Detectives Explore Video Game Fantasy As Motive For Brutal Teen Murder

Illustration for article titled Detectives Explore Video Game Fantasy As Motive For Brutal Teen Murder

Detectives in Seattle look to Dungeons and Dragons Online for answers to why, according to police, an 18-year-old high school student choked a 16-year-old developmentally disabled teen girl to death last Tuesday. Warning, the details of the crime are disturbing.

Police say Tyler Wolfegang Savage admitted to authorities that he lured Kimberly "Kimmie" Daily to a brushy area near his house in Puyallup, Washington on Tuesday, August 17. He told detectives that she tried to leave after 15 to 20 minutes, at which point he grabbed her from behind and choked her to death. After the victim was killed, Savage said he stripped her of her clothes, carried her into a patch of brambles, and put her bicycle on top of her. He later admitted to touching the body before disposing of it.

He then told investigators he went home and played Dungeons and Dragons Online to help him forget about what he had done.

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Authorities say they have no doubt that Savage perpetrated this crime. Not only did he confess, he also led detectives to the body. The only question now is why.

Detectives are looking into Savage's Dungeons and Dragons Online habit for potential answers.

Dungeons and Dragons Online is a free-to-play massively multiplayer role-playing game in which players take on the roles of fantasy characters, going on quests and battling fantasy creatures to gain levels and equipment. It bears noting to those not familiar with the game that it does not involve overt depictions of choking or rape.

Pierce County Prosecutor Mark Lindquist explains the reasoning behind the investigation into a gaming connection.

"The defendant admitted some kind of connection between the murder and the video game," Lindquist said. "I'm not clear at this point what exactly that connection is. The defendant himself said he went to play video games to forget."

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While detectives consult with an expert on sexually violent fantasies to investigate the video game connection, Savage's defense attorney says the connection is pure speculation.

"What if there's a chemical or organic imbalance or something physically wrong, identifiably medically wrong with his brain that caused this to happen?" said defense attorney Jay Berneburg.

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Investigators are making one thing perfectly clear: They aren't looking to blame the video game for the crime. They're simply trying to understand what makes a teenager with no prior criminal record suddenly commit such a heinous crime.

Neighbors and classmates describe Savage as a "good kid," and a "class clown," expressing shock that the teen could commit such a crime. Jenny Berto, a 35-year-old neighbor of Savage, says the event threw her for a complete loop.

"He's a good kid," Berto said of Savage, who wanted to be a video game tester and inventor. "He's a gamer."

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Savage has been charged with aggravated first-degree murder, the highest crime in the state of Washington. Prosecutor Pierce informed Savage that he may seek the death penalty for the crime. The only other punishment available for the crime is life in prison without possibility of release.

A plea of not guilty was entered on Savage's behalf by Superior Court Commissioner Patrick Oishi. He is being held without bond.

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We've contacted Dungeons and Dragons Online developer Turbine for comment on this story, and will update should we receive a response.

Update: Turbine declined comment on this story.

Seattle: Savage, says he killed then raped disabled teen, plays video games to forget [Examiner.com]
Detectives: Murder motive may have been video game fantasy [Seattle PI]
Savage admits killing, sex with corpse of disabled teen; friend says he's 'trustworthy, good kid' [Examiner.com]

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DISCUSSION

Uhg, here we go again. One murder by a guy who plays D&D and we're back to the whole "Oh no! D&D is evil" argument.

Here's a little fact for you, almost all school shooting were committed by kids who..... WENT TO SCHOOL! Yeah! That can only mean that that school promotes kids to commit acts of violence! I mean it's as clear as day, there must be direct correlation.

I mean this is just one murder out of how many this past week? Probably thousands, if not more (such a wonderful species we are).

Lets do some math real quick. Now figure out how many people world wide play D&D. Now figure how many of those D&D players have chemical imbalances. Now figure how many twilight fans, harry potter fans, pokemon fans, Emo music fans and Justin Bieber fans all have emotional disorders (bipolar is on the rise in the US!).

Clearly this is an issue of perception, not an issue of D&D makes people evil.

I mean I'm not saying that he didn't murder the girl because of some messed up D&D related thing, it's entirely possible that was some how worked into it all. I'm just saying it pisses me off when these isolated acts become the poster child for the conformists to justify their bigotry towards people who have recreation activities and interests that differ from there own.

I mean when you heard about girl who committed suicided over twilight we never had some kinda cultural uproar about twilight and it's effect on a population of your girls who are exhibiting more emotional issues than ever before, no you know why? I'll tel you why, because Twilight is mainstream and good and thus it's exempt form being the scape goat of a society too immature to acknowledge it's own faults.