"Halo Killer" Daniel Petric was found guilty of shooting his parents, in the event killing his 43-year-old mother, back in September 2007 for keeping him from playing Halo 3, and was sentenced to serve 23 years in prison. Judge James Burge of Lorain County, Ohia set down the ruling yesterday, despite the insanity plea put forth by the defense.
Daniel's lawyer, James Kersey, was reported to have argued that it was because of his video game addiction which led him to plan the shooting of his parents that fateful eve.
"The playing of the video games and the reality of shooting somebody in his case was blinded; it was merged. 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."
While the judge did not find the defense's evidence sufficient to rule in favor of the insanity plea, he did agree that Petric does suffer from a "serious defect of the mind" and that his videogame addiction played a crucial role in his committed crime.
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.
Petric's father, the surviving victim of the shooting, were there to support his son all throughout, pleading with the judge for some leniency considering that he was only 16 when the crime was committed. This plea was acknowledged by the judge and so Daniel would be eligible for parole by 2032 instead of serving for life.
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