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"Reliving Horror in a Test for the Death Penalty": New York Times writer William Glaberson reports on the case that is shaping Connecticut's public and political sentiment on capital punishment.  Two years ago, in the Connecticut town of Cheshire, two parolees broke into the house of Dr. William A. Petit Jr.  They clubbed Petit, and tied him up.  One of them rapes and strangles the mother while the other molests one of the daughters.  The father breaks free and shouts for help, but the parolees have set the house on fire.  Both daughters die of smoke inhalation.  The suspects are arrested one block from the house, and many question why these two habitual criminals were placed on parole.  Then, last spring, Connecticut's General Assembly voted to end capital punishment in future cases.  During the process, legislators heard a plea to appeal the bill by sole survivor, Dr. William A. Petit Jr.  "My family got the death penalty," he testified in March, "and you want to give murderers life. That is not justice."  While death penalty opponents believe capital cases by their nature delay justice and subject victims to painful trials, proponents argue it is unthinkable to treat these acts like other crimes.  "The Petit case is the quintessential case of why people like me believe there should be a death penalty," said Rep. Lawrence F. Cafero Jr.

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Have any condemned inmates in Connecticut reached the federal habeas stage yet?

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