The defense attorney for a 19-year-old New Jersey man under arrest for the firebombing of several New Jersey synagogues is blaming video games for his behavior. According to lawyer Robert Kalisch, Anthony Graziano's unstable mental health was undermined by violent video games played on his Xbox:
"This is someone who may be, with their own problems they have within their own head, been taken over by these games that young people play now — lots of violence, lots of meanness," Kalisch said.
The bombings in question happened earlier in January when a Paramus synagogue was firebombed on January 3rd, followed by another incident at a temple in the Rutherford section of New Jersey. The prosecutor on the case with said that Graziano is "hell-bent on destruction and murder." The charges against Graziano include nine counts of first degree attempted murder, one count of first degree Bias Intimidation and one count of first degree Aggravated Arson. Kalisch also commented that "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. It becomes reality."
No specific mention was made of what games Graziano had been playing. Kotaku's reached out to the Bergen County prosecutor's office, who had no comment on the case. Attempts to contact Graziano's defense attorney were unsuccessful.
Synagogue Firebombings Blamed on Violent Video Games
[NBC 4 New York]
[Photo credit: Bergen County Prosecutor's Office]