Daniel Petric (born August 24, 1991) is a convicted murderer from Wellington, Ohio. At age 16, Petric shot both of his parents when his father confiscated his copy of the video game Halo 3. His mother was killed in the attack while his father was badly injured, but managed to make a recovery.
|Born||August 24, 1991|
|Parent(s)||Mark and Susan Petric|
|Conviction(s)||January 12, 2009|
|Penalty||Life sentence with parole available after 23 years|
|Date||October 20, 2007|
|Weapons||9mm Taurus PT92|
|October 20, 2007|
The controversy between Daniel and his parents began when they forbade Daniel from buying and playing the game Halo 3, due to their beliefs that the content of the video game was too extreme in tone for a 16-year-old boy. Petric's sister, Heidi Petric, testified in court that Daniel never played the game until he contracted a staphylococcus infection from a snow skiing injury and was housebound. Petric was introduced to the Halo franchise while visiting his friend's house, leading him to want a copy for himself. His father, Mark Petric, was a minister at the New Life Assembly of God in Wellington. Both parents objected to the idea of their son playing a violent video game and did not find it appropriate for him. Mark later claimed he told Daniel that if he were to buy any violent video games whatsoever, he would get rid of them, which did not sit well with Daniel. Mark testified that Daniel would regularly sneak out of the house at night without either parent's knowledge and purchase the violent video games that his parents didn't approve of, and he also used this method to purchase Halo 3 shortly after its release. While housebound, Daniel would sometimes play the game for up to 18 hours at a time without taking a break. His mother, Susan eventually caught him playing the game and informed Mark, which led him to confiscate the game from Daniel for going against his parents' wishes. Mark locked the game in a safe cabinet that also concealed his 9mm Taurus PT-92 handgun.
On October 20, 2007, about one week after the game was confiscated, Daniel used his father's key to unlock the safe and take it back, also taking his father's handgun. Court reports stated that Daniel came up behind his parents as they were relaxing on their couch in the living room and said: “Would you close your eyes, I have a surprise for you.” Daniel then proceeded to shoot both of his parents. His father said that “his head went numb and he saw blood pouring down from his skull.”  Daniel shot his mother in the head, arms, and chest, killing her. In court, his father testified that after Daniel shot both of his parents, he tried to make the event look like a murder-suicide by placing the gun in his father's hand whilst saying to him, “Hey dad, here’s your gun. Take it.” A few minutes later, his sister and her husband, Heidi and Andrew Archer, came over for their prior plans of watching a baseball game together. Daniel lied to them that they should not come in because their parents had been fighting. Then, they heard groaning and pushed their way through to find the aftermath of the shooting. Heidi called the police, and before they got there Daniel made an escape attempt by driving off in the family's van with the Halo 3 game in the passenger seat. The police caught up with him and forced him out of the van via roadblock. When the police were arresting him, he yelled: "My Dad shot my Mom!"
Daniel's trial was held on December 15, 2008 at Lorain County Common Pleas in front of Judge James Burge. No jury was present at the trial.[why?] His defense attorney, James Kersey, claimed that because of the enormous amount of stress put on him due to his severe infection, Daniel was much more susceptible to being influenced by the game. He argued that Daniel was not in the right state of mind to understand the finality of shooting his parents. He had been playing the game so long that he did not comprehend the fact that death was real and permanent. The prosecuting attorney disagreed, and said that Daniel showed no remorse for his actions and that he had tried to set up the shootings as suicide by placing the gun in his father's hand. Daniel was tried for murder. Due to his age, Daniel could not have been sentenced to death. The judge sentenced him to life in prison with the possibility of parole after 23 years, which was the minimum sentence. The maximum sentence Daniel faced was life in prison without parole, which was what the prosecuting attorney recommended for him. The case has been highlighted in papers and articles regarding video game addiction and video game violence. Halo 3 publishers Microsoft refused to comment on the case beyond a statement that "[w]e are aware of the situation and it is a tragic case." Petric is currently imprisoned in the Grafton Correctional Institution.
- Peckham, Matt (March 2009). "Games No Murder Defense". PC World. 27 (3): 16. ProQuest 231527359.
- Caniglia, John (2009-06-17). "Wellington teen Daniel Petric gets 23 years for killing mom, shooting dad". Plain Dealer Reporter. Archived from the original on 2011-06-07. Retrieved 2010-03-23.
- Turner, Karl (2008-12-16). "17-year-old accused of killing mother over Halo 3 video game may get verdict soon". The Plain Dealer. Retrieved 2010-03-23.
- Newel, David, "The Negatives of Video Games on Society" (PDF), in Clemens, Tyler (ed.), Ethics Project, Rogaway, retrieved 2010-03-31
- "Teen killed mother in Halo 3 row". BBC News. 2009-01-13. Retrieved November 9, 2014.