Everyday Life.

Imagine living your everyday life and then tragedy strikes within your family.  Imagine dealing with your parents getting divorced at the tender age of 7 and your family being torn apart.  Imagine being the youngest and only being able to see half of your siblings on Tuesdays, Thursdays, and every other weekend, mainly because your parents are both too stubborn and too selfish to make things easier on the kids.  Pride, power and possession are more important.  Imagine both parents remarry and things seem to be stable in both households, you’ve gained two more parents.  Whether you like it or not, you adjust to your new everyday life. Now your 14, your father and his wife move to another state far away.  You don’t see them anymore or your older siblings because they have lives now too.  Your only stability remains from your mother and your step-dad who you’ve known since you were 7.  Your step-dad has taught you how to roller skate, ice skate, he taught you how to ride horses (some horses were as new at it as you were) but you cherish your weekends riding horses with him.  He’s taught you life lessons that you will always value.  He gets you your first car and does everything he can to fix it every time it breaks down, he’s always there to make sure you’re alright.  Imagine being grown, he walks you down the isle when you get married.  He stands by you when it doesn’t last a year and you make the decision to get divorced.  You remarry and he’s more supportive than ever, he’s sees the love that he and your mom had at the tender age of 18 and he knows this is the right guy for you.   Now imagine being happily married, having 2 small children and then being told that your mother and and step-dad decide they will divorce.  You think about your children and how it will affect them having divorced Grandparents, you remember how ugly divorce was at 7 years old and how it affected everyone and how it still affects everyone.  But you’re grown now right? It still stings, knowing one parent won’t be there. I’m not talking emotionally not there, I’m talking physically, like at Christmas or for birthdays. Who’s going to sit in the big chair in front of the t.v. with your daughter eating grapes and watching scary cartoons? That’s what Grandpa did.  Who’s going to sit and fish endless hours with them on the railroad ties in front of the pond? That’s what Grandpa did.  2 more kids come along but with divorce and parents being selfish, as most humans are, life goes on and contact slows.  This is to be expected, at least that’s what you learned when you were 7 right?  You’ve once again adjusted to your new everyday life, life seeing a father and a Grandpa on occasion.  Divorce is a tragedy.  It would be nice if this blog post could continue as a tragedy of divorce because no matter how stable the household or the parents, divorce turns everything upside down, some people are better at hiding it than others and life goes on.

This blog post isn’t about that kind of tragedy.  This is about the kind of tragedy that will completely change your life, the lives of everyone around you and it will change you at your core.  You will be thrust into a life you never imagined.  A divorce will be nothing compared to this. I’m referring to wrongful convictions. In Denny’s case he caused the death of his brother. He has NEVER denied that. Though, he didn’t murder his brother, he was convicted by a jury of his “peers” of 1st Degree Murder. He is innocent of that conviction; so this case would be categorized as a wrongful conviction.  It’s no longer that you don’t have a father figure because of a divorce and because of life, you don’t have a father and your children don’t have their grandfather because he was stolen from you.  He was ripped away, he can’t get these years back, you can’t these years back, your children can’t get these years back.  He’s innocent, but he’s convicted, he’s sentenced, he is in prison.   Everyday life is happening and he is not a part of it and it did not have to happen.  Human error by a jury of his so called peers by not standing up to a pushy jury foreman, a judge by trying to get it over with so he can move on to the next case, prosecutors who want to add another feather to their caps, and a defense attorney who’s been practicing over 50 years, who has clearly lost touch of why he was a defense attorney to begin with.

To understand this, you need to put yourself where he is. Don’t just say it, mentally do it. YOU no longer have a name.  YOUR inmate number A97677.  YOU sleep on a filthy mattress because YOUR sheets can only be cleaned once a month, on a metal bunk bed in a cell that was built for one person, 6×8 feet and YOU have to share it with a stranger, who YOU know nothing about. The walls and floors are dirty and bugs are crawling everywhere.  YOU can only take a shower every 7 days, if that, once a month if YOU’RE on lock down, which is usually 9 months out of a year.  YOU get out of YOUR cell to go to “chow” twice a day. The food is not edible, YOU can’t eat it. YOU lose weight.  YOU can’t take care of YOUR basic needs like trimming YOUR nails, cleaning YOUR ears, looking at YOURSELF in a mirror, because the prison won’t let YOU.  YOU’RE degraded by the guards who treat YOU like YOU’RE a piece of garbage.  YOU only get the phone to call family once a month, if it works, which only makes YOU more homesick when YOU call.  YOU rarely get letters even from YOUR own family.  YOU get visits every 3-4 weeks but have to be striped down naked before and after each visit.  YOU don’t go to yard because YOU’RE too old to deal with the young punks who deserve to be there and want to challenge YOU.   YOU watch t.v. all day with headphones, if they work.  YOU have no air conditioning in the summer only a fan to blow the hot air around.  YOU have to layer up in the winter with extra t-shirts because the brick walls sometimes form ice on the inside of YOUR cell and YOU aren’t allowed extra blankets.   YOU don’t get to feel the warmth of the sun or the breeze of the wind on YOUR face. YOU sleep constantly because time goes by faster.  This is YOUR new everyday life.

