The attorney of a man accused of firebombing three synagogues in the U.S. says videogames may have “taken over” his client and driven him to commit the crimes.
It’s been awhile since we had a good “games made me do it” story, so settle in and listen while I tell you the tale of 19-year-old Anthony Graziano, who stands accused of firebombing three synagogues in New Jersey. No one was seriously injured in the attacks but one of the incendiary devices thrown by Graziano went through the window of a rabbi’s residence, burning him on the hand.
Speaking outside the court yesterday, Graziano’s lawyer said his client suffered from mental health issues and played violent videogames on his Xbox. “This is someone who may [have been], with their own problems they have within their own head, taken over by these games that young people play now – lots of violence, lots of meanness,” he said.
“When you have emotional, psychiatric, psychological problems and you get involved in these games, the whole aura of it pervades, and it’s not a game anymore,” he added. “It becomes reality.”
But Bergen County Prosecutor John Molinelli doesn’t appear to be buying into the theory. “We have no doubt that the arson and the attempted murder in Rutherford were directly the result of Mr. Graziano’s hatred for people of the Jewish faith,” he said. “We believe that he did this because they were synagogues and specifically to intimidate and cause alarm or concern to people of the Jewish community.”
The police say Graziano acted alone and had no connection to the synagogues he attacked; he apparently just Googled temples that were close enough to reach on his bicycle. He faces charges of first-degree attempted murder, bias intimidation and aggravated arson, among other things, and is currently being held on $2.5 million bail.