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Orestes Pursued by the Furies by William-Adolphe Bouguereau. Clytemnestra was murdered by Orestes and the Furies torment him for his crime

Matricide is the act of killing one's mother.

Known or suspected matricides[edit]

  • Amastris, queen of Heraclea, was drowned by her two sons in 284 BC.
  • Cleopatra III of Egypt was assassinated in 101 BC by order of her son, Ptolemy X, for her conspiracy.
  • Ptolemy XI of Egypt had his wife, Berenice III, murdered shortly after their wedding in 80 BC. She was also his stepmother, or perhaps his mother.
  • In AD 59, the Roman Emperor Nero is said to have ordered the murder of his mother Agrippina the Younger, supposedly because she was conspiring against him.
  • Mary Ann Lamb, the mentally ill sister of essayist Charles Lamb, killed their invalid mother during an episode of mania in 1796.
  • Sidney Harry Fox, a British man, hanged in 1930 for killing his mother to gain from her insurance.
  • Battle of Okinawa, 1945: There are accounts in which Okinawan civilians killed their mothers to prevent them from being captured, raped, tortured, and/or killed by the invading American forces.[1]
  • The Parker–Hulme murder case of 1954. This case was chronicled in the 1994 film Heavenly Creatures.
  • Jack Gilbert Graham killed his mother along with 44 people by planting a dynamite bomb in his mother's suitcase, that was subsequently loaded aboard United Airlines Flight 629 in 1955.
  • Charles Whitman killed his mother and wife before going on his killing spree at the University of Texas at Austin that killed 14 people and wounded 31 others, as part of a shooting rampage from the observation deck of the University's 32-story administrative building on August 1, 1966. He was eventually shot and killed by Austin police.
  • John Emil List murdered his mother, wife and his three children on November 9, 1971, making List also guilty of filicide and uxoricide. He was a fugitive for 18 years. He was apprehended on June 1, 1989 after an episode of "America's Most Wanted" aired. On May 1, 1990 he was sentenced to 5 life terms in prison.
  • Antony Baekeland murdered his mother, Barbara Daly Baekeland on November 11, 1972, at their luxurious London apartment. She had allegedly forced him to have sex with her, in order to "cure" his homosexuality. Savage Grace is a book and a movie based on this event.
  • Serial killer Edmund Kemper beat his mother to death in 1973, along with one of his mother's friends before turning himself in to the police. He had previously committed half-a-dozen sex-murders. Kemper had been psychologically abused by his domineering mother in his youth.
  • Ronald DeFeo, Jr. killed his parents and his four siblings in what would later become known as "The Amityville Horror House" (1974)
  • Bradford Bishop bludgeoned his mother, spouse and three children to death in 1976. He was indicted for murders and remains at large.
  • Jim Gordon, a session musician who played drums with Eric Clapton band Derek and the Dominoes bludgeoned his mother with a hammer and then stabbed her to death with a butcher's knife in 1983. In May 1984 he was sentenced to sixteen years to life in prison.
  • Susan Cabot, 1950s actress, was beaten to death in 1986 at her Hollywood home by her son Timothy Roman. He was convicted of involuntary manslaughter.
  • The Menendez Brothers were convicted during a highly publicized trial in July 1996 for the shotgun killings of their parents in 1989.
  • Brett Reider, a 15-year-old boy in Omaha, Nebraska, stabbed his mother to death during a dispute in 1993. He was convicted of second degree murder and sentenced as an adult to 11–20 years. In 1996, his older sister, Alissa Reider made an HBO documentary: "Brett Killed Mom: a sister's diary", claiming both of them suffered years of constant verbal and physical abuse from their mother. Brett was released in 1999.[citation needed]
  • Aaron Brown, Indiana resident who at the age of 16 sat in wait with a shotgun until his parents came home one night, and as his mom walked through the door, he blasted her with the shotgun. He shot at his stepfather and missed, but eventually gunned him down. These crimes were committed in 1994. He is currently serving two life sentences at The Indiana State Prison in Michigan City, Indiana.
  • Luke Woodham, Mississippi resident who killed his mother in June 1997 before killing two more and wounding seven others in the Pearl High School shooting. Currently serving a life sentence at the Mississippi State Penitentiary.
  • Kip Kinkel (1982– ), an Oregon boy who was convicted of killing both parents as well as killing two students at his school on May 20, 1998.
  • Dr. I. Kathleen Hagen, a prominent urologist, killed her mother and her father in August 2000 and was acquitted on the grounds of insanity.
  • Yukio Yamaji, a 16 year old living in Japan, killed his mother in 2000. After his release, he raped and murdered a woman and her sister in 2005. He was executed by hanging in 2009.
  • Dipendra of Nepal (1971–2001) reportedly massacred much of his family at a royal dinner on June 1, 2001, including his mother Queen Aiswarya, father, brother, and sister.
  • Nathan Ybanez, a 16-year-old Colorado boy, murdered his mother Julie Ybanez in June of 1998.
  • Erika di Nardo killed her mother and brother in 2001. See Novi Ligure Murder
  • Sef Gonzales, an Australian man who killed his father, mother and sister in 2001.
  • Sarah Marie Johnson (1987– ), an Idaho girl who was convicted of killing both parents on the morning of September 2, 2003.
  • Noura Jackson was convicted of killing her mother who was found dead with more than 50 stab wounds on June 5, 2005.[2]
  • Joseph Nerone confessed to killing his mother by stabbing her multiple times on April 2, 2012.[3]
  • Adam Lanza in the Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting shot and killed his mother along with 20 children, 6 other adults and finally himself on December 14, 2012.[4]

