Teenagers Kill Child in "Mortal Kombat" Murder

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Teenagers Kill Child in "Mortal Kombat" Murder

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Two teenagers accused of beating a seven-year-old girl to death are said to have been imitating moves taken from Mortal Kombat.

According to a report on CNN, 17-year-old Lamar Roberts and 16-year-old Heather Trujillo were babysitting Trujillo's half-sister, Zoe Garcia, when the violence began. According to Roberts, he was playing videogames in the downstairs of the house while the sisters "wrestled" upstairs, but a witness claimed in an affidavit that Roberts said he had kicked the child. When asked why he didn't stop when the seven-year-old asked him to, Roberts said, "I don't know, I was drunk."

The pair attempted to revive the girl by putting her under running water and attempting CPR before calling 911. She later died at hospital; an autopsy found she had a broken wrist, over 20 bruises, swelling of the brain and bleeding in her neck muscles and under her spine.

While it's unclear whether the pair had actually played Mortal Kombat, a report in the Denver Post said Trujillo claimed they were "acting out" the game, while the Rocky Mountain News quoted police as saying she tripped her sister, "punched her in the stomach, karate chopped her lower arms, punched and pinched the victim's thighs, kicked her in the shins, slapped her stomach and buttocks and poked at the victim's chest." The Rocky Mountain News article went on to quote a report stating that "violent videogames may be more harmful than violent TV and movies because they are interactive, engrossing and require the player to identify with the aggressor."

However, the Denver Post also said that at least four neighbors as well as a school teacher said they suspected the girl had been the victim of ongoing abuse, which they had reported prior to the child's death.

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They don't even look remorseful....just dumb.

What's going through her mind there is not "I killed my sister", it's "when will I be able to hang out with my super-awesome-kung-fu-Bruce-Lee-Chuck-Norris-awesome-muscle-manly-man boyfriend again?"

I don't buy the Mortal-Kombat-Drunken-Master angle either.

These two geniuses killed that girl because they're beyond retarded. Being drunk doesn't make you a murderer....it doesn't even make you want to kick little girls. Kicking little girls is something you do because you're evil and retarded. I've played Mortal Kombat. And I've also been drunk around little girls and the only thing that enters my mind is to try real hard to make 'em laugh and chase 'em around and talk to them about their toys. The thought never enters my mind to stand them against the wall so I can work out my latest nunchuck/throwing-star/choke-hold combo on them.

Same Mortal Kombat, same alcohol ... the difference is I'm awesome, and this guy is a douche-nozzle embarrassment to kung-fu, Mortal Kombat, gaming and humanity.

I hope they both get a lifetime sentence of being Tony Jaa's punching bags.

I have to agree. Those two are seven levels of douchebag right there.

Rjak:
Kicking little girls is something you do because you're evil and retarded.

Agreed 100%.

I hope these idiots get repaid for their deeds a thousand times over.

Hmph. This is just gonna add needless anti-video game fervor to a problem clearly linked to drinking.

must be that game's fault...people shouldn't be held to their actions...none of that personal responsibility nonsense ... must be that games fault... it's been planning something like this for 10+ years now...

makes me almost wish "The Running Man" was a real show....

Malygris:

While it's unclear whether the pair had actually played Mortal Kombat, a report in the Denver Post said Trujillo claimed they were "acting out" the game, while the Rocky Mountain News quoted police as saying she tripped her sister, "punched her in the stomach, karate chopped her lower arms, punched and pinched the victim's thighs, kicked her in the shins, slapped her stomach and buttocks and poked at the victim's chest."

Wow, because you can definitely do all of those things in the mortal combat games. I especially like Liu Kang's "buttock slap" technique, and Sub-zero's deadly thigh-kick.

Just another hick newspaper trying to draw attention to (and find an easy solution for) a senseless death.

However, the Denver Post also said that at least four neighbors as well as a school teacher said they suspected the girl had been the victim of ongoing abuse, which they had reported prior to the child's death.

Wow, never would've guessed.

Why someone commits a crime is irrelevant. They did it, they admit doing it, sentence them and move on.

You gotta give it to Mortal Kombat, that franchise has managed to stay news worthy for about 15 years now.

