Lawyer vows to prove link between video games and murder

'Blood on the hands' of Rockstar, Sony et al, says Thompson

Outspoken attorney Jack Thompson has said he will win the civil case brought against the publisher of Grand Theft Auto: Vice City and others by the families of policemen shot dead in Fayette, Alabama in 2003, allegedly by a youth obsessed with the video game.

A jury this week declared Devin Moore, 20, guilty of the murder of police officers Arnold Strickland and James Crump, and civilian police worker Leslie Mealer. Moore had pleaded not guilty by reason of mental defect.

Thompson represents the familes of the victims, who launched a civil action against GTA:VC publishser Take-Two Interactive, game retailers GameStop and Wal-mart, and PlayStation producer Sony in February this year.

After being arrested for the triple homicide, Moore was alleged to have said: "Life is a videogame. Everybody has to die some time."

Moore is known to have spent many hours playing GTA:VC, dubbed a "murder simulator" by Thompson.

"Moore rehearsed, hour after hour, the cop-killing scenarios in that hyper-violent video game," Thompson said. "The makers, distributors, and retailers of that murder simulator equipped Moore to kill as surely as if they had handed him the gun to do it.

"Blood is on the hands of men in certain corporate board rooms from Japan to New York."

In an email sent to The Register Thomspon said: "The video game defense was not used in [Moore's trial], as the defense counsel decided not to retain any expert witnesses on the issue.

"We have the experts, and we shall win our civil case on the issue."

Moore's prosecution, in part, relied on the failure of the defense to produce expert witnesses to back up their claim of diminished responsibility. "Did you hear any expert tell you anything about a video game contributing to these crimes?" Prosecutor Chris McCool asked the jury during his closing comments.

"Not a single one of the surviving family members is saying that Devin Moore is not responsible, in every sense, for what he did," said Thompson. "They would be the last ones to say that. What they are saying is that there is plenty of blame to go around, and some of it falls on Sony, Take-Two/Rockstar, Wal-Mart, and GameStop."

Miami-based Thompson has long been a vocal critic of video games that portray sex and violence. Most recently, he dubbed EA's Sim 2 game a "paedophile's paradise" because some characters take showers in the nude. While their privates are discreetly out of focus, Thompson claimed it was possible to hack the game to ensure the pixellated pudenda are clearly visible, and this it was possible to do so with child characters.

EA denied the allegation, stating the genitals are invisible, even if the blur is removed. ®

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