Video Game Obsession Cited In Halo Shooter's Lenient Sentencing

An Ohio judge has granted Daniel Petric a lenient sentence today, citing the teen's video game addiction to Halo 3 as a potential contributing factor in the 2007 shooting that left his mother dead.

Kotaku has been following this story closely since it began in early 2008. 16-year-old Daniel Petric, angered at his parents for taking away the copy of Halo 3 that he had purchased against their wishes, shot both of his parents in the head with his father's 9mm handgun, after requesting that they close their eyes because he had "a surprise" for them. While his father, minister Mark Petric, survived the shooting, his mother did not.

Defense lawyers argued video game obsession as a motivating factor behind the killing... that Daniel didn't think the deaths would be real due to his immersion in Halo 3. While the defence was not enough to save the teen from being convicted in January of this year, it did have an effect on the sentence that Petric received this morning.

Instead of the life sentence prosecutors were aiming for, Daniel Petric will instead be spending the next 23 years of his life in prison, with the possibility of parole after 20 years have been served. Lorain County Common Pleas Judge James Burge addressed the video game issue during the sentencing itself, claiming that it was a factor in his final decision.

I suppose the question we have to ask ourselves now is how heavily does the opinion of one common pleas judge weigh on the court system as a whole? We've seen the video game defence fail time and time again in courtrooms across the country, and while it didn't get the defendant off the hook on this occasion, it certainly had some impact. Does this sentence validate the game addiction defence, or is it simply an isolated event?


    The thing I find bizarre is that they cite Halo of all games as a defence. In terms of depicting realistic violence and getting the player used to it, Halo is very inoffensive. So its a huge stretch to say it contributed to his violent streak, and very unconvincing that he became part of some Halo "fantasy world" where killing people doesn't do anything because they respawn (UT3 anyone?).

    If you want to spin bullshit defences, I think its far less of a stretch to say that because his father was a minister he was presumably quite religious, and thought he'd be sending his parents to heaven.

    Aww, c'mon. He's 16! I didn't even get away with a better excuse than that in my own home when I was 13!

    I think the problem here is not how video games are affecting children--it's how video games are affecting the rest of the society. I don't see any kids actually becoming more violent from playing games, but I do see adults surrounding them becoming more idiotic. And that's a real problem.

    The dude shot both of his parents in the head... who gives a fuck what he was "addicted" to, lock him up and throw away the key.

    Video game addiction is no excuse. I'm addicted and I'll readily admit it. But that doesn't stop me from being able to draw the line between fantasy and reality.

    Game addiction or not, the idiot doesn't deserve a reduction in sentence. He's fucked up in the head enough to be unable to function in the realm of reality; he has no place in the rest of society.

      And as an addendum of sorts: Halo is very light on the impactful violence (as compared to say Gears of War), so I don't see how that could inspire him in any way, shape or form.

    WHAT! So faux media concocted psychological conditions, as identified by a PLEAS JUDGE and not BY AN EFFING PSYCHOLOGIST are not mitigating factors in shooting murders!

    You always imagine the legal system is insulated from the current affairs news sound bytes when they hand down verdicts. But if someone can shoot his parents and get away with twenty years based on a made up condition...

    God help me, No offence to any American's reading this, but I never want to live in your country.

    This kid deserves to riot in jail.
    What an ed*ot.

Join the discussion!

Trending Stories Right Now