Father struggles to carry on slain family's legacy

Father struggles to carry on slain family's legacy

This is a discussion on Father struggles to carry on slain family's legacy within the In the News: The Good, the Bad and the Ugly forums, part of the The Back Porch category; Father struggles to carry on slain family' s legacy - Central Florida News 13 Father struggles to carry on slain family's legacy Monday, July 21, ...

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Thread: Father struggles to carry on slain family's legacy

  1. #1
    VIP Member Array miklcolt45's Avatar
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    Thumbs down Father struggles to carry on slain family's legacy

    Father struggles to carry on slain family' s legacy - Central Florida News 13

    Father struggles to carry on slain family's legacy
    Monday, July 21, 2008 520 AM

    CHESHIRE, Conn.(AP)
    
    A year ago, Dr. William Petit had a thriving medical practice. He lived in a comfortable colonial house adorned with flower gardens in an upscale Connecticut suburb with his wife and two daughters admired for their charitable works.

    Then two intruders turned the tranquil setting into a suburban nightmare. The hours-long hostage drama ended with the slayings of his wife and two daughters July 23, 2007.

    Police say the men with long criminal histories severely beat Petit and forced his wife, Jennifer Hawke-Petit, to withdraw thousands of dollars from a nearby bank before they strangled her. Their daughters, Hayley, 17, and Michaela, 11, were tied to their beds and died of smoke inhalation from a fire that police say was set by the intruders before they fled.

    The crimes turned Cheshire, called the "Bedding Plant Capital of Connecticut," from a town where many residents didn't bother to lock their doors to a place where people are increasingly buying guns.

    And they left Petit to face a future with none of what he cherished from the past. To survive, Petit returned to the charity work of his wife and daughters.

    On Sunday, he was among the thousands who turned out for the first GE 5K Road Race in Plainville, organized by two high school friends to benefit a foundation created in memory of his wife and daughters.

    Petit, who received loud cheers as he crossed the finish line, said being involved in such events has been a "coping mechanism" for him over the past year.

    "They're all very positive and you almost stay in the moment with the events and then _ you know why you're here and you don't want to be here," Petit said as he choked back tears.

    "So you just try to stay in the moment and stay positive because even though you feel like crying, you figure you don't want to cry in front of 20,000 people at every event," he added.

    Lisa Gerrol, president of the Greater Connecticut Chapter of the National Multiple Sclerosis Society, who knew Petit's wife and daughters, said she sees the diabetes doctor continuing his family's efforts to help others.

    "I think that his emphasis from the very beginning is that he wants to take the most horrible situation that could happen to anyone and turn it into something positive, something good," she said.

    About $350,000 has been raised for the MS society. Both Petit children had supported the society after their mother was diagnosed with the disease.

    Gerrol said she's never seen such outpouring of support.

    "It's a huge amount of money. Raising $350,000 is no simple feat, it takes a lot of hard work and effort," she said. "And I don't believe it's finished."

    In all, donors gave about $1 million to charity in the family's name, including $600,000 to the Petit Family Foundation that will encourage young women to study science, help people suffering from chronic illness and assist those affected by violence. Some grants have already been awarded.

    There are also funds honoring the late mother and her two daughters at schools where they worked and attended.

    Petit, 51, has become involved in all aspects of fundraising events _ from designing the medals given out to children at Sunday's road race to helping to choose scholarship recipients for the MS Society.

    "Billy's always been strong," said Bob Heslin, who organized the road race with his brother Gary. "He was our class president in 1974. He was a leader then and he's a leader now. There's not too many people who could do what he's doing."

    Petit had the house where his family was slain torn down, although town records show he still owns the land. All that remains today are a few flower gardens growing in an empty lot and a large heart carved into what was once the lawn.

    Petit moved in with his parents in nearby Plainville and sees a counselor, according to his mother-in-law, Marybelle Hawke.

    "He still doesn't know who he is and what every day's purpose is," Hawke said. "He still feels like he's lost all his purpose for living."

    Dr. Earle J. Sittambalam, president of Grove Hill Medical Center in New Britain, said he sees Petit, his friend and colleague of 20 years, at monthly Hartford County Medical Association meetings and notices how he has changed since the crimes.

    "He's very calm and pleasant and friendly, but I do see a difference in him, you know, because he's my friend and I know him so well," he said. "When I talk to him, I see a difference and I feel it in my heart that he is hurting inside. He is putting a good show outside by talking and smiling and working with us, but I can sense the hurt he has inside."

