Survivor testifies again about Connecticut home invasion

Survivor testifies again about Connecticut home invasion

September 20th, 2011 by Associated Press in Local - Breaking News

Dr. William Petit Jr., center, and his sister Johanna Chapman, left, and mother Barbara Petit arrive at Superior Court for the first day of the trial of Joshua Komisarjevsky, in New Haven, Conn., Monday, Sept. 19, 2011. Petit is the sole survivor of the 2007 Cheshire, Conn., home invasion where his wife, Jennifer Hawke-Petit, and their daughters Hayley and Michaela, were murdered. (AP Photo/Jessica Hill)

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NEW HAVEN, Conn. - A doctor whose wife and two daughters were killed in a home invasion told jurors today that he was attacked with a baseball bat in the middle of the night and described how he fell, crawled and rolled in his frantic escape to a neighbor's house.

It's the second time Dr. William Petit has had to talk a jury through the 2007 ordeal that left his wife, Jennifer Hawke-Petit, and their two daughters, 11-year-old Michaela and 17-year-old Hayley, dead.

Petit testified today in New Haven Superior Court in the trial of Joshua Komisarjevsky, a 31-year-old ex-con who faces a possible death sentence if convicted.

The physician also testified at the trial of Komisarjevsky's co-defendant, Steven Hayes, who was convicted and sentenced to death last year.

Petit told the jury that he awoke to a warm liquid running down his face and initially wasn't sure if it was a dream. He says he saw two people, one of whom said "if he moves put a bullet in him."

Petit, who had blood in one of his eyes, said he was tied up and later moved to the basement, saying he held onto the rails with his fingertips so he didn't fall. He was tied to a pole.

He said at one point that he heard loud thumping sounds on the floor and his wife moaning. Then he said he heard a voice say, "Don't worry everything will be over in a couple of minutes."

"It sounded much more serious, much more sinister," Petit said of the voice.

Petit said he had struggled for hours to free himself, but the ties got tighter. "I think there were times I would fade a bit and slump against the pole," he said.

As he slumped, Petit said his weight apparently loosened the ropes and he was able to free himself.

Petit said he wasn't sure of the intentions of the men. He noted that there were two of them, that one of the men had a gun and that his feet were bound, so fighting back wasn't an option.

"I didn't think it would be a good match," he said.

Petit said he hopped up some stairs to a basement door. He said he fell down, crawled and rolled across a lawn to a neighbor's house.

Petit said it felt like his heart was going to explode out of his chest.

Authorities say Komisarjevsky and Hayes, two paroled burglars, broke into the family's Cheshire home in July 2007 in a robbery attempt.

Hayes forced Hawke-Petit to withdraw money from a bank before he raped and strangled her in the family's home. The girls, who had pillowcases placed over their heads, died of smoke inhalation after the house was doused with gasoline and set on fire.