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Closing arguments made in Connecticut home invasion case

From Swetha Iyengar, In Session
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Jury to get home invasion case
  • NEW: Court is adjourned until Monday
  • 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) -- Closing arguments were made Friday in the trial of Steven Hayes, the man accused of killing three members of a Connecticut family in a 2007 home invasion.

Jurors are expected to begin deliberations as early as midday Monday.

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.

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.

Prosecutor Michael Dearington laid out an elaborate timeline of events, fully implicating both Hayes and Komisarjevsky in the gruesome killings.

Video: Death penalty for Petit murders?
Video: Woman remembers slain sister

"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."

Earlier in the week, a trial witness -- a Connecticut prison officer -- testified that 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.

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 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 by asking for guily verdicts on all 17 counts.

"Justice demands it," Dearington said.

CNN's Michael Christian contributed to this report.