— Petit Family Photo —
On July 22nd, 2007 Jennifer Hawke-Petit and 11-year-old Michaela Petit shopped at a local supermarket (stop and shop) for a meal they planned to cook for dinner that night. Michaela loved watching cooking shows and planned to cook dinner that night, unbeknownst to them, they had been targeted by Komisarjevsky, who spotted them walking to there car. He determined they had ‘money’ because of the kind of vehicle Jennifer Hawk Petit owned, which was a brand new SUV. Komisarjevsky also took a perverted liking to Michaela, the youngest victim. He followed them home, and planned to later rob the family by home invasion. He texted Hayes shortly after, letting him know that he had found the perfect house to rob later that night. Anticipating their deeds, Hayes and Komisarjevsky exchanged text messages that were later introduced in court. Hayes first messaged Komisarjevsky: “I’m chomping at the bit to get started. Need a margarita soon”. Hayes then texts: “We still on?” Komisarjevsky replies “Yes”. Hayes’ next text asks, “Soon?”, to which Komisarjevsky replied with “I’m putting the kid to bed hold your horses”. Hayes then asserts “Dude, the horses want to get loose. LOL.”
During the late night hours of July 23rd, 2007 both Hayes and Komisarjevsky made there way to the Petit’s Cheshire home, which was the last house on the street. They parked there car and turned the headlights off and got out with little hesitation. Both were dressed in dark clothing they walked threw the Petit Families yard, peeping in the windows, a hobby Komisarjevsky thoroughly enjoyed. (Komisarjevsky was a ”Peeping Tom” ever since he was a young child. He confessioned to Investigators that he even owned a pair of night vision goggles, although the true owner could of been one of the many victims of Komisarjevsky’s robberies.. He stated he would stalk out his victims and then come back to rob them while they slept in there rooms. He loved the adrenaline rush it gave him, knowing he could get away with pulling a home invasion while the owners were home. He would then take pictures of each family he robbed. Which in the end, made it easier for Investigators to tie home to Unsolved Home Invasions.)
According to Hayes’ confession, the two men planned to rob the house and flee the scene with the family bound and unharmed. Hayes attributed the outcome of the spree to a change in their plan. Upon their early morning arrival, they found William Petit sleeping on a couch on the porch.With a bat Komisarjevsky had found in the yard, he bludgeoned William and then restrained him in the basement at gun point. Michaela was sleeping in her Parents bed with her Mother, something she did quite often. They were woken up, Michaela was taken to her own room and tied to her bed by Komisarjevsky while Hayes tied up Jennifer Petit. Komisarjevsky then went and tied up Haley Petit, Michaela’s older sister. Hayes says he and Komisarjevsky were not satisfied with their haul, and that a bankbook was found which had an available balance. Hayes convinced Jennifer to withdraw $15,000 from her line of credit. A gas station’s video surveillance shows Hayes purchasing $10 worth of gasoline in two cans he had taken from the Petit home. After returning to the house, and unloading the gas, he took her to the bank. (The prosecution later entered this as evidence of premeditation.) Komisarjevsky stayed back to keep an eye on the home.
The bank surveillance cameras captured the transaction which shows Hawke-Petit in the morning of July 23 as she informed the teller of her situation. Jennifer Petit, being the kind, wonderful, loving Mother she is, asked the bank teller to draw out even more money. She thought that by doing this, they would just take the money and leave her family alone. She believed thats all they wanted and she was willing to go back out there, give it, and go back home, to protect and save her family. Even though she had a chance to run free.
The teller then called 911 and reported the details to police. Hawke-Petit left the bank, was picked up by Hayes, who had escorted her there, and drove away. These actions were reported to the 911 dispatcher and recorded in real time. The teller stated that Hawke-Petit had indicated the assailants were “being nice”, and she believed they only wanted money.
The Cheshire police response to the bank tellers’ “urgent bid” began with assessing the situation and setting up a vehicle perimeter.These preliminary measures employed by the police exhausted more than half an hour and provided the time used by the assailants to conclude their modified plan.
During this time, Hayes and Komisarjevsky escalated the aggravated nature of their crimes. Komisarjevsky sexually assaulted the 11-year-old daughter, Michaela. Komisarjevsky, who had photographed the sexual assault of the youth on his cell phone, then provoked Hayes to rape Hawke-Petit. While Hayes was raping Hawke-Petit on the floor of her living room, Komisarjevsky entered the room announcing that William Petit had escaped. Hayes then strangled Hawke-Petit, doused her lifeless body and parts of the house including the daughters’ rooms with gasoline. The daughters, while tied to their beds, had both been doused with gasoline; each had her head covered with a pillowcase.A fire was then ignited, and Hayes and Komisarjevsky fled the scene. 17-year-old Hayley and 11-year-old Michaela both died from smoke inhalation.
William Petit had been able to free himself, escape his confines, and call to a neighbor for help.The neighbor indicated that he did not recognize Petit, due to the severity of Petit’s injuries. In court testimony, William Petit stated that he felt a “jolt of adrenaline” coupled with a need to escape upon hearing one of the perpetrators state: “Don’t worry, it’s going to be all over in a couple of minutes.” Petit then told the jury, “I thought, it’s now or never because in my mind at that moment, I thought they were going to shoot all of us.”
Hayes and Komisarjevsky attempted to fled the scene using the Petit family car but by then Police were swarming the neiborhood. They were immediately spotted by police surveillance, pursued by police, apprehended, and arrested one block away.The whole invasion lasted seven hours. Police later stated that the baseball cap that Hayes was wearing at the time of the arrest, was Haley Petits.