At 52, Dr. William Petit faces years — perhaps decades — of emotionally draining court hearings before the two men charged with murdering his family in a 2007 home invasion may be convicted and executed.
He'll have to listen repeatedly to the horrific details of the crimes against his wife, who was strangled, and two daughters, who were tied to their beds. All three died of smoke inhalation from a fire police say the intruders set as they fled Petit's house after holding the family hostage for hours. Petit, a prominent physician who was beaten during the ordeal, will sit feet away from the defendants as they assert their rights and file appeal after appeal.
Attorneys for defendants Steven Hayes and Joshua Komisarjevsky said this week in court that their offer to plead guilty on exchange for life in prison could have ended it all. But defense attorneys said prosecutors refused because they want to win death sentences.