Detectives investigating the rape and murder of a mentally-handicapped girl “aren’t blaming a game” but have nonetheless suggested that the killer may have been “acting out a violent fantasy from Dungeons & Dragons.”
A bit of background: Last week, 18-year-old Tyler Wolfegang Savage killed and sexually assaulted his mentally-disabled 16-year-old neighbor, Kimberly “Kimmie” Daily, who had left her home in Puyallup to go visit a friend. Savage confessed to the crime and led police to the body, and also told them that after the murder, he went to a friend’s house and played Dungeons & Dragons Online “to forget.”
It’s an awfully thin connection to gaming, certainly not enough to warrant mention on a site like this, but as sometimes happens in such cases, the police got a whiff of an easy explanation and have apparently decided to run with it. Although Savage said he played the game after committing the crime, presumably as a distraction from the horror of what he’d done, police are now looking into whether the game “somehow became his point of reference on reality.”
“Savage’s previously clean record has detectives wondering what set him off to allegedly murder a girl with mental disabilities,” according to a Seattle PI report. “One theory is something Savage told them about: His passion for video games, and how they help him cope.” The report further noted that while investigators aren’t placing the blame for the attack on videogames, they are working with an expert in sexually violent fantasies “to explore the videogame motive.”
“The defendant admitted some kind of connection between the murder and the videogame,” Prosecutor Mark Lindquist said. “I’m not clear at this point what exactly that connection is. The defendant himself said he went to play videogames to forget.”
There’s probably some clinical explanation for how a videogame could both inspire a vicious murder and help the perpetrator forget about it, but Savage gave no indication that the game was anything more than a way to block out the memory of his horrific crime, much the way other people might get drunk out of their heads or immerse themselves in some other activity. Even his lawyer called the videogame link “pure speculation and a rush to judgment.” But people like easy answers and in the eyes of the police, at least, it looks like videogames are still a good place to find them.