Nine years after surviving a brutal home invasion that resulted in the deaths of his wife and two daughters, Dr. William Petit has decided to run for political office in Connecticut.
Petit, 59, is expected to officially announce on Friday morning that he will run for a seat as the Republican Party’s nominee in the 22nd District in Connecticut’s House of Representatives. He faces an uphill battle against incumbent Betty Boukus, 73, who has represented the Plainville district since 1994.
Petit, speaking exclusively with Cynthia McFadden on TODAY Friday, said that his platform is much more than the outspoken support for the death penalty that he has shown since the tragedy in 2007.
"You know, some people still stop and say, ‘I know where you stand. You’re for the death penalty,”’ Petit said. "And I say, ‘Well, you know, I’m not really running on the death penalty. What’s important to people is their quality of life, the economy, their jobs, their children’s futures. And that has to do with has to do with our economy and our job structure kinda thing.
"So no, I’m not running on the death penalty."
In July 2007, two men followed home his wife, Jennifer, and daughter, Michaela, 11, from a local grocery story. Petit was locked in the basement as his wife, Michaela and daughter Hayley, 17, were tortured before their home in Cheshire, Connecticut, was set on fire.
Petit had been locked in the basement during the attack and was able to escape the fire. The two men who perpetrated the attack, Joshua Komisarjevsky and Steven Hayes, are now on death row.
Petit became a strong supporter of the death penalty in Connecticut following the loss of his family. In 2015, the Connecticut Supreme Court effectively banned the death penalty, which was upheld in a court ruling in May.
"Never, never forgive evil, and that’s what it’s about,” Petit said. "And that’s what the death penalty is about is erasing evil."
"Sleep is always tough,” he said. "With loss, people talk about closure. But there is no closure."
Petit has since remarried, meeting his wife Christine, a photographer, after founding the Petit Family Foundation in memory of his family. The pair tied the knot in front of 300 people in 2012, with the blessing of the family of his late wife.
They also have a son, William, who turns 3 in November.
"People say, ‘I need to go forward,”’ he said. "I say, ‘Well, you know, your choice is to sorta stay in bed and do nothing or die, or go forward."
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