Wouldn’t YOU want YOUR family or YOUR children or YOUR siblings or YOUR friends doing something to get YOU home? Instead of leaving YOU to the mercy of an appellate defender and the very State that convicted YOU?  YOU wouldn’t want them to go on with their lives and occasionally visit YOU and send YOU money for underwear would YOU?  Almost as if they’ve accepted where YOU are.  YOU wouldn’t want them to leave YOU to die there because they feel there isn’t anything they can do? What if knowing that someone, anyone on the outside was doing everything in their power to get YOU home would make YOUR days and nights not seem quite as long? What if it would give YOU that sliver of hope that YOU need to survive everyday?

So what do you do now?  Do you sit and constantly think, where did things go wrong? Those answers come quickly, because so much went wrong but who do you blame?   His trial attorney? The Judge? The Jury Foreman who knew too much? His daughter for wanting him to go to trial because she believed it was a the right thing to do since Tony, his brother, was so violent it was a winnable case? Him for defending himself? Yes, pointing fingers will help! NO IT WILL NOT!  He needs help, and that’s not helping him. Somebody HELP!  There’s no one.  Innocence Projects won’t take his case, because it’s not a case of “actual” innocence, meaning he can’t say he wasn’t there when it happened. There are some “projects” who will take cases of self-defense, but they don’t have the time or the resources. He’s 63 years old, HE’S GOING TO DIE IN THERE IF YOU DON’T DO SOMETHING!

Well you know what? You get up, you put your boxing gloves on like a Golden Gloves Boxing Champ would and you FIGHT!  No matter how hurt you are, no matter how scared you are, now matter how mad you are, no matter how bad your knees are shaking, you get thrown from that horse and you get back on it!!!  He’s convicted. Whatever went wrong is in the past. It’s time to move on from it.  It’s time to help him.  Once you’re thrust into this world of wrongful convictions you do research, this is how you find that Innocence Projects don’t take self-defense cases and so forth.  You’re cautious but you find him an attorney, because he can’t win his appeal on his own, regardless if you’ve lost your faith in the system.  You don’t sit back and take it or accept it for what it is.  You DO SOMETHING about it!  You find other cases and you find people who are in the same situation, some are better off and some aren’t.  There’s a pattern and  it’s happening everyday and in every state.  People are being charged with crimes they didn’t commit, sentenced to life, or even death.  People lose their loved ones to the justice system and it’s scary and it’s for no good reason.  Prosecutors, Attorneys and Judges lie, hide evidence and are running wild, putting innocent people away and not being held responsible, it’s been happening for a long long time.    We wouldn’t have known how bad things could get until we were put in this position and had to be forced to deal with it.  Others need to be informed.  Facebook pages, websites, blogs, fundraisers, are all helpful to Denny.  So like his facebook page, share his website, sign a petition, write him a letter:  Dennis Petitt, A97677, Menard Correctional Center, P.O. Box 1000, Menard, IL 62259.  Let him know your going to do whatever you can to get him home.  This is his everyday day life and it doesn’t have to be.  IMAGINE THAT!

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Website: Facts or Made up?