They're charged with "Child abuse resulting in death." Their max punishment is 42 years if tried as adults.

That's pretty solid.

Though I am a huge fan of vigilante justice, anyone have a crossbow?

jaredgood1:
Why someone commits a crime is irrelevant. They did it, they admit doing it, sentence them and move on.

Well, for one thing, it is relevant because it speaks to mens rea.

For another, knowing why a crime was committed provides an avenue towards preventing future crimes like it. If videogames actually WERE at fault, it would be useful to know. Similarly, if the cause was alcohol, also useful. Also, if the abuse was encouraged and participated in by the girl's current legal guardians, I think that might be good to know. But that's just me.

i love how as soon as something like this happens no ones willing to accept the fact that they probably have some kind of mental disorder...'normal' people, know the difference between right and wrong, theres usually some kind of thought keeping us from hurting other people...odviously somthing is wrong, but, we all know that goro was a 4 armed child abuser/murderer, allowing for double the abuse in half the time ;]

holy fack, who still plays Mortal Kombat ? Is this implying that the games I played 15 years ago have some kind of death grip on my brain even tho I am a free thinking adult now with a job, responsibilities, and common sense ? I do get this crazy annoying twitch everytime I find myself passing someone on a bridge with spikes underneath it. reality!

Geoffrey42:
Well, for one thing, it is relevant because it speaks to mens rea.

For another, knowing why a crime was committed provides an avenue towards preventing future crimes like it. If videogames actually WERE at fault, it would be useful to know. Similarly, if the cause was alcohol, also useful. Also, if the abuse was encouraged and participated in by the girl's current legal guardians, I think that might be good to know. But that's just me.

I'm in an ideological mood today (which is why I phrased my comment "is irrelevant" rather than "should be irrelevant") and I've always looked at laws as things that establish what behavior is punishable. So basically, the act is what is bad, and the motivation behind it is irelevant (ideologically speaking). And I've never really gotten the whole concept of "preventing crime" (it's just a little too Thought Crime for me). But, as you said, that's just me.

I'm also apparently in a parenthetical mood too...

jaredgood1:
I'm in an ideological mood today (which is why I phrased my comment "is irrelevant" rather than "should be irrelevant") and I've always looked at laws as things that establish what behavior is punishable. So basically, the act is what is bad, and the motivation behind it is irelevant (ideologically speaking). And I've never really gotten the whole concept of "preventing crime" (it's just a little too Thought Crime for me). But, as you said, that's just me.

I'm also apparently in a parenthetical mood too...

Are you trapped in the 17th century? Because that's about when that mindset stopped making sense.

"The Rocky Mountain News article went on to quote a report stating that "violent videogames may be more harmful than violent TV and movies because they are interactive, engrossing and require the player to identify with the aggressor."

dont hate the game - hate the player. in this case a RETARDED player(s). The only plausible explanation for this case is that those two teenagers are mentally unbalanced and i hate it when media look for the easy option and pin it all on a video game; this time and everytime its human error at fault - arghh it makes me so angry >:(

... poor girl

(sigh - craptacular world ftw)

@ jarodgood1
"And I've never really gotten the whole concept of "preventing crime" (it's just a little too Thought Crime for me). But, as you said, that's just me."

OK THEN appears to me you need to rethink that answer. HYPOTHETICALLY SPEAKING: if hannibal lector was lurking around the area in which you live in - and he sent you some mail saying he was going to eat your brain... you would NOT want the law/detectives to prevent this, TRUE? (it's just a little too Thought Crime for me) WTF it's just about SAVING LIVES AND PROTECTING PEOPLE YOU DOU***. i may be going over the top but seriously man... WTF

The elder is 17, and the younger is 16. At 17 you're old enough to drive, many people graduate High School, and you're old enough to join the army (which can, particularly at present, put you in situations where killing others or being killed is a reality). Also, at 17, you can buy any M rated game you want.

So they're drunk, practically adults, possibly with histories of abuse, who killed a kid. evoking the omni-present media boogey man, video games, seems like a desperate grasp by people looking to avoid responsibility and a media who never tires of scapegoats.

