Disturbing Evidence Intensifies Murder Trial
Graphic testimony about the murder of brave mom Jennifer Petit and her two daughters was too gruesome even for one of the alleged killers.
47-year-old Steven Hayes suffered a seizure in his cell after listening in court to the horrific details of the massacre. The trial was abandoned for the day because of Hayes condition.
Legal analyst Tara Knight said, "The courtroom was in absolute silence as the photos of the charred bodies of the two young girls and of the mom were shown to the jurors. Dr. Petit was so emotional watching the jurors absorb the horror, that he actually broke down in tears."
Dr. William Petit said he has been bouyed from messages of support from across America.
"We have a lot of support and would like to thank friends and people from all over the state and all over the country for their notes and texts and emails," said Dr. Petit.
There's worldwide attention being given to the just released surveillance video showing 48-year-old Jennifer Petit withdrawing $15,000 from her local bank while Hayes waits outside in her SUV.
She tells the bank manager she needs ransom money because her family is being held hostage. The manager then calls 911.
Bank Manager: "We have a lady who is in our bank right now who says that her husband and children are being held at their house. If the police are told they will kill the children and the husband. She says they are being very nice. They have their faces covered. She is petrified."
911 Operator: Her husband and family?
Bank manager: They're tied up.
When Jennifer Petit returned home with the money, prosecutors say Hayes and his alleged accomplice Joshua Komisarjevsky went on an orgy of unimaginable violence.
Jennifer was raped and strangled. Her daughters Hayley, 17, and Michaela, 11, were sexually assaulted and the house set on fire with gasoline.
The sole survivor was Dr. William Petit, tied to a bloody pole in the basement. He was able to escape to a neighbor's home. A picture shows his horrific head injuries from being beaten with a baseball bat.
The neighbor called 911.
Caller: I got Bill Petit here, who's hurt. My neighbor.
911 Operator: He's at your house?
Caller: Yes, he's right here.
Police were still setting up positions outside the house, unaware of the nightmare unfolding inside.
INSIDE EDITION's Paul Boyd reports from the trial.
At one point during the heart-wrenching testimony, a defense attorney criticized the police department's response time, suggesting that officers failed to act quickly enough because they waited outside the family home. A full 33 minutes passed between the first 911 call and when police entered the house. But the Petit family has never been critical of police efforts, saying that there is no one to blame except the two men accused of the horrific murders.
But Nancy Grace, the host of the new court show Swift Justice, pulled no punches on Good Morning America.
Robin Roberts said, "They were just following what you normally do in a hostage."
Grace said, "To h-e-l-l with procedure. That's what I have to say this morning!"
The house of horrors no longer exists. It was demolished. And what's there today is a simple garden created by Dr Petit in memory of his slain wife and daughters, with a heart-rending dedication—Three Angels.