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Halo 3 Criticized In Murder Conviction 839

Posted by Soulskill
from the master-chief-charged-as-an-accessory dept.
oldwindways writes "An Ohio teen was found guilty of murdering his mother and shooting his father in the head after they took away his copy of Halo 3. One has to wonder if this is going to have any effect on the games industry. Clearly, the AP thought they could stir up something controversial by asking the IP owner for a statement: 'Microsoft, which owns the intellectual property for the game, declined to comment beyond a statement saying: "We are aware of the situation and it is a tragic case."' I suppose the good news is they did not accept his insanity plea, so no one can claim that Halo 3 drove him insane. Even so, I don't think anything good can come out of this for gamers." Unfortunately, it seems somebody can claim that the game was a contributing factor; the judge who presided over this case said he believes that the 17-year-old defendant "had no idea at the time he hatched this plot that if he killed his parents, they would be dead forever." GamePolitics has further details from the judge's statement. It doesn't help that the boy's lawyers used video game addiction as a defense.
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Halo 3 Criticized In Murder Conviction

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  • by dangitman (862676) on Wednesday January 14, 2009 @06:26AM (#26446025)

    he believes that the 17-year-old defendant "had no idea at the time he hatched this plot that if he killed his parents, they would be dead forever."

    If someone as old as 17 doesn't understand this basic fact of life, then there's obviously something wrong that has nothing to do with the video game.

    • by VShael (62735) on Wednesday January 14, 2009 @06:31AM (#26446057) Journal

      Hey, plenty of 17 year olds don't believe death is forever.

      They're called "religious".

      • by Thanshin (1188877) on Wednesday January 14, 2009 @06:34AM (#26446095)

        You know it's flamebaiting to speak about people respawning millenia ago.

        • by Archimagus (978734) on Wednesday January 14, 2009 @09:54AM (#26447635)
          17-year-old defendant "had no idea at the time he hatched this plot that if he killed his parents, they would be dead forever." I know it has been quoted already, but seriously? I mean come on. My 5 year old son understands the fact that death is forever. And he has been playing games since he was old enough to hold a controller. Hell, I taught him how to snipe the pilots out of helicopters in Mercenaries when he was two. Also, why did the parents take the game away from the kid? My guess would be some kind of violent activity and they were taking his games away as punishment. The kid most likely had violent tendencies anyway.
          • by acidreverb (1339035) on Wednesday January 14, 2009 @10:48AM (#26448295)
            From this article [kotaku.com]:
            "According to prosectors, Petric, 16 at the time of the shooting, was forbidden to buy Halo 3 by his parents, Mark and Susan Petric. The teen snuck out to purchase the game anyway, and was caught by his parents upon his return. The game was locked up in Mark's lockbox, along with a 9mm handgun."

            So no, a history of violence wasn't mentioned in the articles I have seen so far. However, it also says he didn't have a copy of the game.

            From the same article:
            "Lawyers for the accused delivered a brief statement at the opening of the trial, explaining that their client had be under a large amount of stress after being homebound for a year due to a snowboarding accident with nothing to do but watch television and play video games."

            So, presumably he hadn't been playing the game elsewhere.

            But don't worry...
            "Dad, I'm so sorry for what I did to Mom, to you and to the family," Daniel Petric said, according to his father. "I'm so glad you are alive."
            "You're my son," Mark Petric responded. "You're my boy."
            Dad forgives him...
            • by halber_mensch (851834) on Wednesday January 14, 2009 @11:28AM (#26448931)

              From this article [kotaku.com]: "According to prosectors, Petric, 16 at the time of the shooting, was forbidden to buy Halo 3 by his parents, Mark and Susan Petric. The teen snuck out to purchase the game anyway, and was caught by his parents upon his return. The game was locked up in Mark's lockbox, along with a 9mm handgun." So no, a history of violence wasn't mentioned in the articles I have seen so far. However, it also says he didn't have a copy of the game. From the same article: "Lawyers for the accused delivered a brief statement at the opening of the trial, explaining that their client had be under a large amount of stress after being homebound for a year due to a snowboarding accident with nothing to do but watch television and play video games." So, presumably he hadn't been playing the game elsewhere. But don't worry... "Dad, I'm so sorry for what I did to Mom, to you and to the family," Daniel Petric said, according to his father. "I'm so glad you are alive." "You're my son," Mark Petric responded. "You're my boy." Dad forgives him...

