Daniel Petric, the teenager who killed his mother and wounded his father after they refused to let him play Halo 3, has been sentenced to life in prison.
Petric purchased a copy of Halo 3 and tried to sneak it into his house despite being told by his parents that he wasn’t allowed to own or play the game. They caught him and took the game away; in response, Petric shot them with a 9 mm handgun his father kept in an unlocked lock box, killing his mother and severely wounding his father, and then tried to pin the murder on his father.
Petric’s attorneys admitted their client had pulled the trigger but shifted the blame onto his youth and “videogame addiction,” which they said diminished his responsibility for the crime. The judge in the case rejected the claim as a valid defense when he found Petric guilty of aggravated murder and attempted aggravated murder and despite a request for leniency from the teen’s father sentenced him today to life in prison for the attack, with eligibility for parole in 23 years.
Interestingly, the judge did express serious reservations about the impact of videogames on the mental well-being of kids in January when he announced the guilty verdict and said he believed they were in large part responsible for turning Petric into a killer. “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,” he said. “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.”
The judge also implied at the time that he didn’t necessarily consider the guilty verdict the end of the matter. “I believe there is hope here,” he continued. “I believe that it will start here and at some point, when all is known about Daniel and what occurred here, we will be able to achieve a greater sense of justice.”