Judge Comes Down Hard on Video Games in Halo 3 Murder Trial

January 13, 2009 -

As GamePolitics reported yesterday, a judge in Lorain County, Ohio ruled that 17-year-old Daniel Petric was guilty of shooting his parents in a dispute over whether or not the teen could play Halo 3. Petric's mother was killed in the 2007 incident.

A comment made by Judge James Burge during the delivery of his verdict in the case of gamer Petric is getting wide play in both the mainstream and gaming press:

I firmly believe that Daniel Petric had no idea at the time he hatched this plot that if he killed his parents, they would be dead forever.

Pretty negative toward games, right? But Burge's full remarks are much worse. GamePolitics created the transcript below from a video of the sentencingwhich is posted on the website of the Cleveland Plain Dealer.

By way of context, Judge Burge explains that expert testimony during Petric's trial failed to establish an insanity defense, forcing him to find Petric guilty as charged. But the judge apparently believes that the young man is deeply troubled and that video games are a primary factor:

The Court must enter a finding of guilty on the counts set forth in the indictment. That being said, it's my firm belief as a human being - and not as a jurist - that Daniel does suffer from a serious defect of the mind.

 

This Court's opinion is that we don't know enough about these video games. In this particular case, not so much the violence of the game because I believe in the Halo 3, what it amounts to is a contest to see who can shoot the most aliens who attack.

 

It's my firm belief that after a while the same physiological responses occur that occur in the ingestion of some drugs. And I believe that an addiction to these games can do the same thing. The dopamine surge, the stimulation  of the nucleus accumbens - the same as an addiction. Such that when you stop, your brain won't stand for it.

 

The other dangerous thing about these games, in my opinion, is that when these changes occur, they occur in an environment that is delusional. Because you can shoot these aliens, and they're there again the next day. You have to shoot them again. And I firmly believe that Daniel Petric had no idea, at the time he hatched this plot, that if he killed his parents, they would be dead forever.

Burge's parting shot seems to indicate a belief on the judge's part that we haven't heard the last of Daniel Petric and his supposed video game issues:

But I believe there is hope here. I believe that it will start here and, uh, at some point when all is known about Daniel and what occurred here we will be able to achieve a greater sense of justice.

142 comments

Defense Blames Game Addiction in Shooting of Parents by Teen

December 17, 2008 -

On Monday GamePolitics noted that a 17-year-old boy was on trial in an Ohio courtroom for shooting his parents after they banned him from playing Halo 3.

A local Ohio newspaper is now reporting that defense attorneys are basing Daniel Petric's defense on video game addiction. According to the Chronicle-Telegram:

“Danny was very mild and meek,” said his paternal grandfather, Michael Broeckel, who [testified] that Daniel was a normal teenager, albeit one addicted to video games.

Holly Petric, Daniel’s other sister, said her brother became obsessed with video games because of a back injury which... limited his physical activity... the infection was so severe that any extreme physical activity could have caused his spine to snap, leaving him paralyzed.

“He’d just play (video games) nonstop whenever he could,” Holly Petric said.

[Daniel's friend] Jon Johnson... said he and Daniel would play video games, particularly “Halo 3,” up to 18 hours a day.

Jon said that while he liked video games, Daniel was addicted, even going so far as to push his friends to play the games when they wanted to do something else.

The case is expected to wrap up today. The Cleveland Plain Dealer has additional coverage.

UPDATE: The Chronicle-Telegram reports that Petric's attorney argued this morning that the teen's supposed obsession with Halo 3 contributed to rendering him insane at the time of the shootings:

Daniel Petric’s attorney argued this morning that his client should be found not guilty by reason of insanity for the shooting death of his mother and wounding of his father last year in part because the 17-year-old was obsessed with the video game “Halo 3.”

 

James Kersey said Daniel, who is being tried as an adult, went looking for the sci-fi video game, not his father’s 9 mm handgun on Oct. 20, 2007. The boy’s parents, Sue and Mark Petric, had taken the game away from the boy less than a month before the shootings.