Fictional and folkloric/legendary matricides[edit]

In literature[edit]

  • In Alice Sebold's novel, The Almost Moon, the protagonist, Helen, kills her mother by suffocating her.
  • In Stephen King's first novel, Carrie (which was made into a 1976 film), the protagonist uses her power of telekinesis to kill her mother, who had tried to exorcise Carrie of her possession by Satan.
  • In the Stephen King novel The Dark Tower: The Gunslinger, Roland of Gilead admits he is a matricide. Later books expound on the subject.
  • In the book and film Psycho, matricide is an underlying plot as the character Norman Bates murdered his mother and then developed dissociative identity disorder, pretending to be his mother to relieve the guilt of murdering her.
  • In the book Skin by Ted Dekker, Nicole tells Carey that she has killed their parents by setting them on a car accident.
  • The eponymous heroine is killed by her son in Arthur Schnitzler's 1928 novel, Therese.
  • Inspector Javier Fumero kills his mother with a shotgun in The Shadow of the Wind by Carlos Ruiz Zafron.

In film[edit]

  • In the 1960 film Psycho, motel owner Norman Bates keeps the corpse of his mother in a cellar after killing her and her lover.
  • In the 1987 black comedy film, Throw Momma from the Train, the plot focuses on the goal of the main character, Owen Lift (Danny DeVito), to have his mother killed.
  • In the 1993 film The Good Son Henry Evans tried to kill his mother, his family and his cousin but his plan failed.
  • In the 2004 film Murder Without Conviction, the Tally brothers are locked away without a fair trial for the suspected murder of their mother.
  • In the comedy/horror film, Shaun of the Dead (2004), Shaun kills his mother after she is infected.
  • In the comedy/drama film, Mini's First Time (2006), Mini puts her mother, Diane, in her car in the garage while the car is running after telling her stepdad, with whom she was having an affair, that her mom's attempt to kill herself with sleeping pills is taking too long.
  • In the 2008 and 2010 action films Death Race and Death Race 2, Lists is a convict on terminal island who was put there for the murder of his mother. His reason for doing so is not clarified.
  • In the 2011 film The Human Centipede II: Full Sequence, Martin Lomax kills his mother in anger after she found his book The Human Centipede and destroyed it and when she bullies and abuses Martin for putting his father in jail.

In mythology and folk legends[edit]

  • In Hindu culture, Lord Parshuram killed his mother on the orders of his father.
  • In Babylonian legend, the supreme god Marduk slew his mother Tiamat by cutting her in half with a great sword.
  • In Greek mythology, characters who killed their mothers were tormented by the avenging Furies, for matricide was considered one of the worst possible crimes.