              This is quite revealing. I think it's safe to say there is at least some degree of a lack of rationality in that family that is not Halo 3 related

      • by Anonymusing (1450747) on Wednesday January 14, 2009 @07:06AM (#26446301)
        Notably, the boy's father is a minister [wnlag.org]. The church has not updated the web site, obviously.
        • by hobbit (5915) on Wednesday January 14, 2009 @09:06AM (#26447175)

          I'd warrant, then, that the kid's probably had as much exposure to the Old Testament as he has to Halo 3. Personally, I'm not in favour of banning either, but if anything...

      • by couchslug (175151) on Wednesday January 14, 2009 @07:17AM (#26446371)

        "Hey, plenty of 17 year olds don't believe death is forever.

        They're called "religious". "

        Kinda hard to sell suicide bombing and similar sports any other way.

      • by BitZtream (692029) on Wednesday January 14, 2009 @08:41AM (#26446981)

        No, they're called retarded. There isn't a religon that I'm aware of that doesn't ackowledge that you cease to be a human upon death, and all of them believe its likely to be a one way trip. Some believe in an afterlife, some beleive we go back into a pool of life force, some believe in reincarnation. All of them believe your human life is over.

        • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

          Not really. Christians believe that when the world is over, after the second coming, you will be reincarnated. It made clear in Credo, which is a summary of their dogma.

          ConfÃteor unum baptÃsma in remissiÏOEnem peccatorum; et expecto resurrectionem mortuorum et vitam venturi saeculi. Amen.

          • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

            I'm not sure you quite understand the difference between reincarnation [wikipedia.org] and ressurection [wikipedia.org], at least as they are understood in various religious traditions. Christians generally believe in resurrection (the latin term in the Credo you quoted which, incidentally, not all brands of Christianity accept), but not in reincarnation.
      • by jellomizer (103300) on Wednesday January 14, 2009 @10:20AM (#26447907)

        Damn you guys are worse then the people who knock on my door twice a month.
        It is kinda sad for a group of people without a religion or a belief in God(s), that you are are so instantiate to bring up your views on religion even when it isn't part of the topic. Get over it religion will be with us for our lifetimes. I haven't heard anyone give a good enough reason to prove that the Atheist are right, conversely I haven't heard a good reason to prove that religious people are right.

        Lets compromise God exists 1/2 of the time. There is a solution that no one likes so therefor it must be a good compromise.

    • by dhavleak (912889) on Wednesday January 14, 2009 @06:36AM (#26446109)

      he believes that the 17-year-old defendant "had no idea at the time he hatched this plot that if he killed his parents, they would be dead forever."

      If someone as old as 17 doesn't understand this basic fact of life, then there's obviously something wrong that has nothing to do with the video game.

      Clearly Halo 3 is at fault. If they had some non-respawning game types this would never have happened...

    • by El Lobo (994537) on Wednesday January 14, 2009 @06:51AM (#26446195)
      Unfortunately, there will always be idiotic trials. This reminds me of the infamous Judas Priest trial [totse.com] where "experts" tried to present evidence that an album by the heavy metal band Judas Priest contained subliminal messages that drove two youngmen to suicide.
    • by Kjella (173770) on Wednesday January 14, 2009 @06:57AM (#26446243) Homepage

      If someone as old as 17 doesn't understand this basic fact of life, then there's obviously something wrong that has nothing to do with the video game.

