19 year old John Odgren has been convicted of first-degree murder and sentenced to life in prison without the possibility of parole. The teen, who suffered from Asperger’s Syndrome (a form of Autism) was convicted for the Jan. 19, 2007 stabbing death of 15 year old Lincoln-Sudbury Regional High School schoolmate James Alenson in a school bathroom.
Middlesex Superior Court Judge S. Jane Haggerty imposed the mandatory life sentence without taking into consideration a request from defense attorneys to declare the punishment unconstitutional because Odgren was a 16-year-old juvenile at the time of the killing. Massachusetts has been pretty strict on violent under age defendants in recent years because of a prior incident; the state used to hold violent offenders at a juvenile facility until they were 21; but several high profile incidents with repeat offenses has changed the formula the state uses dramatically.
Odgren was transferred to the maximum security MCI-Cedar Junction prison facility in Walpole, Massachusetts late last week. He will spend the rest of his days there, barring a successful appeal by his attorneys.
The reason that this case is relevant to gamers is that Odgren’s attorney Jonathan Shapiro and Middlesex District Attorney Gerard made plenty of references to books and videogames that allegedly influenced Ogden’s behavior including Stephen King’s Dark Tower series and Grand Theft Auto IV.
Source: Boston Herald