updated 12/08/2010 AT 2:25 PM ET
•originally published 12/08/2010 AT 2:50 PM ET
Dealing with the extraordinarily tragic events that changed his life forever – and the death sentence rendered to one of the two men who assaulted and killed his wife and two daughters – Dr. William Petit Jr. says, “I don’t think you can forgive ultimate evil.”
Speaking to Oprah Winfrey in an interview that will air on her show Thursday, Dr. Petit said, “You can forgive somebody who stole your car. You can forgive somebody who slapped you in the face. You can forgive somebody who insulted you. You can forgive somebody who caused an accident. I think forgiving the essence of evil is not appropriate.”
Last week, Connecticut Superior Court Judge Jon Blue imposed a death sentence on Steven Hayes, 47, one of two men accused of killing Dr. Petit’s family in a July 2007 home invasion. Before Judge Blue officially sentenced Hayes, Dr. Petit gave a 30-minute victim impact statement about the night Hayes and Joshua Komiserjevsy, 30, held him and his family hostage in their Cheshire, Conn., home.
For months afterward, he had trouble sleeping. “I was completely, completely fried,” he tells Winfrey. “I walked around in a daze. And just intrusive thoughts banging into your brain every second. Every minute. You know, replaying events over and over and over and over again in your mind.”
Petit’s wife, Jennifer Hawke-Petit, 47, was strangled to death. His daughters, 11-year-old Michaela and 17-year-old Hayley, died of smoke inhalation.
Jury selection for the trial of Komiserjevsky begins Feb. 22.