      Obviously. Nobody is arguing that completely normal people would go postal by playing Halo 3. If I said "All you people on slashdot are a wsate of oxygen and should go kill yourself" there won't be mass suicides, but someone already suicidal really sitting on the fence just might. So here we got a borderline psychotic, serious trouble separating famtasy from reality and he's on the fence. Was Halo 3 the push? How much should you pad the world to make sure he doesn't get a push? Or is it him, if anyone had realized how serious his issues are, that should have been put in a padded room? There's a line somewhere there, but I think what 99%+ of the population handles well should never be outlawed. The rest is just triggering some secret freak-out button that can't really be helped. Or rather, those people should be helped if possible.

    • by artg (24127) on Wednesday January 14, 2009 @06:59AM (#26446255)
      So how is that games, with all their attempts to imitate real life physics and interaction, can't get this simple thing right ?
      People should stay dead when they're killed (except maybe if they're zombies ..), and take weeks to recover if wounded. If that means the game gets slowly less interesting as it empties of characters, that's fine. And if you're killed, you don't get to play the game any more. Maybe you could play a different character afterwards.
      You might think this would ruin the game, make it useless - but it wouldn't. It would raise the stakes for the player (don't you find a life lasts much longer in an arcade game, when you have to pay for more) and speed up the turnover of the game, raising the income for the writer. Some things would have to change to make the game saleable, but ultimately it would be more involving.
      • by Bangz (1294126) on Wednesday January 14, 2009 @07:09AM (#26446323)
        Games aren't meant to be simulations, they're meant to be fun.
        • True, but that would be a fun sort of game. Imagine you can have multiple characters - say, a hundred - and this is your own personal "team". Each one on the team has their own individual skills - some randomly given out at spawning, and some trained. Keep the "max skill" cap low and not all that difficult to obtain.

          It could be an FPS played just like a sports sim. Some of your team could be on the injured list (things like missing limbs could be explained away by a futuristic setting), and some might outright die and enter "the graveyard", where they are immortalized with their scores, skills, appearance, etc.

          This would make a game where Medics are useful - you don't want to lose that guy you spent 2 hours maxing out his skills (ideally, I think that's as long as it should take, tops). You'd sure as hell appreciate the doc when you get revived on the field instead of dying of heart failure. People would actually use COVER and tactics to protect their investments of time.

          Lastly, think of the achievments - longest survivor, etc. I think something like this could be fun if it were designed properly.

      • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

        by moranar (632206)

        About the permanent death: implemented in Diablo and Diablo 2, on the harder difficulty levels.

    • by aliquis (678370) <dospam@gmail.com> on Wednesday January 14, 2009 @07:05AM (#26446295) Homepage

      Yeah, I know he was living up in Ohio but come one ...

      Guns don't kill people! God do!

    • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

      by DiegoBravo (324012)

      >> "had no idea at the time he hatched this plot that if he killed his parents, they would be dead forever."

      Maybe the problem is not the game but his Ubuntu box: he thought "kill parent" is harmless, since the real kill is with "kill -9 parent".

      • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

        by Brad_McBad (1423863)
        Yeah, "kill parent" just makes them tie up their affairs, kill any children then throw themselves off a cliff...
  • Or... (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Spad (470073) <slashdot@NOSpam.spad.co.uk> on Wednesday January 14, 2009 @06:27AM (#26446031) Homepage

    "An Ohio teen was found guilty of murdering his mother and shooting his father in the head after they took away his [thing that he really liked]"

    If he had a caffeine addiction and his parents took away his Coke would that mean that it was the fault of the Coke that he murdered them?

    • Re:Or... (Score:4, Interesting)

      by Thanshin (1188877) on Wednesday January 14, 2009 @06:32AM (#26446069)

      If he had a caffeine addiction and his parents took away his Coke would that mean that it was the fault of the Coke that he murdered them?

      What if he had a cocaine addiction and his parents took away his cocaine?

      What if he was an alcoholic and his parents took away his booze?

      It's just a matter of defining clearly what constitutes a deranged mind and what is conscious murder intention and/or idiocy. With no regard to the cause of the derangment, nor whether it's chemical or not.

