So the horde of zombies, ex-convict raiders and city refugees are nowhere to be found yet things like these happen.
Yet for Dr. William A. Petit Jr. , his tragedy is of epic proportions none the less. Waking up to a terrible pain in the head and something wet dripping down his face, he was surprised in his home by home invaders. The man was tied in the basement, his wife Jennifer and 11-year old daughter Michaela raped. Both of them along with his second 17 year old daughter died when they were left tied to the beds, gasoline poured around them and set on fire.
Dr. William A. Petit Jr. barely managed to jump out of the flaming house and save his life.
This happened to a prominent Connecticut doctor, folks. It happened in an high end community, not some ghetto full of junkies.
Dr. William Petit Takes the Stand, Tells of His Family's Slaughter
Pleasant Day Ends With Rapes, Beating, Two Men Setting Conn. Home AblazeSept. 14, 2010In dramatic testimony, a prominent Connecticut doctor described how he was beaten in his sleep and woke up face-to-face with two men who sexually assaulted, tortured and killed his wife and two daughters in a brutal home invasion.
Dr. William Petit, who took the stand Tuesday at the trial of one of the men accused of murdering his family, was the sole survivor of the 2007 attack. He told the court for the first time how Steven Hayes, along with co-defendant Joshua Komisarjevsky, allegedly broke into his Cheshire home, raped his wife and one of his daughters and set the house on fire.
After describing a pleasant Sunday leading up to the murder, Petit then told of a night of horror, beginning with the severe beating he suffered as he slept.
He said that around 3 a.m., "I remember I awoke in a daze thinking or feeling ow, ow, ow. ... Something warm was running down the front of my face. ... I saw two people standing in front of the sofa. ... (a) person who was walking said if he moves put two bullets in him."
Petit said the men bound his wrists and ankles with rope and plastic ties, and covered his face, then took him down to the basement, where they tied him to a pole. He said he went in and out of consciousness.
Upstairs in the house were Petit's wife, Jennifer Hawke-Petit and the couple's two daughters, Hayley, 17, and Michaela, 11.
"I heard moaning and thumps. I may have yelled out, 'Hey!' Then he said he heard someone upstairs say, 'You are alright, don't worry it's going to be all over in a couple minutes.' It was a different tone, it was much more sinister," he testified.
Petit said he did not know the fate of his wife and daughters, but said he heard his wife in the kitchen tell one of the attackers she needed to change clothes and get a checkbook. She went to a local bank early that Monday morning and withdrew $15,000.
"I felt a major jolt of adrenaline and thought it's now or never. In my mind, at that moment, I thought they were going to shoot all of us," he said.
He then described his dramatic escape: how he managed to free his hands, and hop up the stairs, falling at least once, then finally making his way out the door.
"My heart felt like it was beating 200 beats per minute," he said, "like it was going to explode out of my chest."
Somehow, he crawled, then rolled to a neighbor's house. Doctors said later Petit had lost as much as seven pints of blood. He said his neighbor didn't even recognize him at first, because he was so bloody.
Then the neighbor called 911.
But it was too late for his wife and daughters.
The dramatic testimony followed the opening statements Monday of State's Attorney Michael Dearington and Public Defender Thomas Ullmann as Hayes' trial began in New Haven Superior Court.
Ullmann noted that Hayes told police that things "got out of control," and that Hayes' co-defendant Komisarjevsky said no one was supposed to get hurt, The Associated Press reported. Komisarjevsky is awaiting trial.
"It has been a very painful process to get to this day," Johanna Petit Chapman, Dr. Petit's sister, said outside court on Monday. "And although the pain will never end, we think of Jennifer, Hayley and Michaela every second of every day."
Petit and Hawke-Petit lived what seemed like a charmed life in an upscale neighborhood. Hayley, who was planning to attend Dartmouth College, was hoping to become a doctor and follow in her father's footsteps. Hawke-Petit had multiple sclerosis and the family was active in efforts to raise money to fight the disease.
In July 2007, authorities said Komisarjevsky followed Jennifer Hawke-Petit and her two daughters from a grocery store, returning later with Hayes.
Hayes, 47, was accused of sexually assaulting and strangling Hawke-Petit. Komisarjevsky, 30, is charged with sexually assaulting Michaela. The two allegedly tied Michaela and Hayley to their beds, poured gasoline on and around them and set the house on fire, killing them.
Hayes and Komisarjevsky fled the burning home in the family's car and were caught after ramming several police cruisers, authorities said.
Former New York Supreme Court judge Leslie Crocker Snyder said on "Good Morning America" today that Petit's words could provide the most powerful testimony of the entire trial.
"I've never seen a case like this," she said. "I just can't imagine what he's going to go through."
Both defendants have offered to plead guilty in exchange for life sentences. But prosecutors, seeking the death penalty for both, pushed for trials, defense attorneys said, forcing the state to revisit the unsettling crime and its lone survivor to relive it in the courtroom.