    Sittambalam said Petit has sought the solace of others.

    "I remember that he would call friends at 2, 3, 4 in the morning to talk to them, because he felt so lonesome that he had to talk to people," he said. "And I'm sure he's talking to people to keep his mind occupied."

    Friends have given Petit photos they had of his wife and children, to help replace his family photos, which burned in the fire.

    Petit last year sent state lawmakers a letter calling for reforms to the state's parole system and harsher penalties for people convicted of home invasion. The General Assembly passed new laws that lengthen prison sentences for repeat offenders and felons convicted of home invasion.

    The two suspects, Joshua Komisarjevsky, 27, and Steven Hayes, 45, were recent parolees. Both face capital felony and multiple murder, kidnapping, sexual assault and arson charges. They could face the death penalty if convicted.

    Residents here are more guarded than a year ago _ many bought deadbolts and alarms for their homes, and some signed up for gun-safety classes so they could buy firearms.

    Gun permit applications in Cheshire, located 14 miles north of New Haven, jumped substantially after the Petits were attacked. There were 81 completed applications last year, more than double the 33 in 2006. Fifty-nine of the applications from last year were filled out after the crimes, police said.

    "It was an eye-opener for everybody," said Frank Solla, a 38-year-old landscaper doing work near the Petit property.
    Several things strike me from this story....

    First, the depth of the pain for this man.

    But, second, is that so few people still got it after this happened.
    It is as if they are thinking, "Well, it happened once, but it will never happen again."

    Any chance these 2 criminals are available for a trip to the range -- as the TARGETS!?
    Last edited by miklcolt45; July 21st, 2008 at 05:19 PM. Reason: add address
    He is no fool who gives what he cannot keep to gain what he cannot lose. - Jim Elliott

    The world is a dangerous place to live; not because of the people who are evil, but because of the people who don't do anything about it.
    Albert Einstein


  2. #2
    Distinguished Member Array CT-Mike's Avatar
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    mikl,

    There was just a story on the New Haven news channel about this. The story centered on how more people in the state are getting alarm systems installed. I was hoping that they would also discuss pistol permit applications being on the rise, but I guess that was hoping for too much.

    I feel deeply for Dr. Petit, but can only imagine the amount of grief and pain he has endured. It is a testament to his strength of character that he is carrying on, despite his loss. I imagine that many people in his situation would have taken the easy way out and ended their own life.

    Kudos to him for carrying on.
    "The natural progress of things is for liberty to yield, and government to gain ground."

    - Thomas Jefferson

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  3. #3
    Member Array Jason Rogers's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by CT-Mike View Post
    mikl,

    I feel deeply for Dr. Petit, but can only imagine the amount of grief and pain he has endured. It is a testament to his strength of character that he is carrying on, despite his loss. I imagine that many people in his situation would have taken the easy way out and ended their own life.

    Kudos to him for carrying on.
    +1. To be perfectly honest I would be dead or living on the streets as a wino within 6 months of this happening to me. My family is too much of who I am. I would me nothing with them gone, as violently as this.-Jay

  4. #4
    Senior Member Array lance22's Avatar
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    Too late now, but in the future I hope he advises firepower to his friends, in addition to a comprehensive security system.

  5. #5
    VIP Member Array Janq's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by lance22 View Post
    Too late now, but in the future I hope he advises firepower to his friends, in addition to a comprehensive security system.
    The base problem/error he and his family made was not closing doors and locking them toward securing their home.

    The girls had been followed from the WalMart earlier in the day by both of the attackers who noted them in the parking lot there. They followed the girls driving back to their home.
    Upon return at 3AM the BGs found the garage door open and up (Mistake #1...Garage doors should be kept down and locked) to which they then entered the main house via an unlocked entry door (Mistake #2...Always check and be sure to lock your doors _and_ at the least ground floor windows at night).

    Had the kids been trained to close and lock doors behind them _and_ Dad had made it his norm to walk the house each night before going to bed to be sure the house was secured then at the very least even with no home alarm they may have defeated the BGs effort. And if not the noise to get in may have been enough to wake the family.
    Oh, and get a dog that is protective and who will at the very least bark and make lots of noise.