Drunk teenagers with a possible history of abuse kill a little girl, and somehow it is a video game's fault. That makes sense.

So wait, what the news are telling us that they imitated Mortal Kombat when they beat her up? So even if they didn't play Mortal Kombat they would still beat her up but without imitating her? And they still accuse the damn game for influencing them to beat someone up? This is becoming more senseless as the years go on.

Ahh, scapegoating. One of man's greatest deficiencies. If the volcano erupts, its because someone's not pleasing the gods. If Germany isn't doing so well economically, it's because the Jews are "stealing jobs." If some dumb teenager commits a violent crime, its because they "trained" on video games.

So if one of these scapegoating morons finds their spouse cheating on them in the living room, doing it on the couch, do they blame the couch?

I wonder when they're going to start blaming martial arts, paintball, and chess ("It encourages people to commit regicide!"). I really would like to see what it would be like if some nutjob were to point the proverbial finger at the bible because "Little Timmy's going to go around crucifying people! Think of the children! Oh won't somebody please think of the children!" Sheer hilarity would ensue. It would be quite lovely.

Holy shit man! It's always the fucking videogames fault, isn't it?

First post btw.

Ha. ^^^^^ EL[ESG], hope you enjoyed your stay here at the escapist, however brief.

jaredgood1:
I'm in an ideological mood today (which is why I phrased my comment "is irrelevant" rather than "should be irrelevant") and I've always looked at laws as things that establish what behavior is punishable. So basically, the act is what is bad, and the motivation behind it is irelevant (ideologically speaking). And I've never really gotten the whole concept of "preventing crime" (it's just a little too Thought Crime for me). But, as you said, that's just me.

To some extent, I'm willing to follow you on the Thought Crime bit, just because I could bring up numerous examples of things where individual's rights to certain things are curtailed by crime prevention methods, even though that individual never would've committed a crime had their rights not been infringed (that sentence is hard for me to parse, even having written it. I am not saying they did commit a crime because their rights were infringed, but simply that had their rights not been infringed, no crime would've taken place either). Personal freedoms are sacrificed to the greater good in order to prevent crime (in many cases). That, I think, is a personal trade-off we all have to deal with, and all have different preferences on, and not something where there is an absolute truth. Me? I'm willing to accept those limitations on my rights in order to live a more carefree life.

On the other hand, with regards to disregarding mens rea, and the act being the only thing that is bad... Are you saying that you think manslaughter and murder are equivalent, because the act is the same? Personally, I think intent matters quite a bit when it comes to categorizing and punishing (or not punishing, as may be the case) a crime.

To the crowd at large: I noticed several comments to the extent of "those kids are just mentally off". That almost seems as cavalier to me as blaming it on the videogames. Saying "People who do bad things are simply wrong in the head" lacks any sort of empathy, and doesn't really help anything at all, except to make you feel warm in fuzzy in knowing that you're okay, and you would never do something like that. "I'm a good boy, I swear. It's just them that is messed up. I could never be them. Because I'm a good boy! See?"

Geoffrey42:
To the crowd at large: I noticed several comments to the extent of "those kids are just mentally off". That almost seems as cavalier to me as blaming it on the videogames. Saying "People who do bad things are simply wrong in the head" lacks any sort of empathy, and doesn't really help anything at all, except to make you feel warm in fuzzy in knowing that you're okay, and you would never do something like that. "I'm a good boy, I swear. It's just them that is messed up. I could never be them. Because I'm a good boy! See?"

To "act out" a violent video game does indeed show that there's something wrong with their heads - that they're unable to distinguish reality from fantasy. Maybe they had some kind of subconscious violent urge within them. Or maybe their parents didn't raise them right. Even if something happened make them susceptible to being "influenced" by some pretend thing like a video game, who's to say that something else (ie. martial arts, paintball, wrestling, chess, the bible, shakespeare, etc.) could not do the same?

Of course, there's always the possibility that they're just sadistic pricks who are too immature to accept responsibility for their actions, and were seeking to use Mortal Kombat as a Get Out of Jail Free Card. If someone's dishonest enough to murder their own sister, they probably wouldn't think twice about trying to shift the blame away from themselves and towards something else ("Durr, Mortal Kombat made me do it!").