In television[edit]

  • In Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Spike staked his mother after he turned her into a vampire to save her life. He often mentions this but seems to have come to terms with it when he was last seen on Angel.
  • In "The Hard Part" episode of the NBC TV series Heroes, the character Sylar commits matricide accidentally when he tries to reunite with his mother and instead ends up fighting her.
  • In The Sopranos, Tony Soprano attempts to smother his mother, Livia Soprano, with a pillow after learning that she and Tony's paternal uncle, Corrado Soprano, had conspired to have Tony "whacked". This incident is revisited throughout the series.
  • In South Park, episode "Tsst", Cartman tries to kill his mother; in episode "Reverse Cowgirl", Clyde indirectly kills his mother when she gets stuck on the toilet and after it is flushed, the suction forcefully vacates her organs.
  • In Family Guy, the episode "Stewie Kills Lois" portrays Stewie killing his mother Lois with a hand-held machine gun. This is part of a long-running theme in the series.
  • In the Danny Phantom episode, "The Ultimate Enemy", Danny's evil future self attempts to murder his mother, along with the rest of his family and friends in an explosion that was supposed to take their lives in the original timeline, but his plan failed.
  • In the anime TV series Code Geass, Lelouch Lamperouge killed his mother along with his father, believing that their view of an ideal world had no future.
  • In CSI: Miami, episode "Mommie Deadest", Cody killed his mother because of her harsh ways and abuse.

In music[edit]

  • Country music songwriter Leon Payne's murder ballad "Psycho" ends with the songs narrator, a serial killer, saying "Mama, why don't you get up?" This was not written in the songs original sheet music, despite being heard in every existing recording of the song.

In comics[edit]

  • In the manga Battle Royale, the mentally unstable teenage temptress, Mitsuko Souma, has her mother murdered in revenge for a gang rape orchestrated by her mother.
  • In the one of the origins of Marvel heroine Elektra, her older brother Orestes commits matricide by hiring assassins to kill his unfaithful mother.
  • In the manga Ludwig Kakumei, Blanche (Snow White) kills her mother by forcing her to wear heated iron shoes and to dance in them through the ultimate torture until she died. Also, Lisette (Little Red Riding Hood) kills her mother, along with her father, in a rage due to a cruel trick played by Ludwig as a child.
  • In Naruto, Itachi Uchiha kills his mother along with the rest of the Uchiha clan with the help of Obito Uchiha aka Tobi.
  • In the horror manga Reiko the zombie shop, Riruka, the main antagonist of the first three volumes, murders her mother and father in a plane crash out of fear that they would disown her and embrace her younger twin sister Reiko.

In games[edit]

  • In the cyberpunk video game Galerians: Ash, Ash, one of the last four Galerians, murders his mother Dorothy in revenge for the torment she had put him through while he was a young A.I. program.
  • From the Ace Attorney visual novel series:
  • In the horror video game, Silent Hill: Homecoming, the protagonist Alex Shepherd performs a mercy killing on his mother.
  • In the adventure video game, Tomb Raider: Underworld, Lara Croft kills her mother, who became a monstrous parody of her former self.
  • In the strategy game, Trapt, Allura murders her stepmother Catalina in revenge for being framed for the murder of her father King Olaf.
  • In the roguelike game, The Binding of Isaac, your goal is to kill your mother before she kills you in sacrifice to a disembodied voice she believes to be God.
  • In God of War: Ghost of Sparta, Kratos is forced to kill his mother Callisto when the gods turn her into a monster.
  • In the Metroid series, Mother Brain is recurring final boss, though she is not actually the player character's mother.
  • In La-Mulana, the final boss is The Mother, the source of all life on earth. Lemeza, the player character, has been tasked with delivering a mercy killing to The Mother, as her children are unable to grant her wish to return her to the sky.


  1. ^ Gibney, Frank (1995). Senso: The Japanese Remember the Pacific War: Letters to the Editor of Asahi Shimbun. Armonk, NY: M.E. Sharpe. 
  2. ^ Danya Bacchus (2009-02-21). "Noura Jackson Verdict". News Channel 3. Retrieved 2012-01-09. 
  3. ^ Schiffman, Lizzie (April 2, 2012). "Suspect Tells Police Satan Possessed Him, Murdered His Mother". Huffington Post. 
  4. ^

See also[edit]

Familial killing terms
Non-familial killing terms from the same root
  • Deicide, the act of killing a god
  • Genocide is the act of killing a large group of people, usually a specific and entire ethnic, racial, religious or national group
  • Homicide is the act of killing any human
  • Infanticide, the act of killing an infant from birth to 12 months
  • Regicide is the act of killing a monarch (king or ruler)
  • Tyrannicide is the act of killing a tyrant