So-called 'Halo killer' gets 23 to life

Today, the tragic case of what the mainstream media dubbed the "Halo Killer" came to a resolution of sorts. According to a report from local Fox TV affiliate WJW-TV, an Ohio judge sentenced 17-year-old Daniel Petric to 23 years to life for fatally shooting his 43-year-old mother in October 2007. ...

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Today, the tragic case of what the mainstream media dubbed the "Halo Killer" came to a resolution of sorts. According to a report from local Fox TV affiliate WJW-TV, an Ohio judge sentenced 17-year-old Daniel Petric to 23 years to life for fatally shooting his 43-year-old mother in October 2007. Petric was convicted of the crime back in January, but was spared the death penalty because of his age.

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Both Petric's defense attorneys and prosecutors blamed the crime on the teen's "addiction" to the game Halo 3. His lawyers claimed that the teen had become obsessed with the game after playing it constantly while incapacitated for months following an injury. Pleading an insanity defense, they argued he would forgo food and sleep to play the game for up to 18 hours a day, creating a mental state where he didn't think death was permanent.

"The playing of the video games and the reality of shooting somebody in his case was blinded; it was merged," defense attorney James Kersey reportedly argued. "He had no thoughts during this process. During this time, he was blinded that his parents might be dead; that they might never come back."

When Petric's parents began to limit his time playing the game, he became distraught. According to a January Associated Press report, the teen planned the murder for weeks before entering his parents' bedroom and shooting them both in the head. Petric reportedly said "Close your eyes, I've got a surprise for you," before pulling the trigger and then altering the crime scene to make it look like a murder-suicide. He then fled with the game.

"His addiction was so strong, was running rampant in a tired, exhausted young man, that anybody or anything that stood between him playing the video game and not having his way was in peril," Kersey said of Petric's state of mind during the killings.

Petric's 45-year-old father, a local minister, survived his wounds and was in court supporting his son throughout the trial. Judge James Burge took the father's pleas for leniency into account in passing the sentence, which will make the younger Petric eligible for parole in the year 2032. Burge also pinned much of the blame on games themselves, voicing his wishes that game addiction be studied further.

"I feel confident that if there were no such thing as violent video games, I wouldn't know Daniel Petric," said the judge.

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