The trial of Steven Hayes, who was found guilty on 16 of 17 counts related to the home invasion, torture and murder of a Connecticut doctor's family, has entered the death-penalty phase this week. His lawyers revealed today that Hayes has a "persistent desire to kill himself," and has attempted to do so several times before and after the July 2007 triple murder.
According to Dr. Paul Amble, a Yale University professor of psychiatry who conducted a four hour evaluation of Hayes earlier this year, Hayes tried to commit suicide multiple times prior to the attack, by crashing his car and cutting himself, among other things. Since he has been incarcerated for the Petit family murders, he's tried to kill himself on several occasions: in October 2007, prison authorities found 20 pills that Hayes had hoarded in his cell, and in January 2009 puncture wounds on his left forearm were spotted. In January, Hayes "ingested a toxic level of thorazine," an anti-psychotic drug that Amble testified Hayes was not prescribed. And in August, just a month before his trial was slated to begin, Hayes tried to overdose on Ibuprofin, according to Amble.
Earlier in the week, jurors heard testimony from several acquaintances and friends of Hayes, using what the Post calls "sympathetic, sense-defying superlatives" to describe the convicted killer. A social worker described Hayes as "fragile," an ex-sheriff called him "a real klutz of a criminal," and a restaurant owner called him likable and "funny." Defense lawyers may have scraped the bottom of the barrel when a real estate agent described him as "polite." Jurors also heard Hayes' own words, in diary entries from his crack cocaine drug-program self-evaluation: "Drugs are not my main problem—I am my main problem. I am on a spiritual journey. I'm just beginning to know the new me, the real me."