In what looks like a murder inspired by the popular X-Men movies, a 21-year-old “Wolverine” fugitive killed his sister, mother and her boyfriend before hanging himself, according to news reports.
Police launched an operation to find Jed Allen, who was on the run for nearly 36 hours after Derin Jordon, 6, his mother Janet, 48, and her partner Philip Howard, 44, were found stabbed to death in Didcot, Oxfordshire.
The case has been making headlines in the U.K. for several days now but it is Allen’s obsession with Wolverine that has drawn most attention.
In one social media post, as seen by the British tabloid Daily Mail, he wrote: “I should have been Wolverine.”
While the phenomenon is still under debate, researchers concluded in one study that violent movies contribute to real-world aggression “only in those already prone to it.”
There have been numerous cases, like Allen’s, in which popular movies or television series were blamed or supposed to be the inspiration behind various crimes. For example:
On July 20, 2012, James Holmes stormed a midnight screening of The Dark Knight Rises and hurled tear gas before murdering 12 people and injuring 70 more in a mass shooting in Aurora, Colorado.
The orange-haired man is alleged to have cried "I am the Joker" before opening fire.
In February 2012, Benjamin Scott, a psychotic drug addict slashed and stabbed his neighbor Gary Beech at least 120 times in the eyes, head, face and back, following a petty argument.
“After confessing to his girlfriend, the court heard that Scott agreed with her remark that the aftermath of the killing must have looked like a scene from the Saw horror films,” BBC reported.
The popular sci-fi action film directed by the the Wachowskis has been cited as an inspiration in a couple of murder cases.
In 2003, for instance, Josh Cooke, a 19-year-old in Oakton, Virginia, bought a gun similar to the one used by Neo – the lead character played by Keanu Reeves in the movies – and shot his adoptive parents with it in the basement of their home and then called the police.
According to his lawyers, Cooke believed that he was “living inside the Matrix.” He even owned a trenchcoat like the one worn by Neo.
Again, this movie series is also said to have triggered numerous crimes. In 1998, a California woman was stabbed to death by her teenage son and nephew in an attack the boys told investigators was inspired by the horror movies Scream and Scream 2.
In 2001, a Belgian lorry driver Thierry Jaradin killed a 15-year-old schoolgirl Alisson Cambier in a similar manner after she rejected his amorous advances.
In September 2010, 17-year-old Andrew Conley from Indiana strangled his younger brother, saying he was inspired by the TV series Dexter.
He told investigators that he admired and identified with the character from the popular show and had “wanted to kill someone for years.”
In August 2013, a Washington man accused of strangling his girlfriend and then trying to dispose of her body in a plastic tub full of acid allegedly committed the murder after he was inspired by an episode of AMC's hit series Breaking Bad – which was the suspect’s favorite show.
In September 2014, Kuntal Patel, a graphic designer from London, attempted to kill her “selfish and controlling” mother by putting a poison in a drink – a plot, according to one of the prosecutors, was "inspired, in part, by the U.S. television series Breaking Bad.”
The 37-year-old was cleared of murder charges; however, she was sentenced to three years in prison for the possession of the deadly toxin.
In January 2003, two California half-brothers allegedly re-enacted a scene from The Sopranos TV show when they severed the head and hands from their mother's strangled body before dumping it in a mountain ravine.
The older brother told investigators their decision to cut off the body parts to obscure its identity came from a Sopranos episode in which Tony Soprano kills an associate and, with the help of another character, dismembers the body.
"Based upon his viewing of that show, they decided after they killed their mother, how they would dispose of the body, which was dismemberment," Orange County Sheriff Michael Carona told reporters then.
In January 2010, a 10-year-old boy shot to death his white supremacist father, Jeff Hall, while he was asleep.
The boy said in a videotaped interview with police that “he didn't think he'd get in trouble because he saw an episode of Criminal Minds in which a child killed an abusive father and wasn't arrested.”