The day his family was murdered started as a typical Sunday in the Petit household.
The family had gone to church, Dr. William Petit Jr. went golfing with his father while his daughters and wife spent time at a local beach, and then they all gathered for supper.
After dinner, his wife and daughters watched TV in the family room while he read a newspaper in another room and dozed off. Hours later, Petit woke to a living nightmare.
“I remember thinking, ‘Ow. Ow. Ow,’ ” he said during his first hour of testimony in a New Haven, Conn., court Tuesday. “And there was something warm running down the front of my face. I saw two people standing in front of the sofa.”
The warm stuff, he later found out, was blood. The two intruders, authorities allege, were Steven Hayes, 47, and Joshua Komisarjevsky, 30.
Petit testified at the trial for Hayes, accused of murdering his wife, Jennifer Hawke-Petit, 48, and daughters, 11-year-old Michaela and 17-year-old Hayley in their Cheshire, Conn. home in July 2007.
It is the first time Petit spoke publicly about the horrific night of the murders. His voice was steady and he remained composed for most of the hour he was on the stand, cracking slightly only when talking about Hayley’s graduation quilt, which the intruders used to cover Petit’s head.
The intruders, who at some point moved Petit to the basement and bound his hands and feet and tied him to a pole, said little to him, according to his testimony. At one point one man did say, “If he moves, put two bullets in him,” according to Petit.
But once he was in the basement he said he spent the time trying not to pass out from blood loss – he was on Coumadin, a blood thinner, for an irregular heartbeat that was making his blood loss worse – and work his way free from his bonds.
Hopped to a Neighbor’s Home
In his afternoon testimony, Petit said he managed to work his hands free of his bonds after a few hours, but was not able to untie the restraints on his feet.
With his feet still tied, he hopped over to the door in the basement and hopped up the stairs, got to the top and fell. “My heart felt like it was going about 200 beats a minute, like it was going to explode out of my chest,” he said. Still, he kept going, hopping, crawling and finally rolled the rest of the way to his neighbor’s house.
“I just thought time was of the essence and I needed to get help,” he said.
Petit was bleeding profusely from several deep lacerations to his head and nearly passed out several times, he said. He later found out he lost between five and seven pints of blood.