Home / National News / Petit Family Killer: 'I Just Snapped' … 'I Don't Deserve to Live'


(NEW HAVEN, Conn.) — The sister of Jennifer Hawke-Petit, who was killed along with her daughters during a violent Connecticut home invasion in 2007, said Monday that an interview given by one of the killer’s this weekend was a “sad” attempt to “try and draw attention from the public.”

Cindy Hawke Renn criticized Steven Hayes for the interview he gave to the New Haven Register, published Sunday, in which he talked about the day he and Joshua Komisarjevsky raped, beat, and ultimately killed three members of the Petit family in their home.

“I feel like for both the perpetrators, for our family…nothing that they say is helpful. I have said publicly that if it helps them to say that they’re sorry then maybe that’s a good thing for them, but it really doesn’t help us,” Hawke Renn said.

Hayes, 50, and Joshua Komisarjevsky, 33, were convicted and sentenced to death for the robbery-turned-killing spree that took place at the home of William Petit and Jennifer Hawke-Petit in July 2007. Petit survived the attack, but Hawke-Petit and the couple’s daughters, Michaela, 11, and Hayley, 17, were killed.

Hayes said in the interview that the attack began as a straightforward robbery. He kidnapped Hawke-Petit and took her to the bank, demanding she withdraw $15,000 for Hayes and Komisarjevsky.

“I just wanted money. That’s all I was looking for,” Hayes told the Register. “At that point, we were just going to leave. Nobody was going to get hurt — at least not by me.”

Hayes said in the interview that he doesn’t deserve to live and thinks about the victims all the time, and that he still doesn’t understand how the robbery spun out of control.

“To this day, I don’t know why it happened,” Hayes said.

But the day grew exponentially more violent after Hayes and Hawke-Petit returned home, according to Hayes’ interview. There, William Petit was violently beaten and tied up in the basement while his wife and daughters were sexually assaulted and tied down upstairs. Hayes said the day took the violent turn after Komisjarvesky confessed to sexually assaulting the Petit’s youngest daughter, Michaela. Hayes then raped and strangled Hawke-Petit, he said.

“Josh told me about him and the girl,” he said in the report. “I started to lose it. Then I looked out the window and saw an unmarked police car. And I just snapped. I wasn’t thinking right; I don’t know what I was thinking. It was so unlike me. I’d never done anything like that.”

While the girls were tied to their beds, Hayes and Komisarjevsky poured gasoline all over the house and, according to Hayes, Komisarjevsky lit a match.

“As far as who lit the match, it seems like the truth of that will never come out, and I don’t think for any of us it really matters at this point,” Hawke Renn said. “Neither one of them stopped what happened.”

“I think it is sad that they’re in prison and they look for anything they can find to try and draw attention from the public, and I don’t think people care what they have to say or wish to express and don’t care to give them any more attention. And I don’t either,” she said.

Hayes said he thinks about the murders constantly in prison, where he sits on death row. He said he regrets the murders and will never forgive himself for them, but that he would have little to say to Petit now except to answer his questions about the day.

“I don’t deserve to live,” he said. “I don’t want to live.”

“I don’t think there could be anything beyond what happened in court room that we have questions about,” Hawke Renn said in response to Hayes’ offer to answer questions.

Hayes is now suing the Connecticut Department of Corrections for denying him basic medical care and inflicting psychological abuse, a claim that the DOC denies.

Dr. William Petit attended every day of both men’s trials and recently remarried. He and his wife are expecting a child. He did not immediately respond to requests for comment.

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