A teen who shot and killed his mother and wounded his minister father was sentenced to 23 years in prison yesterday for crimes rooted in his obsession with video games with violent themes.
Daniel Petric, 17, who could have gotten life without parole, shook his head slightly, sniffled and held back tears but sat down without saying a word when given the chance by Lorain County Common Pleas Judge James Burge.
Petric's eyes were red from crying when his father, Mark Petric, asked the judge to be lenient and said his son regrets killing his mother and reminds his father often that he is glad his father survived.
As for his mother, Daniel Petric's frequent comment is "Dad, I miss mom. I miss mom," the father said.
"He still does not understand why he did something so terrible," Mark Petric told the judge.
The prosecution disputed the contention that Petric had shown remorse for the crimes and asked for the maximum sentence.
Besides his father, Petric's sister, grandfather and other family members attended the hearing in Elyria, about 30 kilometres southwest of Cleveland. Some wiped away tears.
Petric was convicted of shooting his parents in October 2007 after they took the game "Halo 3" away from him. The judge, who heard the case without a jury, said at the time of the verdict that the teen was so obsessed over a video game that he may have believed that, like the characters in the game, death wasn't real.
The defence claimed his age and addiction to the game made him less responsible.
In the video game "Halo 3," players shoot alien monsters that have taken over the Earth.
At the trial, Mark Petric testified that his son came into the room and asked his parents: "Would you guys close your eyes? I have a surprise for you."
The father testified that he expected a pleasant surprise. Then his head went numb from a gunshot.
His wife, Susan, 43, died of a gunshot wound to the head.
The prosecution said Daniel Petric then tried to make the shootings look like a murder and attempted suicide. He shoved the gun into his father's hand and said, "Hey Dad, here's your gun. Take it," Mark Petric testified.Reuse content