There’s been an issue on our minds lately about the website and the information we have on it.  Everything that is on the website is backed up by court document, evidence or witness statements (witness meaning officer and detectives as well).  We would never put anything on the website that could not be backed up by truth.  We would really like to get to the heart of the forensics in this case as that is a very big issue and it involves the Prosecutors and the State’s Blood Expert misleading the forensic evidence and twisting it to the jury in a way that benefits them, which the Prosecutor, Jay Magnuson, is known for doing ( Yes, Google “Steven Linscott, Prosecutorial Misconduct”), but because the appeal has not been filed yet we can’t touch those issues. It will come out in due time.  One thing people need to remember is that just because someone can be an expert doesn’t mean that their “theory” is truly what happened.  The website represents Denny’s side of the story in which he repeatedly told the Detectives who refused to believe him. He told them what happened but because they kept interviewing him while he was intoxicated they were able to twist the things he said and use them against him as they always do in all these cases.  Bottom line is the Prosecution believed that Denny was a cold blooded killer and acted as if he had been hiding this bad side that was just waiting to come out and kill his brother.  Nothing could be further from the truth. Denny is a good, honest person, who would help out anyone without demanding anything in return, as he did for his brother Tony by letting him stay with him when Tony had no where else to go. That’s just who Denny is, who he has always been and always will be. If anyone thinks otherwise, they truly truly do not know Denny at all.  They couldn’t know him, because if they did, they would know he is a great man who loved his brother deeply.

Justice for Denny Petitt Committee

One fight, Two fights, What fight?

There are two issues here – one fight vs. two fights and whether or not Denny and Tony fist fought all the time.

There was no fight that night. Tony attacked Denny and Denny picked up an object and hit Tony in an effort to stop him.  Plain and simple. So why did the news media get stuck on these brother’s fighting all the time?  Why did the Prosecution and the Defense Attorneys use it at trial, even after the family explained that Tony fighting all the time didn’t necessarily mean it was with Denny?

Here’s the answer:

During Denny’s hour and a half interview with Sangamon County Sheriff ‘s Detectives he stated when the two brothers would drink, they would “fight”. This didn’t mean fist fight. This meant argue. This misconstrued word was used against Denny in his interview and at trial by the Prosecutors Jay Magnuson and Gray Noll. Now keep in mind Denny was intoxicated, because the Detectives sure didn’t keep that in mind.

Denny’s statement:

Sgt. Williams “What happens when you guys drink together?”

Denny: “We fight.”

Denny:  “This is the second time he’s done it to me.”

Sgt. Williams: ” Second time today, Dennis?”

Denny: ” No second time in about  a month.”

Det. Vose: ” But it wasn’t like you guys fought earlier and then calmed down, this was one incident?”

Denny: “One incident, now we got in a fight about a month ago, he broke my nose then.”

Denny further stated “He ain’t got a scratch on him but the one I hit with that canister.” So therefore while Tony was beating Denny, Denny didn’t punch, slap or kick Tony, he wasn’t able to.  For example, the Prosecution’s forensic expert, David Carter, that was hired; requested DNA testing be done to blood stains found on Denny’s shirt sleeve to prove that it was impact spatter from Denny hitting Tony with the tank.  The DNA came back as Denny’s blood, not Tony’s.  Which proved Denny was blocking the punches Tony threw at him by trying to hold his hands and arms over his face as he was getting punched.  Denny was on the floor curled into a ball as he tried to block the punches.  He didn’t get in a defensive move  before Tony went and laid on the couch and proceeded to attack Denny again.  The forensic expert, David Carter, was wrong with his theory, in more ways then one, but that’s a whole ‘nother blog post. None of this was brought up at trial, guessing that Denny’s Trial Attorney, Michael Costello, didn’t feel it was important?!?!

Denny further stated in his interview that during the incident a month before that they had “been getting into it” over Tony beating his girlfriend up and her needing to be hospitalized. That’s when Tony punched him and broke his nose. “Been getting into it” doesn’t mean fist fighting, it means they were arguing over Tony beating his girlfriend up.  Denny didn’t feel it was right that Tony beat his girlfriend.

The witness (who died from a health condition before trial) stated the two brothers argued that night and Tony “popped” Denny in the face 6 or 8 times.  When the Witness was asked by Detectives if the brothers fought (not sure if that meant fist fight or argue) earlier in the day his response was “yea about 15 minutes ago“. This was at 1:30 in the morning and the police had only been there about 15 minutes before he was interviewed. The Witness was intoxicated also.

Trial

Denny and Tony’s family testified at trial that they didn’t fist fight all the time and that Tony could snap at any point on anybody.

The Prosecutor, Jay Magnuson said “This (fighting) has been going on for a long time, according to Dennis’ statement.” in the opening arguments at trial.

The Prosecutor, Gray Noll stated during the closing arguments that “Whatever fight there was, was over and by Denny’s own admission (meaning his statement) they fight, that’s what they do, they fight all the time.  They get drunk, they fight. This was not unlike the thousand times that they fought before. This was just one more fight.”

