Defense attorneys for 17-year-old Daniel Petric, who stands accused of killing his mother and shooting his father in the head, argued yesterday that the teen's video game addiction directly led to the incident.
In order to support Petric's insanity plea, his lawyers spent Tuesday building up his video game addiction, with his sister testifying that he became addicting following being housebound due to a staph infection following a serious skiing accident. Another character witness, Daniel's 17-year-old friend Jonathan Johnson, explained that Petric was so obsessed with the Halo games that he would spend large amounts of time at Johnson's house playing them. One marathon session took place a week before the shooting, during a time when Petric's father had kicked him out of the house over an argument following the fight.
In effect it was a rather weak defense. Not only did it show no direct correlation between playing the game and shooting his parents, it served to stress the fact that the relationship between Petric and his father had been stressed before the shooting occurred. Furthermore, when Assistant Lorain County Prosecutor Tony Cillo cross-examined Johnson, asking him if he believed Halo 3 was the reason Petric shot his parents, the teen answered, "No."
It was also revealed that Daniel Petric told adolescent forensic psychologist Steven Neuhas during a pre-trial mental health evaluation that he had thought about killing his parents during the weeks leading up to the crime. Between that and his attempt to make the crime scene look like a murder-suicide between his parents, I very much doubt the insanity plea is going to hold any water.
With Daniel having waived the right to a trial by jury, it is now up to County Common Pleas Judge James Burge to render a verdict, which will be announced on January 7th.
Lawyers to make closing remarks in Daniel Petric murder trial [Cleveland.com]
Psychologist: Petric spoke about shooting parents before killing [The Chronicle-Telegram]