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Johanna Petit Chapman called the crimes the “very definition of cruel, heinous, and depraved.”
Cynthia Hawke Renn admitted that there is “no escaping the horror of that night.”
Dr. William Petit, the lone survivor of the attack on his family on a summer night in July 2007 — a night that would end with the murder of his wife and two daughters — talked of how he would never again see the “twinkle” in the eye of his youngest daughter.
On Friday morning, Jan. 27, murderer Joshua Komisarjevsky was officially sentenced in New Haven Superior Court. The sentence had already been determined by a jury of his peers in late 2011, when it recommended he receive the death penalty for his part in the murders of Cheshire residents Jennifer Hawke-Petit and her daughters, Hayley, 17, and Michaela, 11, during a home invasion. Before the sentencing, much of the buzz centered around Komisarjevsky, who was expected to speak in public for the first time since the murders. However, it was the emotional testimony from family members, left to deal with the strain of having lost loved ones, that took up most of the morning session.
Several relatives of the victims talked about how the murders had affected them.
Chapman explained that, after the death of Hawke-Petit and the two daughters, her 90-year old grandmother “would sit in her chair and cry.”
William Petit, Sr., who broke down into tears several times during his comments, stated that the family “had lost the Bill we knew,” in regards to his son.
Others attacked the defense team for Komisarjevsky, which had pointed to the presence of the family at virtually every court proceeding as being detrimental to Komisarjevsky's ability to receive a fair trial.
Rev. Richard Hawke, Jennifer Hawke-Petit's father, after admitting that, being a man of the cloth, he never expected to have to preside over the funerals of his daughter and grandchildren, lashed out at Komisarjevsky's lawyers for calling the family a “posse” and stated that they had “belittled us.”
Dr. William Petit's comments took on a familiar and somber tone. He spoke about each member of his family lost, stating that he misses the “late-night chats” with his wife, mentioned how he had never seen his daughter Hayley mad “once in her life,” and how Michaela, whom he called KK, was a “jewel.”
Petit called the July 2007 home invasion “my own personal holocaust.”
When the family had finally finished, it was Komisarjevsky's turn. The convicted murderer stated that it was a “surreal experience” being convicted to die. He acknowledged that few had expressed a desire to hear from him at the sentencing, but insisted that he “had a family too” which had “committed no crime.”
Komisarjevsky reiterated what his defense team had claimed from the start, that he did not intend to kill anyone that night, and stated that he will have to “learn to forgive my worst enemy — myself.”
He finished with an obvious attack on the death penalty: “I wonder when the killing will end. When will enough be enough.”
Judge Jon Blue carried out the sentence, saying that it was “terrible” but that Komisarjevsky had “written it for yourself.”
Then, with the familiar “May God have mercy on your soul,” Blue concluded the proceedings, scheduling the execution for July 20 of this year, which would be three days shy of the five-year anniversary of the murders. However, the execution is pending appeals, which normally takes years to complete.
For more on the sentencing of Joshua Komisarjevsky, see next weeks Cheshire Herald.