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Testimony ends in Connecticut home invasion case

From Swetha Iyengar, In Session
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Jury to get home invasion case
  • NEW: Closing arguments are scheduled to begin Friday
  • Hayes is on trial for the murder of a mother and two daughters
  • He has pleaded not guilty
  • Suspects allegedly made the mother withdraw money, then set her family's house on fire

(CNN) -- Testimony in the trial of Steven Hayes, the man accused of killing three members of a Connecticut family in a 2007 home invasion, ended Tuesday.

Hayes, 47, who has entered a plea of not guilty, is currently on trial in New Haven, Connecticut, for the murders of Jennifer Hawke-Petit and her two daughters.

Closing arguments in the case are set to start Friday.

The killings took place in the New Haven suburb of Cheshire in the early hours of July 23, 2007. The home of Dr. William Petit, his wife Jennifer Hawke-Petit and two daughters was invaded in the middle of the night by Hayes and co-defendant Joshua Komisarjevsky, prosecutors say. Komisarjevsky will be tried separately.

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Tuesday, a trial witnesses -- a Connecticut prison officer -- testified he overheard Hayes confess to another inmate that he killed Hawke-Petit. Hayes also reportedly wondered out loud whether Petit might have been in cahoots with his co-defendant, Komisarjevsky, because Petit had been able to escape.

Hayes said he had tied the father in the basement of the home himself, and that he doubted he could have gotten loose without help from Komisarjevsky, the witness -- Jeremiah Krob -- testified Hayes said.

Outside the courthouse, Petit told reporters: "I really can't dignify that insinuation with a response. I think the evidence put on by the prosecution speaks for itself."

Connecticut State Police Det. Anthony Buglione, who interviewed Hayes following the incident, has testified the duo beat Petit bloody and left him in the basement.

The two men then went upstairs and found Hawke-Petit and 11-year old Michaela Petit asleep in the master bedroom.

After tying Hawke-Petit to her bed, they led the girl to her room, tied her to her bed and put a pillowcase over her head, Hayes told Buglione.

They then found 17-year old Hayley Petit in her room and did the same, he said.

After finding a Bank of America account that contained $20,000 to $30,000, they decided to have the mother go to the bank in the morning and withdraw money from her account, Buglione testified.

Hayes is accused of taking Hawke-Petit to the bank while Komisarjevsky allegedly stayed behind. When Hayes and Hawke-Petit returned with the money, the two men allegedly set the home on fire and fled.

Inside the home, authorities said, Hawke-Petit, 48, was found raped and strangled. Her two daughters, one of whom had been sexually assaulted, had died of smoke inhalation.

Petit was the sole survivor. He managed to escape and go to a neighbor's home.

Hayes is charged with capital murder, kidnapping, sexual assault, burglary and arson. He could face the death penalty if convicted.

Public defender Thomas Ullmann conceded in the defense's opening statement that Hayes killed Hawke-Petit. But otherwise, he said, much of what happened is unclear.

"No one was supposed to be hurt," he said. "What is known is that Steven Hayes kills and assaults Mrs. Petit. ... We concede much, but not all."

In a police interview, Hayes said that his life "sucked and that he had no money, no car, and not enough to eat."

CNN's Michael Christian contributed to this report.