- A footnote in the video game violence debate has been sentenced to die by an Oklahoma jury.
As reported by the Associated Press, jurors deliberated for eight hours before passing a death sentence on Kevin Underwood, 28. The same jury had earlier found Underwood guilty of first-degree murder in the horrific 2006 killing of 10-year-old Jamie Rose Bolin.
So what is Underwood's connection to the game violence debate?
In a 2006 hearing before the Louisiana Legislature, Rep. Roy Burrell cited Underwood's heinous crime as an example of the supposed negative effects of violent video games. Burrell was, at the time, attempting to persuade his colleagues to pass Louisiana's Jack Thompson-authored video game bill. He succeeded, although the law was later ruled unconstitutional. As I wrote for Joystiq at the time:
Burrell related [to his colleagues] the story of an Oklahoma man accused of the horrendous murder of a child. Why he chose this example... remains unclear, since the 26-year-old suspect was no kid, and the "violent" game he played, Kingdom of Loathing, is a non-retail, non-industry, online product in which stick figures - stick figures! - battle one another... His bill would have no impact on the very example he raised to support it.
A defense psychiatrist...