On this episode of “Katie,” witness an emotional reunion between Cindy Hawke-Renn, sister of Cheshire, Connecticut home invasion murder victim Jennifer Petit, and Matthew Hayes, brother of the murderer. Then, hear how a mother forgave her daughter’s killer. And, Christian musician Matthew West performs a song of forgiveness live in-studio.
On July 23, 2007, the country woke up to the horrifying news of three gruesome murders in the quiet town of Cheshire, Connecticut. Two convicted criminals, Joshua Komisarjevsky and Steven Hayes, had spotted Jennifer Petit and her daughter grocery shopping, found and entered their house, brutally terrorized Jennifer Petit and her two daughters and then doused them with gasoline. Jennifer’s husband, William, barely escaped with his life. Cindy Hawke-Renn, Jennifer Petit’s sister, sits down with Katie to talk about the horrific crime.
“I feel like I really lost a close friend when I lost my sister.” –Cindy Hawke-Renn
— Kate Pantier (@katepantier) July 18, 2013
Cindy Hawke-Renn is now a part of the new HBO documentary The Cheshire Murders, describing the crimes in excruciating detail and telling the story of the broken, yet resolute, people left in its wake.
“I don’t understand why things played out the way they did.” –Cindy Hawke-Renn
@katiecouric your program today was incredible!! It left me in tears, it makes me want to be more of a forgiving loving human being. Bless U
— andy drost (@AndyDrost) July 18, 2013
Could you face the brother of the man that murdered your family? Cindy Hawke-Renn can. She sits down with Matthew Hayes, the brother of Steven Hayes, for the first time since the verdict.
“It was a defining moment in my life.” –Matthew Hayes
@KatieShow Really such a touching show today! It had me in tears! May God's Grace be upon those souls who've been departed!
— Linda Alaniz (@Luke7778) July 18, 2013
Renee Napier’s world was turned upside down when she learned her daughter, 20-year-old Meagan, was killed by a drunk driver on her way home from the beach. In the years that followed, in the midst of her despair, it was what Renee did next that was almost more shocking to some than the accident itself.
“I saw him as a human being who made a bad choice.” –Renee Napier
— Michelle Fox (@foxyinflipflops) July 18, 2013
Eric Smallridge was found guilty of two counts of DUI manslaughter and sentenced to 22 years in prison following his drunk driving accident that killed Renee Napier’s daughter and her friend Lisa Dickson. Where is Eric today and has he been able to forgive himself?
“I’m doing what they would’ve of done and that’s making a difference in this world.” –Eric Smallridge
— MicheleChapman (@ChapmanClan4) July 18, 2013
Grammy-nominated musician Matthew West was so inspired by Renee Napier’s story and her ability to forgive her daughter’s killer that he has included it in his new book Forgiveness and on his latest CD Into The Light.
“Every single song is inspired by true people’s stories.” –Matthew West
— Amy Mihlhauser (@almihlhauser) July 18, 2013