Timeline of a crime


The scene pictured is that of a small lake near Cheshire, Connecticut. It is a peaceful quiet view of part of a peaceful, almost bucolic area of Connecticut. The items under discussion in that sleepy town range from the work of a local artist to the farmers’ market at Spring Glen church. It is a microcosm of small town America, and those words are definitely not used in any belittling sense, but rather as an acknowledgment of America’s strengths. But Cheshire was also the scene of a violent invasion of a family home which ended in the deaths of four members of that family.

As a police officer approached the home of the Petit family in Cheshire, Conn., on the morning of July 23, 2007, two men ran from the scene as flames poured out of the house. They were quickly apprehended.

When officers returned to the house they found Dr. William A. Petit Jr., 50, who had been severely beaten, and the bodies of his wife, Jennifer Hawke-Petit, 48, and their daughters, Hayley, 17, and Michaela, 11. The police said that the victims had been tied up in separate rooms, and that Ms. Hawke-Petit and one of the daughters were sexually assaulted before the house was set on fire.

Stephen Hayes was sentenced to death last year for his part in these crimes, but the focus of the judicial process now swings to Joshua  Komisarjevsky. Having been found guilty of capital felony killing, kidnapping, arson and sexual assault, the jury must now determine whether he face the death sentence, or long years in prison.

The reason why I write of this crime which shattered a family, and left a husband and father in morning for his wife and daughters, brutalized, raped, strangled and finally burnt is that it was mentioned on the BBC Today Programme as evidence that Connecticut still retains the Death Penalty, and how abhorrent that is to most ‘progressive thinking’ people! I sometimes wonder if any BBC employee has ever looked beyond the pearlescent skies of the world they alone seem to inhabit, and get down into the grubby and sometimes violent world where the rest of us live?

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