"We've already seen that the defense attorney for this particular defendant has already conceded most of the facts," Snyder said.
In a case like this one, she said, Hayes' attorney will likely seek to separate his client from Komisarjevsky and play up any aspect of his behavior that might garner sympathy from the jurors "to show that his client was less culpable, which is almost inconceivable in this set of facts."
Hayes' trial was delayed significantly after he was put into a medically induced coma following a suicide attempt earlier this year.
After a recent court hearing, Petit said he welcomed hearing the names of his wife and daughters in court.
"Most of the process tends to be one of depersonalization," Petit said. "I was actually pleased to hear their names to show it was personal, they were people, living people. They can't be there to give their side of the events."
Another drama, this one involving the jury, unfolded in the courtroom Tuesday, as Petit completed his trial testimony. One of the jurors complained out loud to the judge that he felt the prosecution was doing a poor job of presenting the evicence.
The juror said he was "confused by the presentation of the state's case and bewildered by what seems to be lack of preparation. ...The evidence being presented to us has no explanation and no contextualization. It's as though the state expects jurors to have prior knowledge of this case."
Superior Court Judge Jon Blue said he had never seen an outburst like that in 21 years on the bench. He compared it to going to the Boston Marathon and at the half-mile marker having someone complain about how the race was being run. Blue granted a prosecution motion to dismiss the juror.
On Monday, two other jurors told the judge they couldn't be fair or bear to see the graphic evidence photos, according to the AP. With today's dismissal, three alternate jurors remain on the panel.
If Hayes is convicted, the same panel will weigh his fate in the penalty phase. Once the Hayes' case is finished, Komisarjevsky's trial will be scheduled.
We live with nightmares such as this one happening here on daily basis. We understand it could happen to any of us any day, no matter how bright the sun shines, no matter how distracted we may be.
You guys are clearly not used to this. Its obvious because you don’t have serious locks in your doors, some don’t even close the door. Americans leave the back door opened, or with a little lock that could easily be broken with a screwdriver.
These incidents will continue to occur and become more and more common until you’re no longer worried about what you read online: You’re scared to death of what happened to your neighbor. Pray, it never happens to you.
This is why this blog concentrates so much on security during “normal” times instead of lala fantasies of shooting bad guys with your neighbor patrol while the wife and kids are safely tucked home. The battleground will be your living room with your wife and small kids spread all over it.
The only way to prepare for this is to take action now. Being serious about how pathetic your house may be security wise. Can your door be kicked down easily? Unless its specifically made not to, it can. Solid wood breaks none the less. As solid as your door may look, unless its reinforced with soldered steel on the inside , the hinges and doorknob along with the lock will fly along with wood chips and splinters when kicked or forced with a prybar.
I’m not even going to get into opened windows and the little weak locks some of them have.
You’re the only one that can do something about it when these things happen. There’s no 911, no cops, its just you. That’s why you must be armed as part of your normal daily life and be skillful enough in the use of the weapon. Some thieves run when the 17 year old daughter chases them out of the house with a saucepan. You read about that and then “experts” talk for hours about how attitude is enough. Not it isn’t. It may be enough for some scareful pothead looking to make a few bucks for his net fix. The serious criminal will fight, and fight to win. The serious criminal will take the saucepan away from this 17 year old, rape her and kill her along with the rest of the family. You better be well armed, trained and determined. Here’s where training, caliber and ammo capacity comes into play. You’re in enough disadvantage as it is, dealing with multiple armed attackers. You don’t want a little .22 or 5-shot snubby to deal with 3 armed degenerates in your house in a fight to the death for your life and the life of your loved ones. You only have a chance if you are armed. This is why your handgun must be always with you. Make it part of your clothing, up to the point where you feel something’s missing if you put on pants and the gun isn’t there in its holster. You get used to it if you make the effort.
In Argentina we fully understand that these monsters are out there every day, doing this all day long as a way of life. They will chew your life to pieces and spit out what’s left.
Your response must be aggressive and decisive. There’s no negotiating no word-fu with home invaders, you just shoot them and keep shooting until they are no longer a threat.
Your home security and self defense capabilities must be cemented together with an always on state of awareness. This is something you gain like it or not when living in a dangerous society. My 86 year old grandma isn’t armed, but she minimizes risks as much as possible. There’s lot of people here that utterly fail at being able to defend themselves but are very cautious when entering and exiting their homes, either through the front door or when parking in the garage, improving their general home security, installing alarms, burglar bars and security reinforced doors. Never opening the door to strangers, not hanging around the front door where they could be easily forced inside quickly by intruders. The constant state or awareness, being conscious of your surroundings, the people within your immediate perimeter and being on the lookout for potential threats is the only effective way to turn the surprise factor against these scumbags. If that day ever comes, you should come upon them like a lion. For that you must be armed at all times, trained and determined to unleash aggressive retaliation.
Sounds crazy, right? Who wants to live like that? Well, in a few years you either learn to live this way or increase your chances tenfold of becoming another tragic crime story posted online. Its time to decide.