Dr. William Petit felt that justice had been served when the two criminals that tortured and murdered his wife and two young daughters were given a death sentence. But a ruling in Connecticut has overturned the death penalty for the killers in a shocking move, and the outraged family insists that they deserve "cruel and unusual punishment."
Steven Hayes and Joshua Komisarjevsky were convicted of the brutal murders of Jennifer Petit, and her two daughters Hayley and Michaela in 2007, after they were tied up, sexually assaulted and burned alive in their home. Dr. Petit was also beaten and tied up but managed to escape and call for help. Still, he was unable to save his three family members.
After long, drawn-out trials where the two men begged for their lives but the excruciatingly horrific murder details were revealed, two juries gave the men the death penalty. Now, however, they will now serve life in prison, avoiding execution.
Cynthia Hawke Renn, Dr. Petit's sister, said she was "disheartened" by the ruling.
"I really do think that cruel and unusual crimes really do deserve cruel and unusual punishment," she told NBC News.
"For people who commit such heinous and horrific crimes — when you torture and rape them and their children, douse them with gasoline and burn them alive — is there not something that should be worse?
"Shouldn't there be a worse punishment out there for someone who takes a life in such a cruel and unusual way?"
In 2012, Komisarjevsky gave an interview from behind bars where he expressed no remorse for the killings and said that he sometimes contemplates suicide.
"I have my days. I think everybody on death row has their days. Some days you'd consider it. Some days you don't," he said.
Dr. Petit released a statement expressing his displeasure regarding the court's ruling: "The dissenting justices clearly state how the four members of the majority have disregarded keystones of our government structure such as the separation of powers and the role of judicial precedent to reach the decision they hand down today. The death penalty and its application is a highly charged topic with profound emotional impact, particularly on their victims and their loved ones."
What do you think about the decision to overturn the death penalty sentence for the Petit family killers? Sound off in comments below.