A paroled burglar was convicted today of killing a mother and her two daughters in a 2007 home invasion in an affluent Connecticut town and now could be sentenced to death. Steven Hayes was convicted of capital felony and three counts of murder by a jury that heard eight days of gruesome testimony about the July 2007 attacks on Jennifer Hawke-Petit and her daughters, 17-year-old Hayley and 11-year-old Michaela.
The verdict triggers a second phase of the trial, in which the same jurors will decide if Hayes should be executed or face life in prison. Hayes was convicted of 16 counts and acquitted of a single count—arson. Hayes' defense admitted to his involvement but blamed his co-defendant, Joshua Komisarjevsky, for being the aggressor. Authorities say Komisarjevsky, who faces trial next year, spotted the mother and her two daughters at a supermarket, followed them to their Cheshire home, then returned later with Hayes.