      That clear definition is quite harder to produce than it might seem.

    • Re:Or... (Score:5, Funny)

      by aliquis (678370) <dospam@gmail.com> on Wednesday January 14, 2009 @07:13AM (#26446353) Homepage

      I'm so fucking upset about this matter, the situation among youths of today is absurd!

      I mean, come one, how the fuck can you fail murdering your own dad?! How hard can it be? Learn to finish something damnit, lazy ass kids of today!

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by JaredOfEuropa (526365)

      If he had a caffeine addiction and his parents took away his Coke would that mean that it was the fault of the Coke that he murdered them?

      But of course it is, and of course they'll use that defense: "Yes I did it, your honour, but it was someone else's fault". Society itself would probably not accept the fact that even more or less sane people sometimes shoot each other in a fit of rage. That smacks too much of accidents, and things that society cannot control. Pointing fingers (at games, the gun lobby

  • Spawn point (Score:5, Funny)

    by Mushdot (943219) on Wednesday January 14, 2009 @06:28AM (#26446037) Homepage

    "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."

    The Spawn Point defence should be filed along with the Chewbacca defence in the big book of crazy law.

  • the 17 year old is clearly too damn ignorant to live.

    Why can't the law do something about that? If someone is so freaking retarded that they are sane, but STILL a danger to themselves and society, why can't we just put them out of their misery with a bullet?

    Or as someone once said, take the safety stickers off of everything, and let matters attend to themselves?

  • by Shin-LaC (1333529) on Wednesday January 14, 2009 @06:30AM (#26446051)

    The judge who presided over this case said he believes that the 17-year-old defendant "had no idea at the time he hatched this plot that if he killed his parents, they would be dead forever."

    I can see why playing Halo (or, indeed, most games, with the notable exception of NetHack) might make you believe that. If only he had watched anime instead, he would have been taught the cruel reality of murder [imageshack.us].

  • guns (Score:3, Insightful)

    by kisak (524062) on Wednesday January 14, 2009 @06:31AM (#26446053) Homepage Journal
    Would this murder have happened if it would have been harder for the kid the get hold of a gun?
    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by Anonymusing (1450747)

      For what it's worth: "Prosecutors contend that Daniel stole his father's key to the lockbox where the gun was kept and retrieved the semiautomatic pistol along with a copy of the sci-fi video game 'Halo 3' that his parents had confiscated from him before the shooting." (link [chroniclet.com])

    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      by aarggh (806617)

      I'd be guessing from the article as he had the intent and planned it for weeks it would have been a stabbing or bashing if he didn't have the gun.

    • Re:guns (Score:5, Insightful)

      by couchslug (175151) on Wednesday January 14, 2009 @07:22AM (#26446405)

      About a third of murders don't involve firearms. Areas with widespread legal firearms ownership tend to have less crime than areas with severe gun restrictions. Finally, if someone is that nuts, operating an axe, shovel, hatchet or any number of other hand tools is no great obstacle.

      Lizzie Borden was just a chick, but did a "hatchet job" quite smartly (and beat the rap too).

    • Re:guns (Score:4, Insightful)

      by hairyfeet (841228) <bassbeast1968@NOspaM.gmail.com> on Wednesday January 14, 2009 @08:01AM (#26446689) Journal

      If the kid bashed their brains out with a hammer, would you say "Would this murder have happened if it would have been harder for the kid the get hold of a hammer?". After all, one good swing with the claw end of a hammer and you'll be just as dead as if they used a 9mm. If somebody wants to kill, they are going to kill. All you can do is lock them up after the fact. But thinking you can get rid of evil bastards killing folks by getting rid of guns is just nuts IMHO. All you will do is make sure the ordinary folks have no way to defend themselves while the criminals will just buy guns smuggled over the border. They don't obey your laws, that is why they are called criminals.