To say that they were merely victims of the circumstances surrounding them is a bit of a stretch, especially considering that they were 17 and 16 - well beyond the impressionable first five years of one's life - the period where one needs Mommy and Daddy to tell them that what they see on the big box is just "pretend" things. It certainly doesn't help that they were boozing it up (can't blame the problem entirely on that, though, as Rjak pointed out).

Geoffrey42:
To the crowd at large: I noticed several comments to the extent of "those kids are just mentally off". That almost seems as cavalier to me as blaming it on the videogames. Saying "People who do bad things are simply wrong in the head" lacks any sort of empathy, and doesn't really help anything at all, except to make you feel warm in fuzzy in knowing that you're okay, and you would never do something like that. "I'm a good boy, I swear. It's just them that is messed up. I could never be them. Because I'm a good boy! See?"

I cant seem to find any empathy for someone who brutally murdered an innocent child. Maybe its because I have a young daughter myself, but to think of someone just beating her to death for ANY reason is insanity at its purest level. For someone to have no conscious for an act like that shows a lack of empathy in themselves. No, I never would do something like that, and I think im more of a value to society because of those basic morals.

Slurms:

Geoffrey42:
To the crowd at large: I noticed several comments to the extent of "those kids are just mentally off". That almost seems as cavalier to me as blaming it on the videogames. Saying "People who do bad things are simply wrong in the head" lacks any sort of empathy, and doesn't really help anything at all, except to make you feel warm in fuzzy in knowing that you're okay, and you would never do something like that. "I'm a good boy, I swear. It's just them that is messed up. I could never be them. Because I'm a good boy! See?"

I cant seem to find any empathy for someone who brutally murdered an innocent child. Maybe its because I have a young daughter myself, but to think of someone just beating her to death for ANY reason is insanity at its purest level. For someone to have no conscious for an act like that shows a lack of empathy in themselves. No, I never would do something like that, and I think im more of a value to society because of those basic morals.

I think what Geoffrey42 was trying to get at was not about the empathy bit, but more of the idea that 'these guys are whackos and I'm completely different from them'. Just because we play Mortal Kombat and don't kick kids to death doesn't mean that those who don't subscribe to that should be regarded as 'wrong in the head'.

I mean, it's just projection written all over. Everyone wants to hold the belief that gaming doesn't cause violence (using themselves as an example), so anyone else who actually proves the contrary must have an internal disposition to do so (in short, don't blame the game, blame your head, because I didn't kick kids when I played Mortal Kombat).

It sorta hearkens back to the old cliched pro-gun arguments: "Guns don't kill people; people do." In this case, there seems to be a belief that video games don't kill people, but people do. I'm not backing one or the other, but I think there needs to be some sort of balance here, instead of just exclusively chalking it up to a person's mental instability and throwing how gaming affects aggression out the window.

It's a shame, really that's all.

You get a bunch of teenagers, who obviously want the perks of being an adult, (IE: The drinking) yet not any of the responsibility of it, IE: "saying we're drunk and killed her. Oh God we're monsters."
And lord knows there will soon be a statement from them saying they've learned nothing from it all...
OH! But we can't blame the children no, because by American standards you won't know the difference between right and wrong until you're 32 and spent a dime in the slammer.
No, it must have been the game, I'm pretty sure if you play it backwards you can hear Liu-Kang's battle cries saying "Do it".
So it must not be the games fault.
After all, we do know and have proven that 911 is the direct result of Al-Kaida playing too much Doom....
I can only find it sad when these kinds of things happen, which is why I beleive the legal age for being tried as an adult should be 15 and we should instate harsher death penalties. People will start to think then, won't they?

Remember parents, just like a failed military mission, you can always abort pregnancy.

This has been a Necroswanson post urging you not to let your friends drink or do drugs during pregnancy... Also, this 'soft parenting' crap doesn't help.

Hang them both. The world doesn't need people like that. Get em now before they kill someone else and blame it on a pencil eraser. F N idiots!!!

