Of all the murders blamed on video games this is perhaps the nerdiest of all. While, Advance Wars has the name war in it, it hardly qualifies as a violent game. It's a little more like chess, but with cartoon tanks. Fun to play, but hardly something to get worked up into a killing frenzy about.
Mathew Pyke, 20, owner and moderator of an Advance Wars tribute forum, Wars Central, was found stabbed to death in his flat in Nottingham City, England. Shortly after the murder, Nottinghamshire Police picked up a frequent poster to his gaming website named David Heiss.
Heiss who went be the handle “Eagle the Lightning” is believed to have become obsessed with Heiss and his live-in girlfriend, Joanna Witton.
Police have theorized that Heiss may have fallen out with Matthew on Wars Central and then took extreme revenge in real life. During a conversation with another Advance Wars gamer, Heiss had said he wanted to smash Pyke's head against a wall. After being arrested by police, it is Heiss's assertion that he merely intended to confront Pyke that day.
"I thought that once he (Pyke) stepped outside I would give him a beating. It wasn't my intention to put him in hospital, it wasn't my intention to break any bones," Heiss told the court.
Pyke, whose online persona was Shade, was found next to his computer, on the side of which he had managed to write the first three letters of Heiss' name in his own blood as he lay dying from 86 stab wounds to his body.
Pyke and Heiss meet for the first time in real life when Heiss, from Frankfort, showed up at Mathew's doorstep on an impromptu visit. Pyke's real name and address was given to David by a fellow member of the Advance Wars forum. This meeting was also when Heiss first met Joanna Witton, who co-moderated Wars Central, and who Heiss had become increasing obsessed with over the previous 6 months.
Heiss began to cyberstalk Witton, following her on Facebook and Myspace. His “Eagle the Lightning”account on Wars Central had a reference to “JoJo” in his user signature. Immediately following the murder, Heiss left this message on her Facebook account: "I will pray for you - you must be suffering unbelievable pain.
"I'm sorry for having caused so much trouble lately. I hope you won't lose all your hope. We will be there for you."
Witton had become so spooked by Heiss that "I started blanking him as if to say leave me alone. I was afraid he was going to turn up again and I didn't know what he was capable of," she told the court.
"I was willing to smash my laptop up if it meant that I would never speak to him (Heiss) again. I was ready to run away."
Heiss confessed he hadn't meant to kill Pyke. He said that he had simply flown to England to confront Pyke and Witton after they had used the Advance Wars online forum to make disparaging remarks about him. He claimed that he had to comfort them personally because the couple had blocked him from their website and from Instant Messaging.
In a court testimony, the accused murder claimed, "At some point we started to punch each other. He was on his back and I was sitting on him. The next thing I felt was something inside my knee. I didn't really feel any pain and I looked down and saw it was the knife. I was terrified." The knife belonged to Heiss and had been in his belt.
"I was trying not to let him attack me. I grabbed his arm and shook it and smashed it against the wall. I was so afraid that he would stab me again but then I stabbed at him," testified Heiss. He stabbed at Pyke 86 times!
The court also heard that police had allegedly found a suicide note in Heiss's possesion, written in such a way as to appear they were the words of Mathew Pyke. Heiss said he had written the note to "cheer himself up" and motivate him.
Disappointingly, Wars Central has erased almost all evidence of “Eagle the Lighting.” It would have been interesting to track exactly when Heiss went derranged. One of the few remaining entries is a piece Advance Wars fan fiction written by the killer. This alone should be sufficient evidence of a disturbed mind. Even with Eagle erased, one disturbing thing is the number of people that have been banned from the website. Advance Wars is a goofy strategy war game, what exactly is leading all these users to just erratic behavior?
It goes to show... never make a website for nerds. Oh, wait a second that's Wolf Gnards! Okay, okay, correction... don't make a nerd website that makes people angry... oh, no that's me again! Please, no one stab me 86 times.
Honestly, I really do have bad dreams of an angry Brain Posehn showing up at my house.
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