Wednesday, August 01, 2007

Speculation about Dr. Petit

Reader Terry leaves this comment in response to speculation that Dr. Petit might have been involved in some way with the two men who invaded his home (previous posts here):

To put to rest these silly accusations that Dr. Petit was involved there is one question for those of you who may believe this to answer: Why did these 2 offenders follow Mrs. Petit and her youngest daughter from the Stop & Shop parking lot to their home? They broke into the Petit home 7 hours later. If Mr. Petit were a part of this don't you think the intruders would already know where he lived??

First of all no one on this blog has accused Dr. Petit of complicity in the deaths of his wife and daughters. What has been pointed out is that it is far from unknown for one spouse to murder another and it is far from unknown for a parent to murder their children. You may remember the case of Susan Smith who murdered her two sons by putting them into her car and rolling it into a lake, drowning them. She then told the police that she had been carjacked by a black man who had driven away with her children, leading to a nationwide manhunt.

You might also remember the case of Charles Stuart who murdered his wife and also blamed a black carjacker. Then there is the case of Andrea Yates who drowned her five children in the bathtub. Then there was the murder of Susan Reinert and her two children by her fiance William Bradfield (the subject of Joseph Wambaugh's Echoes in the Darkness and Principal Suspect: The True Story of Dr. Jay Smith and the Main Line Murders , by William C. Costopoulos.

The idea that a man could be involved in the death of his wife and children is in no way impossible. As I have said before police are looking into Dr. Petit even as I sit here typing this. They will be questioning both of the killers and looking into all three men's backgrounds to see if there is any connection. They will be checking out the doctor's personal life to see if he is heavily in debt or is having an affair.

It is known that both of the home invaders are drug users. They will be looking at the possibility that Dr. Petit used his access to drugs and ability to write prescriptions to supply drugs to either or both suspects. They will also be looking at Mrs. Hawke-Petit and the older daughter to see if either of them might have been connected to either of the killers as well.

The matter of the unlocked door would be explained by this. Dr. Petit would have left the door unlocked for them. Of course it seems that unlocked doors were not unknown in that neighborhood as another home was burglarized, perhaps by the same two men, a couple of nights before. Entry was made through an unlocked door (it seems that the entire community was in denial about the nature of modern crime).

This doesn't mean that anyone other that the two men who are known to be the killers are being "accused" of anything. It is just good police work to check out all the possibilities.

As for the two criminals following Mrs. Hawke-Petit and her daughter home from the grocery store, how do we know that is what happened? Do we have only a statement from the killers or speculation from law enforcement telling us that is what happened?

The matter of Dr. Petit's injuries have also been brought up. Surely he would not subject himself to a possibly fatal or crippling beating, would he? Most likely not, however it is entirely possible that the two home invaders took matters rather further than Dr. Petit intended.

Dr. Petit could have told the two men that in exchange for killing his wife in a staged home invasion that they could have anything they found in the house, plus one of the family cars, plus whatever sum of money he had paid them beforehand. Once they had made their arrangement with Petit the two scumbags could have well decided to double-cross Dr. Petit and eliminate all witnesses.

Perhaps everything went as Dr. Petit had planned until the two criminals made a move on Dr. Petit's 11-year-old daughter causing him to put up a fight. No one knows except the two killers and Dr. Petit. By now police have a very good idea of exactly what happened and why. If they suspect Dr. Petit they will not go public with that information until they absolutely have to. They will attempt to keep Dr. Petit from suspecting that they suspect him (if they in fact do) for as long as possible in order to preserve their access to him.

Again, I want to state that I am not accusing Dr. Petit of anything. I am only speculating about things which might possibly have happened. If I had to bet right now I would say that Petit was innocent of everything except an almost criminal level of negligence in leaving himself and his family unprepared to deal with criminal violence.

He is, in a sense, an accessory before the fact in the murder of his family due to his failure to ensure that his home was securely locked for the night and in failing to have an alarm system installed and functioning and failing to have a properly trained watchdog (all these things are well within the budget of a physician of Dr. Petit's standing) and most of all he failed his family by not having a firearm at hand when he needed it.

I do accuse him of those things. I accuse him and damn him for his failure to protect his family. But everything else will have to await the results of the police investigation.