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Connecticut home invasion killer in suicide attempt -lawyer

By Richard Weizel

MILFORD, Connecticut (Reuters) - A Connecticut man on death row for the 2007 murders of a mother and her two daughters in a quiet suburb sent his attorney a letter saying he planned to commit suicide days before he was found unresponsive in his cell on Monday, the lawyer said.

Steven Hayes, 50, complained in the letter that the prison where he is being held is "a psychological torture chamber," attorney Tom Ullman said in a Thursday interview. He added that by the time he received the letter, his client had already been found unconscious in his prison cell.

"The letter I received from him confirmed he tried to kill himself," Ullman said.

It was not his first attempt.

Hayes, who is at Northern Correctional Institution in Somers, previously attempted suicide in 2010, after learning he had been sentenced to death for the home-invasion murders.

"As you know I am dead by suicide," Ullman quoted the letter, dated March 6, as saying. "Northern is a psychological torture chamber. Many staff enjoy the infliction of torment both physical and mental."

Hayes is recovering at the University Of Connecticut Health Center in Farmington, said Ullman, who added he would work to have Hayes transferred to another facility.

Prison officials have denied previous claims of abuse made by Hayes, according to local media.

Hayes and an accomplice, Joshua Komisarjevsky, are both on death row following their conviction in 2010 for the triple-murders of Jennifer Hawke-Petit, 48, and her daughters, Hayley Petit, 17, and Michaela Petit, 11. The husband and father, Dr. William Petit Jr., was severely injured, but survived.

The brutal murders in a quiet suburb and the subsequent trial gained world-wide attention.

Petit has since remarried and his wife recently gave birth.

(Editing by Scott Malone and Gunna Dickson)

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