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10 MURDERS BLAMED ON VIDEO GAMES

10. WARREN LEBLANC
14-year-old Stefan Pakeerah was brutally murdered in 2004, when his friend - 17 year-old Warren Leblanc - attacked him with a claw hammer. A criminal hearing found that the attack strikingly mimicked Manhunt, a video game where players score points for violent killings, which Leblanc had become obsessed with. The victim’s mother, Giselle Pakeerah, has since led a determined campaign to have the game banned. Leblanc was sentenced to life imprisonment, due to serve a minimum of 13 years. Sources: BBC, Telegraph, The Guardian, Independent.

9. HEATHER TRUJILLO AND LAMAR ROBERTS
16 year-old Heather Trujillo and her 17 year-old boyfriend, Lamar Roberts, were avid fans of video game franchise, Mortal Kombat. In 2007, the couple decided to reenact the brutal violence of the game… on Trujillo’s 7 year-old sister, Zoe. Showing off his self-professed martial arts expertise, Roberts savagely punched and kicked the little girl and then slammed her to the ground. After Zoe stopped breathing, the pair made efforts to resuscitate her, but she died soon after. Trujillo and Roberts were sentenced in 2009 to a combined 54 years in prison. Sources: CBS News, Denver Post, Kotaku, Abuse Angels.

8. THE MURDER OF MARIE SMOTHERS
In 2013, an 8 year-old boy from Louisiana fatally shot his 87 year-old caregiver, Marie Smothers. Investigations discovered that the boy had been playing Grand Theft Auto moments before the killing, a game unsuitable for players under the age of 18. Initial suspicions were that the child had got hold of Smothers’ gun and had fired it by accident. However, forensics concluded that the shot - fired through the back of the victim’s head - was deliberate. Because of his age, the boy was exempt from all charges, and returned home shortly after his attack. Sources: Edition, Inquisitr, Newsone, CNN.

7. SPARKS MIDDLE SCHOOL SHOOTING
In 2013, 12 year-old Jose Reyes opened fire on students at his middle school in Nevada, killing one of his teachers, before shooting himself in the head. The subsequent trial discovered that Reyes often spent hours playing video games. A shocking 47 of the 69 games in his collection were of a violent nature, meant for much older players. Reyes also had an unnerving fascination with the Columbine High School Massacre. He owned pictures of the killers and had searched online for a ‘Super Columbine Massacre Role Playing Game’. Sources: New York Daily News, CNN, ABC News.

6. EVAN RAMSEY
In 1997, 16 year-old Evan Ramsey snuck a shotgun into Bethel Regional High School, Alaska. He brutally shot the principal and another student dead, as well as wounding two others. During his trial, Ramsey claimed that his perception of reality had been distorted by the video game Doom. He said, ‘I did not understand that if I pull out a gun and shoot you… you’re not getting back up. You shoot a guy in Doom, and he gets back up.’ In 1998, Ramsey was sentenced to two 99-year prison sentences. Sources: ABC News, Time, Wayback Machine.

5. DEVIN MOORE
Devin Moore, from Alabama, sparked controversy around video game, Grand Theft Auto when he committed a triple murder that was apparently inspired by the game. In 2003, Moore killed two policemen and a radio dispatcher, before fleeing the scene in a stolen police car. Upon capture, Moore allegedly said ‘Life is a video game. Everybody’s got to die sometime’. Two years later, Moore was sentenced to death by lethal injection. Sources: CNN, The Gadsden Times, The Register.

4. HEATH HIGH SCHOOL SHOOTING
In 1997, 14 year-old Michael Carneal opened fire on a group of praying students, killing three and injuring five more. It emerged that Carneal was addicted to numerous violent games, including Doom, Quake and Mortal Kombat. Witnesses stated that the killer never moved his feet during the shootings, firing only when targets appeared in front of him. His trance-like state has been compared to someone playing a video game, shooting everything that popped up on screen. Carneal pleaded guilty in 1998 and received a life sentence. Sources: National Research Council, The New York Times, Kentucky Department of Corrections.

3. THE WASHINGTON NAVY YARD SHOOTING
Lone gunman Aaron Alexis killed 12 people at the Washington Navy Yard in 2013, before being shot dead by police. Close friends of Alexis believe he could have been drawn towards such violence by his video game obsession. He would reportedly spend up to 16 hours at a time, engrossed in various first-person shooter's including Call of Duty and apocalyptic zombie games. One friend said that video gaming had fueled Alexis’ paranoia to the point that he carried a gun with him at all times, even when at work in a restaurant. Sources: Telegraph, Deseret News, BBC.

2. COLUMBINE HIGH SCHOOL MASSACRE
The 1999 Columbine High School Massacre, was a mass school shooting, in which senior students Eric Harris and Dylan Klebold mercilessly murdered 12 students and 1 teacher, before committing suicide. Both teenagers were keen players of violent video games, including Doom, Wolfenstein 3D and Duke Nukem. Harris even designed some levels for Doom, that are still accessible online. A widespread rumor also states that the killer created a video game mockup of the targeted high school, which he and Klebold used to plan for their crime. Sources: BBC, The New York Times, History.com.

1. 2011 NORWAY ATTACKS
On July 22 2011, Anders Behring Breivik committed two terrorist attacks that killed 77 people, many of whom were teenagers. Breivik was motivated by his extreme fascist opposition to what he called the ‘Islamisation of Norway’. In both his manifesto and his trial, Breivik detailed how he trained for the brutal shooting using a holographic aiming device, while playing first-person shooter game Call of Duty. He praised such games for being so realistic that ‘you could have given it to your grandmother and she would have been a super marksman.’

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