From time to time, a news story appears that makes people wonder if the world could possibly get any stranger. This is one of those stories. According to police, a 23-year-old New Mexican man named Damon Perry is being held on a murder charge after brutally killing friend Christopher Paquin. On the surface, that story is hardly unusual; people get murdered all the time, it’s a sad fact of life. What makes this particular case weird is Perry’s ridiculous explanation for the heinous crime.

According to Perry, he murdered Paquin because his friend began to “change into a zombie” and attempted to bite him. Unsurprisingly, Perry admits that the two men had spent the night drinking prior to his shocking act, and that he had been recently binge-watching episodes of AMC’s The Walking Dead on Netflix. Making the story even worse is the fact that Paquin’s death was not a quick one. Police say Perry beat the man to death with heavy objects like an electric guitar and a microwave.

Killers blaming pop culture for their crimes is hardly a new phenomenon, and was of course lampooned as a motive in the slasher classic Scream. As Billy Loomis (Skeet Ulrich) says in that film, “movies don’t create psychos, movies just make psychos more creative.” In this case, bashing the heads of zombies in with various blunt instruments is a common practice on The Walking Dead, and could have possibly inspired Perry to do the same to Paquin after a night spent getting hammered and watching cable’s most popular drama.

That said, millions of people watch The Walking Dead every week, and this was the only person who decided to murder someone after he somehow became convinced that person was turning into a walker. Alcohol or no alcohol, people of sound mind don’t kill their friends because they believe that a zombie uprising has begun. Then again, this could just be Perry’s version of the insanity defense. Perhaps he just opted to commit murder for some reason, then conjured up an explanation later that would hopefully help him avoid the death penalty. The only person who really knows the answers to these questions is the perpetrator himself.

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Sadly, it’s not hard to imagine that those who love to blame fictional entertainment for real-life violence will be more than happy to jump on this story as another example to support their crusade. Despite the fact that the people who commit these acts often have preexisting mental illness or are on drugs powerful enough to distort their ability to connect with reality, there are still those who allege that creators of violent content are to blame.

In the end, what’s really most important here is that a man died, for a really, really stupid reason. No matter what courts prove ultimately drove Perry to murder Paquin – a charge he does not appear to be denying – a man has lost his life, and his family has lost a loved one. What a tragedy.

Source: Associated Press