132 comments

Trial of Teen Who Shot Parents Thrusts Halo 3 into Media Spotlight

December 15, 2008 -

The sorry tale of a 16-year-old who shot his parents and then tried to frame his dad for the crime is currently playing out in an Ohio court room.

Rather undeservedly, Halo 3 seems to be playing a central role in the case. Ironically, the youthful accused killer never got  a chance to actually play the game.

As the Cleveland Plain Dealer reports, testimony at the trial of Daniel Petric indicates that the boy shot his parents and tried to make it look like a murder-suicide after he was blocked from playing Halo 3 by his father. The elder Petric had confiscated the game from his son as the teen brought it into the house. Mr. Petric then locked it in a box - right next to his 9mm pistol. His son somehow got into the box and recoved the game - and the gun.

From the newspaper's coverage of testimony:

Mark Petric... testified that before the shooting... [Daniel] came into the room with a question:

"Would you guys close your eyes... I have a surprise for you."

Mark Petric said he expected a pleasant surprise. The next thing he knew... He had been shot in the head...

He said the next thing he remembers is his son shoving the gun in his hand and saying, "Hey Dad, here's your gun. Take it."

In his defense Daniel's lawyers argued that the boy was under an emotional strain at the time of the shootings because an illness had kept him housebound for a year. During that time, his lawyers argued, he had little to do but watch TV and play video games.

Could there be additional video game testimony coming up?

66 comments

Halo Mentioned During High-Profile Atlanta Rampage Trial

October 17, 2008 -

We don't know the full context, but the popular Halo series was mentioned at the trial of a man charged with killing four people and badly injuring several others during during a 2005 escape and rampage in Atlanta.

The Atlanta Journal-Constitution's coverage of the Brian Nichols trial notes that Army Sgt. Charlie Maurice Sellers, a longtime friend of Nichols, testified:

"[Nichols and his friends] liked to play that Halo video game,” said Nichols’ friend Army Sgt. Charlie Maurice Sellers. Halo is a science-fiction video game that is premised on rebellion and civil war. “The object is … to see who can get the most kills,” Sellers said.

The case generated national publicity. Ashley Smith, a woman kidnapped by Nichols, was eventually credited with helping police capture him.

Nichols is 36.

63 comments

Campaign Smear: Opponent is a Halo Player

October 7, 2008 -

Accusing your opponent of being a flip-flopper? Why, that's practically Politics 101.

But calling out a challenger for playing Halo and blogging? Must be a sign of the times.

In Maricopa County, Arizona, Republican incumbent Fulton Brock has rolled out those allegations and more by way of slinging mud at his Democratic challenger, Ed Hermes (left). Both men are vying for the job of county supervisor.

As Joystiq reports, a campaign mailing sent out by Fulton uses the Halo referenced in an attempt to portray Hermes as young and inexperienced:

Skilled player of popular video game Halo. Hermes was quoted in the ASU student newspaper as saying, "I am addicted to Halo and play almost every night."

 

The anti-Hermes ad also accuses the Democrat of being a student mascot at football games as well as a blogger and a video gamer.

44 comments

Halo Named in Accidental Shooting Death of Wisconsin Boy, 11

September 5, 2008 -

Police in Watertown, Wisconsin believe that an attempt to imitate Halo may have played a role in the death of an 11-year-old boy from an accidental gunshot.

As reported by the Watertown Daily Times, Joshua Nimm apparently took the day off from school to do some gaming:

[Police] said it appeared... that after playing a combat video game called “Halo,” Nimm took the gun and tried to recreate some of the things that had occurred in the game. With an automatic rifle, [Sgt.] Lee said there can sometimes be confusion over whether it contains a magazine or not, and this confusion likely led to Nimm's death.

 

“He took the magazine out and forgot to eject a round that was in the chamber. He probably thought the gun was unloaded,” Lee said.

 

267 comments

GP Book Review: Halo Graphic Novel

September 26, 2006 -



Halo Graphic Novel

-reviewed for GamePolitics by Matt Paprocki

Transcending the world of video games, Halo is a cultural phenomenon.

