Did Role-Playing Games Play Role in Unsolved 1998 Murder?

Did a teenage boy’s reported fascination with role-playing games play a role in the stabbing death of his 12-year-old sister, Stephanie Crowe? That’s a question investigators might ask as they reopen a 15-year-old murder case following the retrial and acquittal Friday of a man who served more than a decade in prison after being convicted of involuntary manslaughter in 2002.


According to a Los Angeles Times report via which I learned of 44-year-old Richard Tuite’s acquittal, Michael Crowe was one of three individuals originally charged with murder after his sister was found stabbed to death inside her family’s home in Escondido, Calif., in January 1998. According to the report by Tony Perry, the district attorney at the time went so far as to say Michael, then 14, had confessed under questioning and that a murder weapon had been found beneath the bed of one of his friends.

Within hours of reading the Times report, I published a piece in which I focused on ABC News Chief Investigative Reporter Brian Ross’ flawed coverage of one aspect of the case (i.e., the technology used during the interrogation of Michael Crowe by Escondido police investigators) and the attention the case received in my latest nonfiction book, THE CLAPPER MEMO. But I didn’t stop there.

I searched online for more details about the case and stumbled upon a synopsis (see screenshot) published about a 2002 television movie, “The Interrogation of Michael Crowe.” Published at IMDb.com, a paragraph from that synopsis appears unedited below:

The Interrogation of Michael Crowe PosterHis family is horrified, his parents unbelieving that their son could kill his little sister so brutally, she was stabbed 14 times and Michael, just like about every red-blooded American teenage boy, has lots of drawings of knives used in various poses. He plays Dungeons & Dragons, a role-playing game which can become theoretically a bit violent amongst the players and in which many kinds of blades are used

Could it be that the victim’s brother had a penchant for role-playing games that some associate with violence? I have no way of knowing.  One would assume, however, that the individual who wrote the synopsis based its content upon what he gleaned by watching the television movie — which, by the way, I have not watched.  Regardless, I suspect investigators will look into this subject matter as they revisit the case in search of truth.  Rest assured, I will keep my eyes on developments in this case as they surface.

To learn more about this case and other details related to the use of credibility assessment technologies during interrogations of criminal suspects, order a copy of THE CLAPPER MEMO.

The product of an exhaustive four-year investigation, the book is available in paperback and ebook versions and has been endorsed by several high-profile Americans who understand the implications of my findings. Order your copy today!

Bob McCarty is the author of Three Days In August and THE CLAPPER MEMO. To learn more about either book or to place an order, click on the graphic above.

Bob McCarty is the author of Three Days In August and THE CLAPPER MEMO. To learn more about either book or to place an order, click on the graphic above.

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