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Hang ‘Em High

If there were ever beings that deserved to have the switch pulled, it is Joshua Komisarjevsky and Steven Hayes who were convicted of murdering the wife and children of Dr. William Petit after a 2007 invasion in their Connecticut home.

It began when they spotted Jennifer Hawke- Petit, 48, and her daughters, Hayley, 17, and Michaela, 11 at a market, figured they had money and followed them home and returned the next day.  They broke in early in the morning and shot the doctor, beat him and tied him up and put him in the basement.

They then made Hawke- Petit go to the bank and withdraw $15,00 with the promise that they would leave once they had the money.  After returning home, they tied her up and raped and strangled her, then tied her daughters to their beds and Hayes raped the youngest child while Komisarjevsky took pictures on his cell phone.  Afterwards, they doused the women and the house with gasoline, lit a match and fled.  Unbeknownst to them, Dr. Petit was still alive and had crawled through the basement window and to get help.  Barely recognizing him, a neighbor called the police who arrived half an hour later.

Like any good state-appointed employee, their lawyers argued the same old defense, that they were damaged after being abused as children.  Let’s face it.  We all have damages, but that isn’t an excuse to harm others because we also have free will.  Oprah Winfrey was sexually abused as a child, Lady Gaga was taunted by her classmates and dumped in a garbage can and Steven Spielberg was taunted with anti-Semitic slurs by his peers and submerged in water where he could have drowned.  They could have taken a different path and become like their tormentors, but instead they summoned their inner strength and resources and enriched and empowered not only themselves but many others in the process.

They say that an eye for an eye, a tooth for a tooth will make the world blind and toothless or that two wrongs don’t make a right, but it isn’t about that; it’s about bringing justice to the victims and their families.  Or that keeping the felons alive is cheaper due to the appeal process, but there is the expense of fostering something that only lives to destroy and the appeal process can be shortened.  Or they argue that jail is a worse punishment, but there they not only get state-paid room and board but another day, which is something their victims never got.

Hayes, 48, wanted the death penalty, though his lawyer argued that because it was what (he said) he wanted, then life in prison would have been worse because he is remorseful and would have the rest of his life to think about what he did, but he didn’t seem so remourseful while he was snuffing the lives and dignity out of Jennifer Hawke-Petit and her daughters.  Besides, if he wanted to die that much, then he could have taken his own life instead.

Hayes smiled when the jury gave him the death penalty, and if Komisarjevsky, 31, suffers the same fate, then the state of Connecticut would be treating them rather well, considering.