Teen Sentenced To Life For Murder He Blamed On FilmJIM STRADER , Associated Press
Aug. 23, 1990 4:21 PM ET
PITTSBURGH (AP) _ A teen-ager who said repeated viewings of the violent film ''A Clockwork Orange'' led him to fatally stab and strangle a friend was sentenced Thursday to life in prison without chance of parole.
Michale Anderson of Pittsburgh, who turned 18 Thursday, was convicted June 21 of first-degree murder in the slaying of 17-year-old Karen Hurwitz. She died in her back yard Oct. 27, 1989, after being strangled and stabbed six times in the chest with a 36-inch martial arts sword.
Before sentencing Anderson, Allegheny County Common Pleas Judge Robert E. Dauer told him that murder is the ''most horrendous of crimes.''
''Your crime is even worse. You killed somebody you liked, indeed, loved,'' he said.
Anderson read a statement in which he apologized to the slain girl's parents.
''I'm sorry for the sorrow I have wrought upon you,'' he said. ''I ask you to see me for what I am and not for what I have done.''
Anderson said ''the whole truth'' has not come out about the killing. He indicated lawyers and the news media have muddled the facts, but did not elaborate.
''No matter what, you must know the truth,'' Anderson said. ''I will tell you the truth, eventually, as it was recorded in my mind forever.''
In a confession to police, Anderson said he ''always did bad things'' when he wore his black ''A Clockwork Orange'' T-shirt. He was wearing the shirt when he stabbed Miss Hurwitz, a high school senior.
Anderson's attorney, Jon Botula, said during the two-day trial that his client was incited to kill by repeated viewings of the 1971 film, which starred Malcolm McDowell as the leader of a group of hooligans.
The movie chronicled the marauders' ''ultraviolence'' - similar to recent ''wilding'' episodes in New York - and a futuristic society's efforts to control the youths.
Botula showed jurors a 50-minute clip of the Stanley Kubrick film, based on the Anthony Burgess novel of the same name.
The murdered girl's mother, Linda Hurwitz, said after the conviction that she recalled watching the movie while pregnant with her daughter.
''I remember walking out afterwards so shaken, saying to myself, 'I hope I'm not bringing my child into a world with these kinds of people, without any feeling or any emotion - just plain brutality,' '' she said.
The prosecution rejected Anderson's contention that the movie made him kill, and a specialist in media psychology suggested the movie was used by Botula as a scapegoat.
''Every couple of years, you have a not-easily-verifiable, mystical source that causes people to do strange things,'' said Stuart Fischoff, a professor of psychology at California State University at Los Angeles.
''The defense that, 'The devil made me do it' - the devil is either records or movies or genetics - is not new,'' he said. ''Television and film is today's contemporary devil.''
Life in prison without parole is the minimum penalty for first-degree murder in Pennsylvania. Prosecutors did not ask for the death penalty because the required aggravating circumstances were not present.