      You want to cut down on crime? Quit throwing potheads and non violent junkies in jail and get rid of the revolving door on violent offenders. This kid may have been a "one off" when it comes to violent crime but if you look at the damage a career violent offender does it is frankly staggering. If we got rid of the stupid pot laws and made all non violent drugs crimes (buying,selling,using) into misdemeanors then you would have the resources and space to get rid of parole for violent offenders and force them to do their entire time. This would cut down on crime IMHO a lot more than trying to get rid of guns, which the criminals by and large don't get legally anyway.

  • GOD forbid anyone should be held responsible for their actions, or be expected to have any kind of grip on reality. I think people maybe need to realise that sometimes it's not the TV's fault, or the computers fault, or anyone else's fault, perhaps some people really have no concept of consequences until they are sharing a cell with Bubba. I'm pretty sure they are able to catch with reality real quick then.

  • by Davemania (580154) on Wednesday January 14, 2009 @06:33AM (#26446077) Journal
    Let me get this, this kid probably have some kind of anger problem, he manage to get a gun, he is 17 and still have problem distinguishing reality but lets focus on a video game.
  • murder weapon? (Score:4, Insightful)

    by 1u3hr (530656) on Wednesday January 14, 2009 @06:34AM (#26446089)
    "On the night of the shooting in October 2007, Petric used his father's key to open a lockbox and remove a 9mm handgun and the game, the court heard."

    Okay, why hasn't anyone even mentioned the "9mm handgun"? To my simple, unAmerican mind, that seems far more like a murder weapon than the video game.

    Talk about elephant in the room.

    Anyway, I expect the usual 800-post NRA/2nd Amendment gun nuts vs rational people thread.

    Only in America.

    • Re:murder weapon? (Score:4, Insightful)

      by MiKM (752717) on Wednesday January 14, 2009 @07:01AM (#26446277)

      Anyway, I expect the usual 800-post NRA/2nd Amendment gun nuts vs rational people thread.

      Don't forget the people who think that every gun is evil. I don't have any need to own a handgun or rifle, but I support the right of people who do, provided they are responsible (as the father seemed to be, considering that the gun was stored in a lockbox). Yes, the kid used a gun to kill his parents. However, he could also have just used a butcher knife from the kitchen.

  • by Anonymusing (1450747) on Wednesday January 14, 2009 @06:35AM (#26446097)

    FTA:

    "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."

    Another article notes... [chroniclet.com]

    During the first day of testimony on Monday, his father, the Rev. Mark Petric, said his son had apologized to him and he has forgiven Daniel, who was 16 at the time of the shootings. The elder Petric told Lorain County Common Pleas Judge James Burge, who is hearing the case instead of a jury, that Daniel told him and his wife, Sue Petric, to close their eyes because he had a surprise for them. According to prosecutors, Daniel Petric then shot both of his parents, killing Sue Petric and wounding Mark Petric. When he came to a few moments later, Mark Petric said, he saw that his wife wasn't moving, and Daniel was trying to place a 9 mm handgun in his hand.

    So the son was trying to frame the father for murdering the mother. Seems to indicate that he knew death was permanent...

  • Pardon? (Score:3, Insightful)

    by dabadab (126782) on Wednesday January 14, 2009 @06:35AM (#26446101)

    I was not aware of the fact that Microsoft also makes guns. Or did he shot his parents dead with the Xbox controller?...

  • by aepervius (535155) on Wednesday January 14, 2009 @06:36AM (#26446111)
    The problem here is clearly the teen which is a sociopath, not the fact he played halo 3. It was halo 3 his parent withdrew, but it could have been a red toy car, or whatever he was using at that time. Once you are in your teen you are supposed to be able to separate fantasy to reality, and to know that death is definitive. If you don't even know or realize that, then you clearly have a mental problem. The guy was 15 at the time he shot his parents.

    Miscellaneous quotes : (http://news.aol.com/article/ohio-teen-killed-mom-over-video-game/302589)
    Petric may have been addicted, but the evidence also showed he planned the crime for weeks, said Burge, who found the teenager guilty of aggravated murder, attempted aggravated murder and other charges.