Duck Sandwich:
To "act out" a violent video game does indeed show that there's something wrong with their heads - that they're unable to distinguish reality from fantasy. Maybe they had some kind of subconscious violent urge within them. Or maybe their parents didn't raise them right. Even if something happened make them susceptible to being "influenced" by some pretend thing like a video game, who's to say that something else (ie. martial arts, paintball, wrestling, chess, the bible, shakespeare, etc.) could not do the same?

Of course, there's always the possibility that they're just sadistic pricks who are too immature to accept responsibility for their actions, and were seeking to use Mortal Kombat as a Get Out of Jail Free Card. If someone's dishonest enough to murder their own sister, they probably wouldn't think twice about trying to shift the blame away from themselves and towards something else ("Durr, Mortal Kombat made me do it!").

To say that they were merely victims of the circumstances surrounding them is a bit of a stretch, especially considering that they were 17 and 16 - well beyond the impressionable first five years of one's life - the period where one needs Mommy and Daddy to tell them that what they see on the big box is just "pretend" things. It certainly doesn't help that they were boozing it up (can't blame the problem entirely on that, though, as Rjak pointed out).

I have not yet been convinced that what happened was the result of "acting out" a videogame. Lacking THAT assumption, I find it idiotic to conclude that there's something wrong with their heads. While I'm not sure what your basis for your first paragraph is, I don't think it has anything to do with what I said.

The accepting responsibility thing again points towards an assumption that the kids are the ones blaming Mortal Kombat, which again, I don't think is a valid assumption based on the evidence presented in the news articles. And what, exactly, does dishonesty have to do with killing a little sister? Vicious, amoral, sure, but dishonest? Where does that come from?

I don't recall anyone saying that they were victims of the circumstances, though I must say, you haven't spent enough time around 16-17 year olds if you don't think they're impressionable. Maybe not 1-5 yo impressionable, but they're not 30 yo adults either.

*Note: I don't believe in free will, but I do believe in holding individuals accountable for their actions.

Slurms:

I cant seem to find any empathy for someone who brutally murdered an innocent child. Maybe its because I have a young daughter myself, but to think of someone just beating her to death for ANY reason is insanity at its purest level. For someone to have no conscious for an act like that shows a lack of empathy in themselves. No, I never would do something like that, and I think im more of a value to society because of those basic morals.

My point about empathy is that the people writing these kids off as mentally deficient weren't even trying empathy, and in fact, were doing the exact opposite. They are shutting out any possibility that MAYBE, in the same situation, they would've ended up the same way. No, if it were them, it never would've come to this. Because good people don't do those sorts of things. Sane people just can't.

Who said these kids don't have any conscious about what happened? Where do I see their statements saying they don't feel horrible about it? Why jump to that conclusion? Oh, that's right. Because it makes them seem less human. It makes it easier for you to distance yourself from the reality that normal people do bad things. That someday, YOU might do a bad thing.

It all comes down to a classic case of "the other" in society. We are good, and "they" are bad, and anything that is bad must be "them", because we are good. Q.E.D. Right...

Geoffrey42:
I have not yet been convinced that what happened was the result of "acting out" a videogame. Lacking THAT assumption, I find it idiotic to conclude that there's something wrong with their heads. While I'm not sure what your basis for your first paragraph is, I don't think it has anything to do with what I said.

The accepting responsibility thing again points towards an assumption that the kids are the ones blaming Mortal Kombat, which again, I don't think is a valid assumption based on the evidence presented in the news articles. And what, exactly, does dishonesty have to do with killing a little sister? Vicious, amoral, sure, but dishonest? Where does that come from?

I don't recall anyone saying that they were victims of the circumstances, though I must say, you haven't spent enough time around 16-17 year olds if you don't think they're impressionable. Maybe not 1-5 yo impressionable, but they're not 30 yo adults either.

*Note: I don't believe in free will, but I do believe in holding individuals accountable for their actions.

If people have no free will, then they have no choice but to act in whatever way that fate chooses. Fate is a sadistic bastard, then, and all the gang-rapists, drug dealers, suicide bombers, etc. are just puppets of its strings. Why should they be punished for things they have no control over?

