Woman Arrested for Cybermurder

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A 43-year-old woman in Tokyo has been arrested for killing her husband, although they weren't legally married, she didn't really kill him, and he isn't really dead.

The two had only met online, as part of a popular interactive game called "Maple Story" in which cartoon-like "avatars" fight monsters, interact, and, apparently, get married.  They also get divorced, or at least these two did.  It would probably be more accurate to say that she got cyberdumped: "I was suddenly divorced," the woman said, "without a word of warning.  That made me so angry."  So angry that she used his login information — which he had foolishly given her back when they were "happily married" — to access his account and delete his avatar.  He called the cops.  They, apparently having no crimes at all to prosecute in their own area, traveled 600 miles to arrest the woman and bring her to the jurisdiction where the brutal deletion took place.

The woman is not actually charged with murder, but rather was arrested for illegally accessing a computer and manipulating electronic data.  She might also be charged with destruction of property, since avatars and the "things" they own arguably represent a major investment of time (and money in terms of online fees).  The report did not say what value the electro-husband put on his account, but it could easily have been thousands of dollars, given the amount that online items can sometimes trade for.  (I don't know this personally, of course, but the guys in my Dungeons and Dragons group were talking about it the other day at the food court.)

The woman had not been formally charged as of October 23, but if convicted of the illegal-access charges she could be fined up to $5,000 or given up to five years in jail.

Link: Chicago Tribune