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Jury deliberations set to continue in Connecticut home invasion case

From Swetha Iyengar, In Session
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Connecticut home invasion murder trial
  • The jury ended its first day of deliberations without delivering a verdict
  • 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) -- Jurors did not reach a verdict in their first day of deliberations Monday in the trial of Steven Hayes, the man accused of killing three members of a Connecticut family in a 2007 home invasion.

They are expected to resume their work Tuesday morning.

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

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

Video: Jury deciding CT home invasion trial
Video: Death penalty for Petit murders?

Komisarjevsky will be tried separately.

Judge Jon Blue gave instructions Monday morning and told the jury: "You are the sole judges of the facts."

"We're in the home stretch," the judge said after going over all 17 counts with the jury. "No one will hurry you to produce a verdict."

Their first duty will be to pick a foreman, and their verdict must be unanimous, the judge reminded the jurors.

Soon after starting their deliberations, the jurors asked for a transcript of an interview by a state police detective, who spoke to Hayes soon after his arrest. The judge offered to have the testimony read back -- which the jurors declined.

Later in the day, they sent a note to the judge asking for a definition of what constitutes starting a fire.Their deliberations Monday ran just over 2 hours.

Before the jury got the case, prosecutor Michael Dearington laid out an elaborate timeline of events, fully implicating Hayes and Komisarjevsky in the gruesome killings.

"We've reached the point where very shortly this case will be in your hands," he told jurors. "I doubt you could have comprehended how horrendous this evidence would be."

During the trial, Jeremiah Krob, 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 escaped.

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

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 Detective Anthony Buglione, who interviewed Hayes after the crime, has testified the duo beat Petit bloody and left him in the basement.

According to the testimony, 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 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, the sole survivor, escaped 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 Friday's closing arguments, Ullmann placed much of the blame on Hayes' alleged accomplice, Komisarjevsky, whom he called the mastermind of the home invasion.

"Just because the state has brought 17 charges doesn't mean he's guilty of all of them," Ullmann said of Hayes, though he conceded he couldn't explain why his client didn't leave the scene once things began to escalate.

But, he said, "Even in flight, Joshua Komisarjevsky was in control."

Dearington dismissed those statements in his rebuttal, saying Hayes "was part of that whole plan to destroy this family, to take their money and to burn that house down."

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

"Why didn't he leave? He didn't leave because of his desire for money," Dearington said.

He ended his closing statement Friday by asking for guilty verdicts on all 17 counts.

"Justice demands it," Dearington said.

CNN's Michael Christian contributed to this report.