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Episode 22: Joshua Komisarjevsky confession

On Sunday, July 22, 2007, 48-year-old Jennifer Hawke-Petit and her 11-year-old daughter Michaela went to a local grocery store near their home in Cheshire, Connecticut, to pick up food for a pre-birthday that Michaela planned to prepare for her mother. During their trip to the grocery store, the two women attracted the attention of 27-year-old Joshua Komisarjevsky, who, along with 44-year-old Stephen Hayes, was looking for someone to rob. Komisarjevky followed the women home, then gave their address to Hayes, who joined him in robbing the house. As Komisarjevky states in his confession, they originally planned to tie up the inhabitants and take their money.

Things went wrong, as Komisarjevky explains, when Hayes unexpectedly encountered Dr. William Petit asleep on the front porch, at which point Komisarjevky hit him on the head with a baseball bat and tied him up at gunpoint in the basement. They then tied up Jennifer, Michaela, and 18-year-old Hayley. When they could only find $10 in the house, they waited until the bank was open, then made Jennifer go and get more money. She asked the bank teller for help, and the teller called 911, but police were unsure of the nature of the crime taking place, and lamentably slow in surrounding the house. They gave Hayes time to go and fill up cans with gasoline, and both men to escalated the nature of their crimes.

As Komisarjevsky admits in his confession, he raped the 11-year-old Michaela (whom her refers to here, the the discomfort of the intervieer, as “Kay Kay”, after hearing her mother refer to her this way; he also calls Jennifer and William Petit “mom” and “dad”). He also photographs the assault on his phone. This provokes Hayes into raping Jennifer. When the men realize William Petit has escaped from the basement, they tie Jennifer up and douse the house with gasoline. The two daughters were tied to their beds and Jennifer tied up downstairs as the house burned down.

Both men blamed on another for the murders. In 2010, Hayes was convicted of the murders and sentenced to death. Komisarjevsky, was found guilty on October 13, 2011, and sentenced to death on January 27, 2012. However, in August 2015, Connecticut abolished the death penalty, and all death sentences were commuted. Hayes and Komisarjevky are both serving life sentences without the possibility of parole.

Listen to the confession here.