So-called Halo 3 killer convicted of murdering mom

Most often, the media takes great pains to tie games to crime. Robberies of game retailers are


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Most often, the media takes great pains to tie games to crime. Robberies of game retailers are given sensational treatment by local news outlets, while larceny involving other forms of entertainment--televisions, music players, and so on--are dismissed as routine. Often, even gruesome crimes are exploited if they have a game angle, as were the so-called "Xbox Murders" in 2004, when four Floridians were brutally slain by an ex-con who wanted to retrieve his console. (If he had wanted to get his toaster back, would it have been called the "Toaster Murders"?)

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Unfortunately, though, sometimes games are central to a heinous crime. That was the case in October 2007, when then-16-year-old Daniel Petric (pictured) fatally shot his mother because she was limiting his Halo 3 playing time. Defense attorneys claimed the teenager was "obsessed" with the sci-fi shooter, growing irrational and aggressive when he could not play it. After being cut off by his parents, he retrieved his father's 9mm pistol and shot both of them, killing his mother and leaving his father with a major headwound. (The father survived, forgave his son, and even came to court to support him.) The younger Petric then went on the run, taking his copy of Halo 3 with him.

According to the Associated Press, Petric's lawyers argued that, after being psychically incapacitated for months following an injury, he was suffering from a full-blown addiction to Halo 3 and asked that he be ruled not guilty by reason of insanity. Today, though, an Ohio judge ruled that the juvenile was guilty of murder, even though he agreed that the youth was mentally unbalanced.

"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," Lorain County Common Pleas Judge James Burge said in his ruling, according to the AP. However, evidence that Petric planned the murder for weeks led Burge to convict him in the non-jury-based proceedings. The judge will levy a sentence, potentially as severe as life imprisonment, at a later date.

For its part, Halo 3 publisher Microsoft gave a brief statement to the AP, saying only, "We are aware of the situation and it is a tragic case."

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