Daniel Petric, a teenager from Ohio was charged and found guilty for aggravated murder and attempted aggravated murder for killing his mother and wounding his father in Oct 20, 2007 because they wouldn’t let him play Halo 3.
Daniel was 16 when he snuck out of the house to buy Halo 3 after his parents told him he was not allowed to play it. His father, Mark Petric 45, forbade him to play it because it is very violent in nature and sexually explicit. Halo is a violent first person shooter. He was caught with the game on his way back and his father put away the game in a lockbox in their closet. Unfortunately this is the same box they kept their 9mm handgun.
A month later, Daniel took his father’s key and took both the game and the gun. Prosecutors described the situation by saying Daniel Petric then went to his parents room while concealing the weapon and said “Would you close your eyes? I have a surprise for you.”
His father, Mark Petric testified that he was expecting something pleasant but instead went numb. All he remember was that later Daniel was putting the gun into his hands saying “Hey Dad, here’s your gun. Take it”.
His father only survived because his daughter, Heidi Archer and her husband, Andrew, happen to come over to watch a baseball game. Unfortunately Susan Petric, the mother of Daniel, died of the gunshot wound to the head. She was shot in the head, arms and chest.
Heidi and Andrew testified that Daniel told them not to go in because “Mom and Dad had a big argument”. They pushed their way in anyhow and found the elder Petric badly wounded but was able to hear him say that his son had shot him. Daniel in turn tried to blame the father. As Heidi called 911, Daniel picked up the handgun but it was immediately taken away by her husband. Daniel gave it up without much resistance. He then fled the scene. He was picked up by the police with Halo 3 still in his possession.
Petric’s sister, Holly, testified that Daniel had become addicted to video games while stuck at home after getting staph infection due to a snowboarding injury. One of Daniel’s friends, Jonathan Johnson, testified that Daniel was so obsessed with the Halo series that he would come over to play 7-8 hours a day. One weekend, the week before the shootings, he played 16-18 hours a day only pausing to eat, sleep and use the restroom. Mark Petric said that he and his son had a great relationship but that he had to put his foot down when it came to his obsession with this game.
The defense tried to dispute that daniel committed aggravated murder because it requires prior calculation and design. His lawyer, James Kersey, said the shooting was not planned. They pleaded insanity because he was under the influence of “Halo 3”. The prosecutor Tony Cillo argued that Daniel was fully aware of what he was doing and that he had told the forensic psychologist he had plotted this shooting a week before including making it appear like a murder suicide.
Mark Petric, a minister, still frequently visits his son in jail. He said that his son did apologize for what he did has said to him “Dad, I’m so sorry for what I did to Mom, to you and to the family. I’m so glad you are alive.” Mark had testified that his mom’s relationship with Daniel was very close. Since then the family has forgiven him for what he had done and one day hopes to have him return home. THe family did ask Judge Burge to acquit him. During the pronouncement of the sentence, Mark told his son “I love you, Danny”.
Daniel faces up to a life in prison without parole
- What is your initial reaction to the fact that a boy shot his parents over his obsession over a video game?
- Was the Father right to refuse to let his child play a game he found to be inappropriate considering his growing obsession?
- What are your thoughts on the defense pleading “insanity” because of Halo 3?
- Thoughts about the family forgiving him?