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Criminal Lies About GTA; D.C. Radio Station Spreads It

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You know how in Grand Theft Auto you can drive around swatting pedestrians with an open car door? Yes? No? Doesn't matter, a teen headed to jail for doing that blamed it on the game.

The prosecutor in the case of Nathan Hartley, convicted of "door-checking" two Maryland kids and sent to jail for 7 years, says he didn't bring up any GTA angle in this case. He said that was the strategy Hartley's lawyers took in an attempt to get the proceeding kicked back down to juvenile court. But it hasn't stopped mainstream outlets like Galaxy News Radio WTOP-FM of Washington from mentioning completely untrue bullshit in its report on the crime:

In the popular game "Grand Theft Auto," players drive virtual cars and intentionally hit pedestrians by smacking them with open car doors. It's called "door checking," and prosecutors say 18-year-old Nathan Hartley decided to try it with a real car last summer.


PS3Attitude actually called the prosecutor, John Mark McDonald, to ask WTF, and McDonald said video games had nothing to do with his side of the case. Said McDonald:

The suggestion came through the Defendant. I have never seen Grand Theft Auto, and had never heard of ‘door-checking' until this case. It was a defense he set forth in attempting to waive his case back to the juvenile court. The State did not introduce the game into the prosecution of this case. It added nothing. My comments on the game were to rebut his reasoning for doing what he did.

I did not suggest that the game was to blame for his conduct, and would not. The blame lies entirely with Nathan Hartley. I stated as much in court. As I indicated, I have never even seen the game and I was not passing any judgment on the game. I was simply arguing why I felt his justification was not valid.


In case you are wondering, Hartley struck his victims at 30 mph - they were two brothers, one 11 years old, the other 15. The incident occurred on Maryland's Eastern Shore last August.

I've heard of lots of things blamed on video games, but usually the crime committed at least had some tenuous connection to actual acts performed in one - shooting, typically. It's quite another to completely misrepresent what a game does, even if it's the defendant's side of the story. There's no "on the other hand" about facts, unless you just want to be a stenographer for straight garbage, which is what WTOP is in this case.

GTA 'Door-Checking' Case Prosecutor; "The Blame Lies Entirely with Nathan Hartley" [PS3 Attitude, thanks Parker.]