Connecticut Home Invasion Murderers Will Now Live as State Overturns Death Penalty
Two men convicted of murdering a mother and her two daughters in a brutal home invasion will now live - because Connecticut has overturned the death penalty.
The state's Supreme Court declared the death penalty unconstitutional on Thursday.
The court voted 4-3 to overturn executions, sparing the lives of 11 convicts who were on death row when the state abolished capital punishment in 2012.
Two of the state’s most high profile death row convicts include Joshua Komisarjevsky and Steven Hayes, who were sentenced to death for killing members of the Petit family in 2007.
The men entered the Petit home, tied up patriarch William Petit before forcing his wife, Jennifer Hawke-Petit, to withdraw $15,000 from their bank account.
They then raped and strangled Jennifer, 48, and molested her 11-year-old daughter Michaela. They tied Michaela and her sister, Hayley, 17, to their beds and set their home on fire.
The girls died from smoke inhalation. William Petit was the sole survivor after he managed to escape from the basement where he was tied.
Hayes was sentenced in 2010 while Komisarjevsky was sentenced in 2011.
During Hayes’ case, a defense attorney said: “He's happy. That's what he wanted. He wants to die. He can't kill himself, he's tried. The jury gave him what he wants.”
Hayes’ own brother, Matthew, had a written a letter saying that Steven deserved to die.
"There is enough to hang him without any family involvement. As the family of this monster, we all have to live with the nightmares," he wrote.
The court’s decision on Thursday comes after an appeal by one inmate, Eduardo Santiago. His lawyers argued that executions carried out after the state removed the death penalty would represent cruel and unusual punishment.
Santiago was handed the death penalty after being convicted of a murder in West Hartford in 2000.
In 2012, when Connecticut Governor Dannel Malloy signed the bill into law that abolished capital punishment, it became the 17th state to abandon the death penalty.
The Supreme Court ruling stated: "In prospectively abolishing the death penalty, the legislature did not simply express the will of the people that it no longer makes sense to maintain the costly and unsatisfying charade of a capital punishment scheme in which no one ever receives the ultimate punishment.”
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