    Deputy prosecuting attorney Anthony Cillo argued during the trial that the teenager had planned to make it appear to be a murder-suicide by putting the gun in his father's hand.
  • by Klootzak (824076) on Wednesday January 14, 2009 @06:37AM (#26446115)

    Quoted from this article [chroniclet.com]:

    When he came to a few moments later, Mark Petric said, he saw that his wife wasn't moving, and Daniel was trying to place a 9 mm handgun in his hand.

    Prosecutors contend that Daniel stole his father's key to the lockbox where the gun was kept and retrieved the semiautomatic pistol along with a copy of the sci-fi video game "Halo 3" that his parents had confiscated from him before the shooting.
    (I snipped a section here)

    Prosecutors say Daniel later confessed to the shootings and said he tried to make it appear to be a murder-suicide.

    His Defense lawyer is grasping at straws for a reduced sentance, if the kid didn't realize his parents wouldn't be DEAD... WTF would he try and frame his Dad?!?!

  • One word... (Score:2, Funny)

    by Shivinski (1053538)
    PWNED

    Mod me down, it was worth it :P
  • by sleeponthemic (1253494) on Wednesday January 14, 2009 @06:50AM (#26446191) Homepage
    This game is so awesome, you'll kill anybody who takes it away from you!

    (It's that good).
  • Inverted logic ? (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Zoxed (676559) on Wednesday January 14, 2009 @07:41AM (#26446529) Homepage

    So yet me see:
    - teenager plays Halo 3 for weeks/months/years: does not kill anyone.
    - same teenager *stops* playing said game for 1 day: shoots both parents.

    So does that mean that playing the game *stopped* him killing real people ?

  • Déjà Vu (Score:5, Funny)

    by pyrrhonist (701154) on Wednesday January 14, 2009 @07:44AM (#26446549)

    Microsoft... declined to comment beyond a statement saying: "We are aware of the situation and it is a tragic case."

    Wow, déjà vu. That's the same thing they said when Vista was released.

  • by Dutchmaan (442553) on Wednesday January 14, 2009 @07:54AM (#26446637) Homepage

    The father, a minister, had a 9mm handgun that the son, who played video games, used as the tool for his action.

    So lets see.

    Religion.
    Guns.
    Video Games.

    Which one is not enshrined in U.S. culture and will therefore be blamed.

  • by erroneus (253617) on Wednesday January 14, 2009 @08:27AM (#26446877) Homepage

    Movies, especially, are rather fond of bringing dead characters back to life. Actors go on to play other roles though I am not sure what role Lando Calrisian went on to play after Star Wars, for young developing minds, movies can certainly put some warped perceptions in there. Television is even worse in that it seems to suggest that life's problems can be resolved between 30 minutes to an hour with commercials although on occasion you may have to wait until next week for resolution. (some problems are really that big!)

    And if one could actually understand all of the words in music, I suspect one might find some pretty questionable subject matter as well.

    Distortion of reality is found in every form of entertainment without exception. I feel pretty fortunate that the world has survived this far!

  • by node159 (636992) on Wednesday January 14, 2009 @09:04AM (#26447161)

    The guy tried to claim that Halo3 made him do it, the judge basically threw that out and called him a cold calculated killer.

    They guy is obviously nuts and his defense is trying any old thing to get him off.

    Other stupid defenses I can suggest:
    * TV made him do it.
    * McDonalds made him do it (he must have eaten McD's some time in his life).
    * The gun made him do it.
    * Society made him do it.
    * Aliens made him do it.

  • by Fross (83754) on Wednesday January 14, 2009 @09:50AM (#26447567) Homepage

    What kind of music was they listening to? Or what kind of movies was they watching? Who gives a fuck what they was watching?

    Whatever happened to crazy?

    What happened to crazy? What, you can't be crazy no more? Did we eliminate ''crazy''
    from the dictionary?

    Fuck the records. Fuck the movies. Crazy!

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