before the suspects allegedly broke into his house, held his family hostage, sexually assaulted his wife and one of his daughters, and then set the house on fire. Before that nightmare began, they had spent the day at church, he had played golf while "the girls" went to the beach, they had eaten dinner together, and then he had fallen asleep in their sun room, reading the paper while his family watched television in the other room, according to CNN.
The doctor recalled for the jury how he woke up at about 3 a.m. in pain, with something warm dripping down his face and two people standing in front of him. One of them told the other to "put two bullets in him" if he moved. The men then tied his wrists and ankles with rope and plastic ties, covered his head with a blanket his daughter had received for her recent high school graduation, and took him to the basement where they tied him to a pole.
The attackers demanded money.
"The person doing the talking asked me where the safe was I said we had no safe," Petit testified. "The same person said if you give us what we want we won't hurt you." He slipped in and out of consciousness, but at one point, he heard his wife saying she needed to get dressed and get her checkbook to go to the bank.
The triple murder trial of Steven Hayes, 47, began Monday in New Haven with the chilling testimony of a bank manager, a neighbor and a police officer who each recounted their entrees into the horrific scenes that shocked the quiet New England town of Cheshire three summers ago.
Prosecutors say Hayes' accomplice, Joshua Komisarjevsky, picked out Jennifer Hawke-Petit, 48, and her two daughters, Hayley, 17, and Michaela, 11, at a grocery store parking lot the day before and followed them home, returning to the house later with Hayes. Prosecutors say the suspects broke into the home and forced the mother to drive to the local Bank of America on the morning of July 23.
Mary Lyons, the bank manager, told jurors Monday that Hawke-Petit was calm when she explained to the teller that her family was being held hostage, that she needed to withdraw $15,000, and that nobody should call the police, The New York Times reported.
Lyons testified that when she asked Hawke-Petit for ID to complete the transaction, Hawke-Petit explained that her captors had taken her credit cards and ID. She offered a picture of her daughters instead, the New Haven Register reported.
"Her hands were a little shaky, but she wasn't overly anxious, or looking over her shoulder," Kristin Makhzangi, the bank teller, explained, according to the New York Post. "She was just focusing on her conversation."
In court, prosecutors played the surveillance video from the bank that day, showing Hawke-Petit walking into the bank "as if she were just another slightly harried New England mom running an errand," the New York Post reported, before walking back out to what would be her rape and murder half an hour later.
Prosecutors also played Lyons' 911 phone call in which she says Hawke-Petit had said that "if the police are called they will kill the children and her husband."
Meanwhile, Petit told the court today, he eventually managed to untie the rope around his wrists and break through the plastic zip tie, but he couldn't free his feet. For the most part, he said, the ordeal occurred fairly quietly. But then he heard "three loud noises, like someone was throwing 20- or 30-pound sacks on the living room floor." When he yelled upstairs, a "more sinister" voice yelled back, "Don't worry, it'll be all right in a couple of minutes." Scared for his family, he hopped up the basement stairs and then crawled and rolled the distance to his neighbor's driveway, CNN reports.
David Simcik, the neighbor, testified yesterday that his wife told him she heard someone calling his name. When he went to investigate, he saw a man lying in the driveway, so bloody that Simcik didn't recognize him at first. Komisarjevsky had beaten Petit with a baseball bat, according to Hayes' attorney, Thomas Ullmann, and he was bleeding from the head.
By then, Michaela had been sexually assaulted and tied to a bed. Hayley had been tied to a bed in another room. And Hawke-Petit had been raped and strangled. The suspects had doused the house with gasoline and set it on fire, according to prosecutors.
During his testimony, Wright said he saw Hayes and Komisarjevsky trying to escape in the family's tan Chrysler, with police chasing after them. He and another officer tried to get into the burning house but were forced back by the heat and smoke. He said he tried to put the fire out with a garden hose while he waited for the fire department to arrive, according to the New Haven Register.
If Hayes is found guilty, he could face the death penalty. The trial was delayed earlier this year after he tried to commit suicide and was put into a medically induced coma, ABC News reported. Komisarjevsky, 30, will face a capital murder trial at a later date.