Out of Harm's Way by Jack Thompson
17 year-old Daniel Petric was sentenced to 23 years to life in prison for killing his mother and injuring his father after Halo 3 was taken away from him. The prosecution had asked for the maximum sentence in the case, but Petric avoided a life term. The prosecution had argued that Petric showed no remorse, but according to Mark Petric, Daniel's most frequent statement was "Dad, I miss mom. I miss mom". Petric's defense team argued that both his age, and his obsession with Halo made him less aware of his situation, and therefore less culpable in the murder / attempted murder of his parents.
It's said that Petric played Halo 3 up to 18 hours a day. During the trial, Petric's sister testified that Daniel had become addicted to video games when he became house-bound with a staph infection after a snowboarding injury.
It's very important to note that in this case, not only did the parents understand the ESRB rating on Halo, they expressly forbade Petric to purchase the game. Daniel Petric snuck out of his house to buy the game. When it was discovered that he purchased the game against his parents wishes, the game was taken away from the boy. His father, a local minister, put the game into a lockbox. Upon receiving this punishment, Daniel Petric snapped.
On the day of the murders, according to trial records, Petric called his parents into the living room and asked them to shut their eyes because he had a suprise for them. He then shot both of his parents with his dad's gun. He attempted to make the murder look like a murder-suicide pact.
The judge in the case believed that Petric was obsessed with the video game, to the point that Petric couldn't understand that death was real. When asked about the motivation for the killing, Petric himself didn't understand why he killed his parents. To quote the judge: "I firmly believe that Daniel Petric had no idea at the time he hatched this plot that if he killed his parents that they would be dead forever."
During sentencing, Petric attempted to address the judge, but could not - he broke down sobbing. Daniel Petric was tried as an adult, and was convicted in October of 2007. He'll be elegible for parole in 2031.
Daniel Petric's mother, Susan Petric, was 43 when she was murdered. She was a mother of two, an upstanding member of New Life Assembly of God in Wellington, and was mourned in court by her loved ones during Daniel's sentencing.