Thousand times before“? One sibling stated that the night this happened would have been the third incident between Tony and Denny. The second a month earlier when Tony and Denny fought over Tony beating his girlfriend up when Tony broke Denny’s nose and the first being forty years ago when Tony was drunk and punched another sibling. Denny jumped in to stop Tony.

The Detectives clearly misconstrued Denny’s definition of “fight” and the Prosecutors used it to their advantage. Seems the Detectives and Prosecutors are allowed to make things up as they go and establish a false history between these two brothers with no evidence to back it up.  The jury believed it. That’s all that mattered to the Prosecutors.

Jury Foreman

First lets explain “Voir Dire”.   In origin it refers to an oath to tell the truth, i.e., to say what is true, what is objectively accurate or subjectively honest, or bothIn the United States, it now generally refers to the process by which prospective jurors are questioned about their backgrounds and potential biases before being chosen to sit on a jury.

These are some of the general questions asked to potential jurors:

  1. Is there anyone who because of medical or other important reasons cannot be available for the duration of the trial?
  2. Is there anyone who suffers from any condition or situation that would make it difficult to give the parties your full attention and fair consideration if you were selected as a juror?
  3. Is there anyone who has difficulty reading, writing or understanding the English language, so that it would impair your ability to understand what you hear or in court or to read the documents that may be used as exhibits?
  4. Is there anyone here who is related to, or knows, or has had dealings with any of the lawyers in the case; any of the plaintiff(s); any of the defendant(s); or the following people who may testify at trial?
  5. Other than what you have heard in the brief description given today of the case, does anyone know or has anyone heard anything about this case?
  6. Is there anyone who has philosophical, religious or other beliefs that would prevent you from sitting and passing judgment on another person?
  7. Is there anyone who believes there is something about the kind of case that I described to you that would prevent you from being fair and impartial to all parties in this case?
  8. Is there anyone who believes that he or she would be unable to follow the law as I explain it to you, apply that law to the facts that you find in this case, and render the verdict required by the law as I explain it to you?

As well as questions asked to each potential juror individually, such as in Denny’s case:

Juror Number 1:  I’ve seen headlines.

Court: Based on what you’ve read or heard, have you formed any opinions as to the outcome of the case?

Juror Number 1: No.

Could you put aside what you read or heard and decide this case solely upon the evidence that you hear in this court room which is really  as a juror all you should consider?

Juror Number 1: Yes

Court: Do you  know any of the jurors here today?

Juror Number 1: No, I recognize 2 names on the witness list.

Court: Who are they?

Juror Number 1: Deputy Smith and Deputy Vose. (The Defense’s Witness List was read out loud to the Jurors also)

Court: Ok and how are you familiar with those two individuals?

Juror Number 1: They played softball at my complex.

Court: Would the fact that they may testify in this case, would that have impact on your ability to give both sides a fair trial?

Juror Number 1: I believe I could be, I would not have a bias.

Juror Number 1. He elected himself as Jury Foreman. What? Oh yes he did.

It gets more interesting though.  Denny’s family was in the court room when the jury was being selected. Except for his nephew Derek and brother Troy who were going to testify. They weren’t allowed in the court room until after they had testified.  The third day of trial, the last day, the day the defense got their turn to tell the story. The trial attorney, Michael Costello, decided that he wasn’t going to use Troy (Denny’s brother) as a witness.  He also had two other witnesses who came and sat at the court house waiting to testify but never were called.

So as a result, Troy was allowed in the courtroom to watch the proceedings on the last day.  As he watched everything he noticed immediately that he recognized Juror Number 1.  During the next break he told the co-counsel, Sean Liles, he knew that juror. He was to relay the message to the trial attorney.  Even Denny’s daughter informed the trial attorney, Michael Costello, with a response of “it’s too late now”.   So Troy sat and watched as two witnesses for the defense who also knew the juror, his Nephew Derek and his friend Joe, got on the stand and testified and Juror Number 1 just watched not saying a word. Rather the juror sat with his notepad on the side of his head as if he were sleepy or bored.  He seemed as if he had already had his mind made up and the Defense was just starting.

