• BREAKING NEWS Shelter in place lifted after prisoner captured

Cheshire home invasion convict found unresponsive in cell

March 11, 2014 7:07:34 AM PDT
Steven Hayes, one of two convicts sentenced to death in a 2007 Connecticut home invasion, was in stable condition Monday after he was found unresponsive earlier in the day in his prison cell, authorities said.

Tom Ullmann, Hayes's attorney, said he heard his client had attempted suicide, but he declined to say who told him. "I think he's under oppressive conditions," he said. "I'm not surprised that he's been driven to this state."

Hayes was alone in his cell at the Northern Correctional Institution in Somers when a routine check by a guard found him unresponsive at 9:35 in the morning. Staff initiated measures to revive him and he was taken by ambulance to a hospital for treatment, Department of Correction officials said.

Department spokesman Andrius Banevicius said he could not provide additional information because there is an ongoing investigation.

Hayes, 50, is on death row for the July 23, 2007, killings of a woman and her two daughters after a night of torment inside their suburban Cheshire home.

Hayes raped and strangled Jennifer Hawke-Petit. Her daughters, Hayley, 17, and Michaela, 11, died of smoke inhalation after they were doused with gasoline and the house was set on fire.

As his trial was getting underway, Hayes was found unconscious in his prison cell after overdosing on prescription medication. In testimony at the trial, Hayes said he had frequently attempted suicide, slashing his wrists, slamming his mother's car into a rock and tying a sock around his neck.

He also told The Hartford Courant in a 2012 interview that he concocted a plan to end his own life by obtaining oysters, to which he is deathly allergic. He said he fabricated claims in letters that he killed 17 people in hopes that prison authorities would notify police and he could then trade information for food, including oysters.

Joshua Komisarjevsky also was convicted and sentenced to death for the home invasion killings.


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