After a day and a half of deliberations, a jury found Steven Hayes guilty on 16 of 17 counts related to the 2007 home invasion of a Connecticut family that led to the deaths of a mother and her two teen daughters. Hayes will face the death penalty; the Courant reports, "The verdicts set the stage for a penalty phase in which jurors will decide whether Hayes lives or dies. That phase will begin Oct. 18." The survivor, Dr. William Petit, who has been lobbying for the death penalty, said, "We did our best to keep our faith in God that justice would be served."
The harrowing details of Hayes and fellow suspect Joshua Komisarjevsky's plan have been aired over the past few weeks during Hayes' trial (Komisarjevsky is being tried separately; his trial will be next year): The pair, both ex-cons who met at a halfway house, stalked Hawke-Petit and 11-year-old Michaela at a grocery store before breaking into the family's Cheshire home, taking the family hostage, beating Dr. Petit and tying him up in the basement, and forcing Hawke-Petit to go to a bank and withdraw $30,000. Komisarjevsky allegedly sexually assaulted Michaela and insisted that Hayes rape Hawke-Petit to "square things up." Hawke-Petit was strangled and the daughters died from smoke inhalation after the men doused the home with gasoline—which Hayes bought at a local gas station. Petit was able to crawl out of the basement and ask for a neighbor for help.
Here's a list of the charges that Hayes faced, including murder and kidnapping; the only one he was acquitted of was arson. Petit also told reporters today, "There is some relief, but my family is still gone. It doesn’t bring them back. It doesn’t bring back the home that we had.”