Petit Foundation's Ride for Justice benefits worthy causes

Posted: 10:20 AM ET


Cheshire, Connecticut – Led by a procession of state and local policemen, more than 2000 motorcycle riders poured into the back roads of Connecticut to support the inaugural Petit Family Foundation’s Ride for Justice on Sunday.

The foundation was created to carry on the legacies of Jennifer Hawke-Petit, Hayley Petit, and Michaela Petit, who were killed in a tragic home invasion in 2007.

Dr. William Petit, the only survivor of the home invasion, thanked the participants for their support as he remembered his wife and daughters. 

“The foundation’s mission statement is to remember Jennifer, Hayley and Michaela with idealism, activism and kindness that they stood for. You know, two women and one little girl without a… without a bad thought in their bodies. So… what you’re doing is the kind of thing they would have been doing on Saturday or a Sunday," said Dr. Petit.

According to event organizers, proceeds from the motorcycle ride, estimated at $65,000, will benefit a variety of causes, including programs for victims of violence, and chronic diseases, as well as educational programs, especially for young women in the sciences.

Before and after the 38-mile ride from Bristol, CT to Cheshire, CT, Petit and other family members personally greeted participants.

Marybelle Hawke, Jennifer Hawke-Petit’s mother was overwhelmed by the number of people who took part in the event. 

 “Jennifer would be shouting praises from heaven to see this kind of response that’s happened. And the girls would not believe, you know, they would just be totally amazed, " said Hawke.

Hawke-Petit would have turned 52 on Sunday.

Dr. Petit addressed the bikers a second time later in the day.  He choked back tears as he told a story about Michaela’s ability to stand up for little kids and to include others.  He was cheered on by the crowd of well-wishers.

All of the people that In Session spoke with at the event said they supported the death penalty in this case.  One mother said, “I used to be really liberal and not believe one way or the other but after hearing more about the facts I don’t think they should be given life in prison. I think they should be sentenced to death, because they caused death.”

-Nancy Leung, In Session Field Producer