Troy , Derek and Joe just didn’t know the juror, they played on a pool league with him for the past five years.  Of course on opposing sides but still.  Joe and the Juror had another thing in common, they both own bars in Springfield.  How could that juror have not said anything?  Troy, Derek and Joe all signed affidavits stating how they played pool with the juror.  Troy stated in his affidavit that after Tony’s death he went to his scheduled pool game against Juror Number 1 and Juror Number 1 had even questioned Troy about the death. He further stated that he took over doing announcements at Juror Number 1’s bar before during a pool league event before.

After trial and much pushing and Troy going to see another attorney, the trial attorney finally gave in and hired an investigator to question the juror about knowing Troy, Derek and Joe.  Juror Number 1 claims he didn’t know “Joe” by his last name and that  Joe would occasionally sub for him on his team if he couldn’t make it to a game.   He stated he had only seen Troy and Derek in the bar before.  Well the family knew better. Troy, Derek and Joe knew better. Pool league records were subpoenaed from the pool league and it was a shocker!

Juror Number 1 and Witness Joe

  • played on the SAME pool team (Juror Number 1’s team) in 2006
  • played against each other from 2004 through 2009 on several occasions

Juror Number 1 and Troy (Defendant’s brother)

  • played against each other from 2004 through 2009 on several occasions

Juror Number 1 and Witness Derek

  • played against each other from 2004 through 2009 on several occasions
  • Derek played against Joe and Juror Number 1 when they were on Juror Number 1’s team together in 2006 on two different occasions.

WAIT! Didn’t Juror Number 1 tell the investigator that Joe “subbed” for him? But the pool records  say they WERE ON THE SAME TEAM.

Well this is all harmless right? Well that’s how the Judge saw it.

The family didn’t like that answer so the investigator was hired to investigate all the jurors.  Unfortunately there was only a small amount of time to get them all question before the case went to the Appellate Court.  So five of them still to do this day have not been questioned.

Let’s see what they had to say:

Juror Number 2: Has no memory of Juror Number 1 knowing the family and “tries to wipe it all from memory after that experience.”

Juror Number 3: Never called back to talk to the investigator.

Juror Number 4: Couldn’t remember the jury foreman.

Juror Number 5:  Stated that during a break after “Joe” testified, Juror Number 1 stated he knew the (Petitt) family. Juror Number 5 believes that Juror Number 1 meant he knew of the Petitt family.

Juror Number 6: Was never found.

Juror Number 7: Stated that Juror Number 1 said that he had seen some of the Petitt family in bars and that this was stated during the Voir Dire in front of the Judge and that Juror Number 1 nominated himself as jury foreman.

Juror Number 8: Stated that they didn’t remember Juror Number 1 knowing the family.

Juror Number 9: Stated they did not remember whether or not Juror Number 1 knew the family but remember Juror Number 1 telling the jurors he knew the cops and that they could be trusted.

Juror Number 10: Never called back to talk to investigator.

Juror Number 11: Stated remembering Juror Number 1 stating he knew the family but not personally.

Juror Number 12: Stated remembering that Juror Number 1 stated that he wouldn’t have been surprised if they came in the bar. Juror Number 12 stated that this doesn’t reasonably mean the Juror Number 1 knew the Petitt family.

Alternate Juror Number 1 and 2 have not been interviewed.

Wow! Juror Number 7 states that Juror Number 1 said ” he seen some of the Petitt family in bars in front of the Judge”. Well friends and family were in the Court room and they never heard any of that and they have the transcripts.  Mr. Juror Number 1 only states he knew two officers, which from what Juror Number 9 says “can be trusted”.

Even after the pool records, the affidavits including an affidavit with 18 signatures from patrons at local bars who have seen Juror Number 1 play pool with Troy, Derek and Joe, after it was all presented in Court Denny and the family were given the same response. Harmless.

So what happened to “Voir Dire refers to an oath to tell the truth, i.e., to say what is true, what is objectively accurate or subjectively honest, or both.“?

Detached Reflection Cannot Be Demanded in the Presence of an Uplifted Knife

“Detached Reflection Cannot Be Demanded in the Presence of an Uplifted Knife” ~ Brown v. United States (1921)

That sentence was taken from an opinion from the U.S. Supreme Court in 1921. The opinion was written by Justice Holmes.

It should be read to every jury by every defense attorney that ever steps foot into a court house with the intent of defending a self defense trial. It should also be further explained to the jury that it means you simply don’t have time in the presence of an uplifted knife (or fist) to think about how you’re going to react and how it will affect the person holding the knife.