    As it was though they walked right into his home and began beating on dad as he was asleep disabling him right off the bat, with a bat.
    No amount of firepower would or could have helped him at that point even if it were an arms reach away. The BGs times two were beating him, and severely, followed by binding and gagging him. All he could do was lay there, listen to his family in another room being molested (wife and oldest daughter were both raped to which his wife was later killed before the fire), and to lie there hurting inside and out.

    - Janq
    "Killers who are not deterred by laws against murder are not going to be deterred by laws against guns. " - Robert A. Levy

    "A license to carry a concealed weapon does not make you a free-lance policeman." - Florida Div. of Licensing

  6. #6
    Distinguished Member Array CT-Mike's Avatar
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    +1 Janq. I am sure that every day he relives this nightmare, and has thoughts that start with "If only I had . . . "

    That would be a terrible way to live.
    "The natural progress of things is for liberty to yield, and government to gain ground."

    - Thomas Jefferson

    "I'm the arrow, you're my bow, shoot me forth and I will go"

    "Do not let any individual posts put a knot in your Big Boy Under-Roos"

  7. #7
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    Many victims say, "If I only had..."

    The truth of the matter is that there is time to do it now.

    I've talked to so many people with the same thinking, "Maybe some day I'll..."

    I hate to see this stuff happen, but I can only worry about preparing for myself and my family.

    I sense the same thing about SHTF scenarios. Most people look at you like you're some kind of wacko...but wait until Jihadists nuke ten major cities...we'll survive, but for a few weeks one better have weapons, water, food, and various other items around. Then watch the neighbors beg for help..."If I had only known, I would have..."

    Stay armed...prepare now...stay safe!
    The last Blood Moon Tetrad for this millennium starts in April 2014 and ends in September 2015...according to NASA.

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  8. #8
    Distinguished Member Array Stetson's Avatar
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    No family should have to suffer this pain ! A man left without his wife and kids
    is one angry human being ! I'd like to think a gun in the house would of made a difference between life and death.

  9. #9
    VIP Member Array Janq's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by CT-Mike View Post

    That would be a terrible way to live.
    Agreed.

    People in retort to what I'd said will respond or think to themself with 'ehh you can't think of everything'. And 'If they want to get you they will get you'. Or the old tried and true 'Stuff happens' kharmic excuse.
    One does not have to think of everything nor be prepared for every potential possibility. Just take mind to prevent the really easy obvious no brainer uncommon sense stuff and provide a modicum of difficulty, and disuassion, toward those who for random reaons might deem us to be prey.
    Oh and for the folk who comment that a person should be able to leave their doors unlocked all day and night long and that when they or their father grew up in yesteryear folks did so commonly. Well guess what, it's not yesteryear anymore. It's 2008. We're about to have a Black President or an Indian ethnicity Vice President (Gov. Bobby Jindhal of LA), and GM no longer makes Oldsmobile. Hasn't for years now.
    Welcome to the new reality, and reality includes mother and child raping criminals who have zero boundaries limitations nor respect for anything muchless for you and yours.

    As a dad, husband, and human being...I feel awful for Mr. Petit.
    He and his family should have been left alone. And in a more perfect if not ideal world reality they would have.

    - Janq
    "Killers who are not deterred by laws against murder are not going to be deterred by laws against guns. " - Robert A. Levy

    "A license to carry a concealed weapon does not make you a free-lance policeman." - Florida Div. of Licensing

  10. #10
    Member Array buzzgum's Avatar
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    Poor guy. I feel for him. If that had happened to me, I think I would snap and become Bernhard Goetz or Paul Kersey...if I didn't die of a broken heart first...

  11. #11
    Member Array whyipackmy45's Avatar
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    I live in an upscale neighborhood, but my doors are always locked, alarm is armed, dog is home, and my guns and loaded mags are accessible.

    Even if I'm just going in and out frequently to the back yard to check my food on the grill, I still lock the door when I come back in. Every time. It's just habit for me. I trained my wife to do it too, but it took a lot of complaining.

    Too bad they weren't just a little bit paranoid.
    That's right, this sweet baby was made in Grand Rapids, Michigan. Retails for about a hundred and nine, ninety five. It's got a walnut stock, cobalt blue steel, and a hair trigger. That's right. Shop smart. Shop S-Mart. You got that?

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  12. #12
    Member Array CAJUN600's Avatar
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    i feel horrible for this guy, and i'll be honest, this story was one of the reasons i started carrying. I could not live with the fact that all this happened under my watch. The time is now.

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