Teen Halo 3 Gamer to be Sentenced For Murder of Mom

June 16, 2009 -

Daniel Petric, the Ohio teen convicted of killing his mother and severly wounding his father after his parents banned him from playing Halo 3 in 2007, will be sentenced later today, reports local news station Fox 28.

The case bears watching because Judge James Burge, who presided over Petric's trial and will hand down the sentence, was quite critical of video games in comments delivered from the bench at the time of the verdict. As GamePolitics reported in January, Judge Burge said: 

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 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.

During the trial, Petric's attorney argued that the teen should be found not guilty by reason of insanity due to what was termed a claimed obsession with Halo 3.

26 comments

Utah Congressman Says He's Way Better at Halo Than Rock Band

May 7, 2009 -

Perhaps more than any freshman congressman in recent memory, Rep. Jason Chaffetz (R-UT) has a knack for getting his name mentioned by the media.

Here at GamePolitics, we've covered Chaffetz for his Rock Band duet with Stephen Colbert. The Republican Congressman is also an active Twitter user (jasoninthehouse) and just a tad to the right of Attila the Hun. After all, he is from Utah.

But his conservative rants got the best of GP yesterday and we couldn't resist sending him a jab via Twitter:

Will you be doing anything with Rock Band again any time soon? Otherwise I may have to stop following your updates.

Chaffetz is nothing if not a good sport. He quickly followed up with a private tweet and we couldn't help but laugh:

I suck at Rock Band. Best if I stick to Halo.

By the way, Chaffetz isn't kidding about his Rock Band suckitude. Check out that 24% score from the Colbert show appearance. In any case, it's reassuring to know that at least one member of Congress enjoys a round of Halo now and again.

21 comments

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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NeenekoJust look at how interviews are handled. Media tends to pit someone who is at best a journalist, but usually entertainer, against an expert, and it is presented and percieved as if they are equals.10/25/2014 - 7:38am
Neeneko@MC - Focusing on perpetrator does nothing for prevention, the media and public lack the domain knowledge and event details to draw any useful conclusions. All we get are armchair risk experts.10/25/2014 - 7:36am
Neeneko@AE - no name or picture, I like it.10/25/2014 - 7:34am
PHX Corp@MW and AE The news media needs to stop promoting the Shooters. period10/25/2014 - 7:16am
Andrew EisenWhen I write about these massacres, I don't use the shooter's name or picture. I'm not saying everyone has to play it that way but that's how I prefer to do it.10/25/2014 - 12:44am
Andrew EisenYep, it's why the news media stopped spotlighting numbnuts who run out on the field during sporting events.10/25/2014 - 12:01am
Matthew Wilsonin media research its called the copycat effect. it simply says that if the news covers one mass shooting shooter, it increases the likelihood of another person going on a mass shooting.10/25/2014 - 12:00am
Andrew EisenAgreed. It bugs me that I know the names, faces and personal histories of a bunch of mass shooters but I couldn't tell you the name of or recognize a photo of a single one of their victims.10/24/2014 - 11:51pm
AvalongodAgree with Quiknkold. @Mecha...if that worked we would have figured out how to prevent these long ago.10/24/2014 - 11:32pm
MechaCrashUnfortunately, you have to focus on the perpetrator to figure out the whys so you can try to prevent it from happening again.10/24/2014 - 10:55pm
quiknkoldpoor girl. poor victims. rather focus on them then the shooter. giving too much thought to the monster takes away from the victims.10/24/2014 - 10:15pm
Andrew EisenFor what it's worth, early reports are painting the motive as "he was pissed that a particular girl wouldn't date him."10/24/2014 - 10:12pm
quiknkoldwell then I suck as a man cause I ask for help when necessary :P10/24/2014 - 10:07pm
Technogeek(That said, mostly I was making the smartass evopsych comment because your post seemed like the kind of just-so story that has come to dominate 99% of its usage.)10/24/2014 - 10:04pm
TechnogeekHell, Liam Neeson built his modern career around it. Cultural factors likely play a far greater role than you appear willing to admit.10/24/2014 - 10:03pm
TechnogeekSeriously, though, the idea of "because women are protectors and that's why they never commit school shootings" is, at best, grossly overreductive. There's nothing inherently feminine about being willing to kill in order to protect one's offspring.10/24/2014 - 10:03pm
MechaCrashThe "toxic masculinity" thing refers to how you have to SUCK IT UP AND BE A MAN because seeking help is seen as weakness, which means you suck at manliness, so it builds and builds and builds until something finally snaps.10/24/2014 - 10:01pm
quiknkoldthere, I'm done. And thats what Christmas is all about, Charlie Brown10/24/2014 - 9:54pm
quiknkoldand I am not spouting Evopsych, technogeek. tbh I never heard the phrase till you said it. I'm going off my observations.10/24/2014 - 9:54pm
quiknkoldmoreover, the guy who did this isnt even white. He was native american according to the news report I read. Also that he went for a specific target. That's a much different picture than a certain Sandy Hook guy who will not be named10/24/2014 - 9:53pm
 

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