A Connecticut man was condemned to death today for a night of terror inside a suburban home in which Jennifer Hawke-Petit was strangled and her two daughters tied to their beds, doused in gasoline, and left to die in a fire. Jurors in New Haven Superior Court voted unanimously to send Steven Hayes to death row after deliberating over the span of four days. The judge will impose the sentence.
Hayes looked straight ahead and had no obvious reaction as the jury's sentence was announced. He will join nine other men on Connecticut's death row. The state has only executed one man since 1960, so Hayes will likely spend years, if not decades, in prison. His attorneys had tried to avoid the death penalty by calling the co-defendant, Joshua Komisarjevsky, the mastermind behind the 2007 crime and saying he escalated the violence. Komisarjevsky will be tried next year. Watch Hawke-Petit's husband respond to the sentence—he says there's no closure—here. (Read more Steven Hayes stories.)