Connecticut Offers Counseling to Traumatized Jurors in Home Invasion Trial

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The Connecticut judicial system is offering help to some jurors who were traumatized by the horrific details of a home invasion and triple murder.

Connecticut is offering counseling through a pilot program, the Associated Press reports. Counseling is offered in only a few other states, including Minnesota, Ohio and Texas.

Nine out of 12 jurors in the trial of defendant Steven Hayes attended a debriefing by a therapist, who gave them suggestions on handling the stress and the names of counselors who could offer additional help, the story says. The jurors sentenced Hayes to death earlier this month.

One of the jurors, Maico Cardona, said his experience has left him with nightmares of a child tied to a bed and burning in a house fire. Despite her cries for help, he is unable to reach her. “I wasn’t prepared mentally for what I was going to see,” Cardona told AP.

His nightmare reflects the facts presented at trial. Hayes was one of two men accused of choosing a family at random in a shopping center parking lot for a violent home invasion that ended in the deaths of a woman and her two daughters, the New York Times reported after the verdict. The defendants were accused of tormenting the family and then setting the house on fire, killing two girls strapped to their beds. Their mother had been sexually assaulted and strangled to death. Only the father survived.

The second defendant in the case may be tried next spring, the New York Times reports in a separate story.

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