Whether free will exists or not is debatable. I don't think we can prove whether it does or doesn't exist at this point. I believe in free will, but then again, maybe that's just me being naive and stupid.

As for the whole "dishonesty" thing, yeah, I worded that badly. Someone who is amoral to the point where would kill their sister in such a way would probably weasel their way out of it if they could, in order to get away with it. They were trying to make themselves seem not so bad by saying they were "acting out" Mortal Kombat (which is a lie on their part, unless I just happened to never come across the ass slapping fatality whenever I played it). That is, unless of course, the Denver Post is lying. That possibility isn't too farfetched, considering the general public's "OMG videogames are evil!" mindset.

What makes it hard to empathize is the fact that we don't know WHY they killed the girl. Or HOW they could have been influenced to do it. There's the whole Mortal Kombat thing which it seems that we all agree is a load of crap.

Geoffrey42:
I have not yet been convinced that what happened was the result of "acting out" a videogame.

Then there's the "I was drunk" thing. Maybe it WAS because they got drunk. Maybe. Being drunk can lead to violence sometimes. But even then, they CHOSE to get drunk.

"Something's wrong with their heads" doesn't necessarily mean "they're evil bastards." It could be that the parents fucked up, or that as impressionable 5 year olds, they were exposed to something they shouldn't have been. That shit can happen. And it can screw people up really badly, for their entire life. (ie, if you're brought up in a society where monogamy is the way to go, then yes, you'll believe that too, because what's familiar is correct). I agree with that.

FATALITY!!

I'm sorry. But come on, how the hell could they blame drunken kids beating a girl to death on Mortal Kombat? I came into this expecting that she may have had her spine ripped out or head eaten or something over the top and very MK, but no... just a simple bashing. Of course everyone needs a scape goat.

Chris Kohler at Wired's Game|Life blog sums this up perfectly:

From the Blog:

---------------------------------
If the two teenagers charged in the death of their 7-year-old sister told the police that they were drunkenly engaged in a real-life game of "Mortal Kombat," then I agree that that certainly merits a mention in the story. But that doesn't mean you, like the Rocky Mountain News, should then attempt to sensationalize the story by appending several paragraphs onto the end with speculation about the effects of violent videogames.

Because let's not let this story serve as a launch pad for discussions of real issues like lack of adequate child care. Or underage binge drinking. No: Because one of the two said they were "playing Mortal Kombat," let's let that distract all of us from what might have actually led to this tragic death.

We'll see if this becomes another Lionel Tate case, where the defendants put up the "videogames defense" in an attempt to escape jail time.

---------------------------------
LINK: http://blog.wired.com/games/2007/12/angry-morning-b.html#more

It really is ridiculous. This is a story about two drunken teenagers beating a 7 YEAR OLD GIRL to death, and the media focuses on the videogames? unFUCKINGbelievable.

Try child abuse, or drinking, or effects of teenage depression, or whatever the fuck they want to blame this on, but bringing up the overlong, hackneyed and extremely tiresome argument about videogame violence is fucking stupid.

I have to call BS on this one. Come on, Mortal Kombat? They are just sick and twisted, and the alcohol most likely played a part in it. But I've never believed that video games can be directly linked to violence, and this article has certainly not made me have an epiphany. If these two seriously did do it because of what they saw in a 15 year old video game, they had something wrong with them before they even picked up a controller.

I'm shocked about the mentioning of Mortal Kombat.
Correct me if I'm wrong but since when does watching a guy get his spine and head torn from his body = beat your little sister to death? Explain the maths to me and I'll believe their lie.
Everyone blames videogames to try and get themselves off the hook and I'm sick of it. When will everyone just grow some balls, admit to their wrongdoings and stop feeding those losers who think video games are wrong (I'm looking squarely at YOU Jack Thompson) with your ignorance.
I've played Doom for over 10 years now and I've never gone nuts with a shotgun or chainsaw, looking for something to kill just because I saw it on a game.

I agree with milocade. Hang them both.

Damn, these guys get drunk under the legal drinking age, beat their sister to death... and people ignore the underage and drink part and focus on a video game? Who are the fuck wits in the news business over there?

I would have brought up alcohol education issues, myself... but there we go.

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