So when the Prosecutor, Gray Noll at Denny’s trial marched over to him sitting next to his attorney and leaned in, looked him in the eye and yelled “YOU COULD HAVE WALKED OUT THE DOOR”, (obviously a show for the jury), the Defense should have came back and said “How?”.

Tell me HOW could a man who just took 8 or 9 blows to the face, whose attacker is coming off the couch to do it all over again, who himself is extremely intoxicated could possibly for a split second say “you know what Tony, I’m going to walk out the door now.”? How?

He couldn’t. He couldn’t because in all of his intoxication he had to make a split second decision, because he knew Tony would not stop, why would tonight be any different. Because it’s his brother he’s beating this time? Nope, that didn’t matter to Tony and Tony was going to finish what he started.

While in the middle of being beaten you don’t have time to think about walking out the door.  Explaining this fact to the jury involves explaining reaction time.  Lisa J. Steele from the National Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers states that “By the logic of self-defense, the Defendant must react to the aggressor’s threatening actions. Unfortunately, reaction is slower than action. Self-defense trainers call this “the reaction gap.”  The defense attorney may need to explain to the jury the differences between anticipated stimulus and simple reflexive response; unanticipated stimulus and simple reflexive response; and complex response.”

“The average adult male will react to an anticipated stimulus in approximately one quarter of one second. However, that is reaction to anticipated stimulus. When an attack is underway against a person, and that attack suddenly breaks off or veers off, that change in events is unanticipated. Because the person reacting to the attack has to mentally process the change in events and determine what to do now (i.e., stop firing a rapid sequence of shots that was begun in self-defense), the time it takes to react to the unanticipated stimulus is much longer.” (“The Use of Lethal Force in Self-Defense” copyright ALI-ABA, circa 2001).

Reaction time was never explained to the jury at Denny’s trial.  Nor was it explained that being intoxicated would effect his reaction timing. The Defense attorney, Michael Costello, never hired a single expert to testify to the levels of alcohol found in Denny’s system. The Defense attorney said to the jury “he was drunk”.  That’s it.

The Judge believed he was drunk.  He said he was allowing in Involuntary Manslaughter as an option for the jury to choose because “Mr. Petitt here got the tar beat out of him.  His judgment had been clouded by extreme use of alcohol. I’m going to give it (involuntary manslaughter), so get it prepared.” This of course was not said in front of the jury.

Reaction or intoxication or both. Either way your mind wouldn’t have time to process the consequences of your actions until it was over.

Detached reflection cannot be demanded in the presence of an Uplifted FIST.

“Man Kills Brother”….How do you get past that…

Shocking to read those words in a newspaper. Shocking to be sitting in a courtroom as a potential juror and hear that the victim in this case who has died is the Defendant’s brother.  Wow.

Imagine how opinions would already be forming in their minds.

All you could hope for were some very open minded jurors.  So a Defense lawyer would have to forcefully reiterate the well known fact,  since this is a self defense case, that Tony, the deceased, was extremely violent.  Again the Defense won’t have a turn until the Prosecution has already portrayed the Defendant as a monster who was just trying to get even.  The hour and a half statement given to Police where the Defendant (Denny) sobs uncontrollably at times should help the jury understand that this was not intentional right? Now it’s his turn to explain what happened, but don’t put him on the stand. WHAT? Why? because he will break down and sob repeatedly at the loss of his brother, a loss that he caused.  No, don’t put him on the stand because the Prosecution will confuse him.  Denny’s not well educated, and he’s suffering from Post Traumatic Stress Disorder from being a Vietnam Vet and he’s been in a jail cell for the past year and half.   Ok, but he could tell the jury what happened.

Well if you don’t put Denny on the stand you had better be ready to tell the jury what kind of a person Tony was because brother or not it didn’t matter to him, he would beat you until he completely wore himself out.  Matter of fact he wasn’t done until he wore himself out.  Just focus on the abuse Tony’s immediate family would endure. For example, in various Orders of Protections filed against Tony, he pushed and threatened to blow his own daughter’s head off; he on several occasions choked and punched his wife (exwife). He would scratch her arms and rip off her fingernails (in front of other people).  Tony didn’t care who watched because he knew no one would stop him.