While the days of seeing video game characters plastered on boxes of kiddie cereal are becoming less common, their more grown-up progress into other mediums is becoming commonplace, like movies and books. Thankfully, the Halo Graphic Novel exists in a realm free from director Uwe Boll’s influence.Entrusted to the hands of comic masters Marvel, this beloved Xbox franchise is in the best of hands.

While a slender volulme, the Halo Graphic Novel is jammed with four separate stories. Multiple authors and artists contribute their work to craft this gorgeous book, including the likes Simon Bisley, Brett Lewis, and Moebius. According to his bio, Lewis doesn’t even own a TV, but was so gripped by the paperbook novelizations of the Halo universe that he ended up contributing some of the graphic novel’s most vivid writing.

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quiknkoldSyringes can break. And in a transcontinental delivery, the glass could've broken when crushed. I work in a mail center. Shit like this is super serious09/21/2014 - 3:25pm
E. Zachary KnightIt doesn't matter what is inside the needle. As long as it requires him to take the step of purposefully injecting himself, the threat of the substance is as close to zero as you can get.09/21/2014 - 1:27pm
quiknkoldEzach: I'm not talking about the needle. I'm talking about what's inside. Geeze. Depending on what it is, the sender could be guilty of bioterrorism.09/21/2014 - 12:51pm
E. Zachary Knightquiknkold, No. That syringe is not worse than white powder or a bomb. The syringe requires the recipient to actually inject themselves. Not true for other mail threats.09/21/2014 - 12:49pm
Andrew EisenThe closest to a threat I ever received was a handwritten note slipped under my door that read "I KNOW it was you." Still no idea what that was about. I think the author must have got the wrong apartment.09/21/2014 - 12:28pm
InfophileThat's what they call it? I always called it hydroxic acid...09/21/2014 - 11:57am
MaskedPixelanteProbably dihydrogen monoxide, the most dangerous substance in the universe.09/21/2014 - 10:14am
james_fudgewell I hope he called the police so they can let us all know.09/21/2014 - 9:07am
quiknkoldIt's pretty gnarly. Depending on what it is, it could be worse than white powder or a fake bomb.09/21/2014 - 9:06am
james_fudgeI just looked it up on UPS.com09/21/2014 - 8:56am
james_fudgeand expensive for an American to ship to London.09/21/2014 - 8:55am
E. Zachary KnightThat is pretty scary. Would have been worse if it were a fake bomb or white powder.09/21/2014 - 8:49am
quiknkoldThere's some more tweets regarding it with more pictures09/21/2014 - 8:09am
quiknkoldMilo Yiannopoulos was mailed a syringe filled with clear liquid. He claims it's anti gamergate harassment. Mentioned on his twitter twitter.com/Nero/status/51366668391625523209/21/2014 - 8:07am
Andrew EisenNow, having said that, what sites are you reading that are claiming that if "you self-identify as a Gamer, you're immediately the problem" or that gamers are "obligated to stop harassment"? Or was that hyperbole too?09/21/2014 - 1:03am
Andrew EisenFirst of all, ONE person in the Shout box suggested an obligation to call harassers out on their harassing but only after YOU brought it up. Plus, Techno said "when you see it happening." If you don't see it, you're not under any obligation.09/21/2014 - 1:02am
Sleaker@Craig R. - at this point I don't even know what the hashtags are suppsed to be in support of. what does GamerGate actually signify.09/21/2014 - 12:21am
Sleaker@AE - Hyperbole for the first 2, but it seems like some of the comments in the shout are attempting to place blame on fellow gamers because they aren't actively telling people to stop harassing even though they don't necessarily know anyone that has.09/21/2014 - 12:16am
Andrew EisenSleaker - Who the heck are you reading that is claiming "all gamers are bad," we "need to pass laws or judgement on all gamers," that if "you self-identify as a Gamer, you're immediately the problem," or that gamers are "obligated to stop harassment"?09/20/2014 - 9:44pm
erthwjimhe swatted more than just krebs, I think he swatted 30 people http://krebsonsecurity.com/2014/05/teen-arrested-for-30-swattings-bomb-threats/09/20/2014 - 9:31pm
 

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