Tonight, HBO will be airing the The Cheshire Murders, an in-depth look inside the grisly, tragic murders that occurred in MY HOMETOWN. Yep, I’m from Cheshire, where 6 years ago a wife and her two young daughters were brutally murdered inside their own home, the result of a terrifying home invasion by two buddies from a halfway house, who stalked the family and followed them inside the house one evening.
In case you are unfamiliar with the incident, here is a summary of events from the amazing Buzzfeed.com website, in an article published today and written by reporter Jessica Testa. Warning, this will not be pleasant reading.
“On July 22, 2007, Komisarjevsky followed 48-year-old nurse Jennifer Hawke-Petit and her youngest daughter from a grocery store back to their stately home in Cheshire, the quaint “bedding plant capital of Connecticut.” Hours later, Komisarjevsky broke into the house with Hayes. They beat and bound Hawke-Petit’s husband, Dr. William Petit, and tied the couple’s 11- and 17-year-old daughters to their beds. When morning came, Hayes took Hawke-Petit to the bank and she withdrew $15,000. Hawke-Petit was able to alert a bank teller, who called 911.
Komisarjevsky, meanwhile, sexually assaulted the Petits’ 11-year-old and took photos of her on his cell phone. Hayes returned with Hawke-Petit and raped her on the floor of the living room.
Moments later, when Komisarjevsky learned that Dr. Petit had escaped from the basement, Hayes strangled Hawke-Petit and doused the house — and the beds of the two tied-up girls — in gasoline. As the house went up in flames, Komisarjevsky and Hayes fled. They were arrested moments later by police, who had arrived at the home following the bank teller’s call. Dr. Petit was the only survivor.
The images and details released during the trials of Steven Hayes and Joshua Komisarjevsky were so gruesome that the state felt compelled to offer jurors assistance with post-traumatic stress. Hayes, now 50, was found guilty of six capital felonies related to the murders and sentenced to death in 2010. Joshua Komisarjevsky, now 32, received the same sentence in 2012. They are among the 10 men left on death row in Connecticut, which repealed capital punishment for all future cases last year.
Hawke-Petit’s family, including her surviving husband, was clear about wanting the death penalty for Hayes and Komisarjevsky from the beginning — something deeply explored in The Cheshire Murders. But as the family moves toward closure — if closure is even possible after such a loss— they still wait for answers from the Cheshire Police Department, which has so far ignored their serious attempts to learn more about the events of the night.”
Well, all I know is that Cheshire PD were really good at pulling over teenage drivers and busting awesome parties.
Investigative crime reporting is highly entertaining and should make for a dynamic documentary, especially when paired with interviews with grieving family members. However, I personally will not be watching. It’s a devastating event that left a heinous black mark on my hometown and would not make for a fun night in front of the TV for me. I much prefer the idea of watching a rerun of Mike and Molly.
Some good news: Mr. Petit is remarried to a lovely photographer, Christine, 20 years his junior. Nice work! They were married in August 2012. Petit now runs the Petit Family Foundation, http://www.petitfamilyfoundation.org/.
The Cheshire Murders, HBO, 9 pm