His roommate/girlfriend had several Orders of Protections against him as well.  He would pull her down the hallway by her shirt and hit her on the head with his pool cue case, he hit her on the legs and back as she tried to run out. Then he grabbed a baseball bat and came after her and broke the windshield and side windows out of her truck, the glass shattering all over her. He would pull her by her hair back into the house and slap her on her face and ears.  At this incident the police had to break open the door and had to use a tazer to get Tony off of her because Tony would not stop.  His roommate/girlfriend filed an Order of Protection a month before Tony died because he had came in the apartment and just went off.  He started hitting, kicking her, pulling her hair and she stated she felt “he would not stop until I was dead”.  She was able to grab the phone and call 911.  When officers arrived and she talked to them she said that after Tony was done beating her he went and laid on the couch as if it never happened. (Doesn’t that sound familiar.) Actually this Order of Protection is the whole reason Tony was staying with Denny.  Tony was arrested and was not allowed to return to the apartment with the roommate/girlfriend and needed a place to go.  Denny took him in.

That’s just how Tony treated the people he cared about, that’s not including the numerous times in bars where he would break beer bottles over peoples heads. He’s assaulted police officers before and even BIT A GUYS EAR LOBE OFF.  At trial a witness testified that Tony shoved a guys head in between steps and threatened to stomp on his neck and break it.  There were no limits, no boundaries with Tony. It didn’t matter if you were family or not.

He was mean and proud of it.

The sad part is that out of all the violence the jury was only allowed to hear about two of the Orders of Protections, no other O.P.’s or other violent incidents were allowed in by the Judge. He stated that the Defense had to prove that the Defendant was aware of them.  His brother. The Defense had to prove that Denny was aware of Tony’s violence.  Well the Defense didn’t put Denny on the stand so they couldn’t prove it.  So his Defense that Tony was violent went out the window.

You would think the photos of the damage Tony did to Denny’s face in a matter of seconds would be enough. But it wasn’t.

Welcome to our fight!

This is a first for me personally.  My name is Kelly and I am the daughter, step-daughter, (that is) of Denny Petitt.   I am also the Treasurer for the Justice for Denny Petitt Committee, a non-profit organization in Illinois.  Dennis Petitt, a 62 year old man who is as I am typing this sitting at Menard Correctional Center in a 8×6 foot cell.  He can literally stretch out his arms and touch the walls with both hands.  Menard is one of Illinois worst maximum security prisons.  If you haven’t looked at the website (www.justicefordennypetitt.org) then I’ll tell you why he is there.  Feel free to follow this blog as things are about to get interesting. I will need to hold back on some things as an appeal has not been officially filed yet.

Denny was put into a horrible situation on March 30, 2009 by his own brother.  His little brother, Tony, who he was constantly looking after and helping out.  Matter of fact that’s why they were together on this night, because Denny was once again helping Tony out.  Tony was a trouble maker as far back as the Petitt siblings can remember.  He was always known to be violent, everyone knew that, even common folks sitting at a bar eating a good meal would cringe the second the door opened and Tony Petitt walked in.  The whole atmosphere would change.  A feeling of apprehension would set in amongst the crowd.  This was something Tony was proud of.  He enjoyed it that he could change an atmosphere by merely walking into a room.  It was not only his reputation that made this apparent but his attitude.  Tony had the attitude that the world owed him everything including his own family.  If he was miserable then he was going to make sure you were miserable with him, at all costs.

That night after both of them consuming massive amounts of alcohol, for whatever reason Tony decided to repeatedly beat Denny.  He just walked over and started beating him.  Tony then goes and lays on the couch as if nothing ever happened while Denny gathers himself off the floor.   As Tony is laying there on the couch he’s yelling obscenities at Denny and telling Denny he’s coming off the couch to do it all over again.  Denny in an effort to stop him, because he knew once Tony started beating someone he wouldn’t stop, picked up the nearest thing he could and swung it, hitting Tony in the head. The object was a nine pound oxygen tank.  Denny immediately yelled for the witness to call 911 as he tried to revive Tony but it was too late. Denny was arrested and charged with First Degree Murder.

A year and a half later Denny was convicted of First Degree Murder and sentenced to 30 years in prison.  During Denny’s hour and a half statement to the Sheriff’s office he stated “I didn’t mean to kill him” 64 times,  “I love/loved my brother” 17 times, “I can’t believe I killed my brother” 38 times, “I’m drunk” 11 times and “I was defending myself” 10 times.

This blog will go through all the errors of the Sangamon County Sheriff’s office during their crime scene investigation and interrogation, errors of the trial attorney, and errors at trial by the Judge and the Prosecution as well.

We as a Committee have a job to do, Free Denny Petitt.