Punk kid hits people with car doors, Grand Theft Auto blamed

You know the drill by now. Some filthy little sh*thead decides to be antisocial and delinquent, then tries to dodge accountability by blaming videogames, something he knows will deflect the blame in the eyes of reactionary, out-of-touch adults. Such is the case of Maryland teen Nathan Hartley, who rammed two kids with the door of a speeding car, and is accusing Grand Theft Auto of teaching him how to “door-check.”

Naturally, the mainstream press jumped on the story, basically making up “facts” about GTA: “In the popular game Grand Theft Auto, players drive virtual cars and intentionally hit pedestrians by smacking them with open car doors. It’s called “door checking,” and prosecutors say 18-year-old Nathan Hartley decided to try it with a real car last summer.”

Uh … yeah. I don’t remember that ever being in GTA, but I’m sure the fine folks at WTOP-FM know more about the game than I do.

Interestingly, PS3Attitude contacted Hartley’s prosecutor John Mark McDonald, who confirmed that the defendent tried to blame games, but that such silly claims were never deemed valid. Despite the inane nonsense spouted by WTOP-FM, the prosecution hadn’t considered videogames to be a factor at all. You can hit the jump for McDonald’s response to this chicanery.

The suggestion came through the Defendant. I have never seen Grand Theft Auto, and had never heard of ‘door-checking’ until this case. It was a defense he set forth in attempting to waive his case back to the juvenile court. The State did not introduce the game into the prosecution of this case. It added nothing. My comments on the game were to rebut his reasoning for doing what he did.

I did not suggest that the game was to blame for his conduct, and would not. The blame lies entirely with Nathan Hartley. I stated as much in court. As I indicated, I have never even seen the game and I was not passing any judgment on the game. I was simply arguing why I felt his justification was not valid.

Nathan was trying to get the case bumped back down to juvenile court, but was unsuccessful and has been sentenced to seven years in jail.

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James Stephanie Sterling
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