HARTFORD, Conn. (AP) — A man on Connecticut’s death row for killing a mother and her two daughters in 2007 wants to waive his appeals and volunteer for execution, a newspaper reported Thursday.
Steven Hayes wrote in a letter to the Hartford Courant that he cannot live with what he calls “cruel and unusual punishment” by prison staff at Northern Correctional Institution in Somers. In the letter dated Sept. 29, he wrote that he would make a formal announcement about his decision later.
“I was willing to live with the intense grief from my past actions, and I still am willing,” Hayes wrote. “However, I cannot live with the intense tourcher (sic), torment, harassment, and the resulting psychological trauma dished out by the Dept. of Corr. staff here at Northern.”
Correction Department spokesman Brian Garnett said a disciplinary report led to Hayes losing prison visits for 30 days. Garnett said the department provides for safe and humane supervision of inmates.
The state Public Defender’s Office capital defense unit is handling Hayes’ appeal. The unit’s leader, Michael Courtney, declined to comment to the newspaper on any recent discussions attorneys have had with Hayes.
Hayes and a co-defendant, Joshua Komisarjevsky, were sentenced to death for the killings of Jennifer Hawke-Petit and her two daughters during a Cheshire home invasion. Hayes raped and strangled Hawke-Petit. Her daughters, Hayley, 17, and Michaela, 11, died of smoke inhalation after they were doused with gasoline and the house was set on fire.
Hayes had said previously he would not follow the example set by serial killer Michael Ross, a Connecticut death row inmate who waived his appeals and was executed in 2005. Hayes had said he promised his lawyer he would not end his appeals to hasten his own execution.
But his desire to die has been a theme of his defense since the July 23, 2007, killings.
As his trial was getting under way, Hayes was found unconscious in his prison cell after overdosing on prescription medication. In testimony at the trial, Hayes said he slashed his wrists, slammed his mother’s car into a rock and tied a sock around his neck.
Information from: The Hartford Courant, http://www.courant.com
Copyright 2012 The Associated Press.