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. As for any type of killing, motives can vary significantly.


Known or suspected matricides

  • 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.
  • 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]
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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]
  • 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 legally 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.
  • Sarah Marie Johnson (1987- ), an Idaho girl who was convicted of killing both parents on the morning of 2 September 2003.

Fictional and folkloric/legendary matricides

In fiction and film

(Alphabetized by title)

  • 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 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, whom she was having an affair with, that her mom's attempt to kill herself with sleeping pills is taking too long.
  • 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 comedy/horror film, Shaun of the Dead (2004), Shaun kills his mother after she is infected.
  • 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.
  • In title of the 1987 black comedy film, Throw Momma from the Train, focuses on the goal of the character, Owen Lift (Danny DeVito), to have his mother killed.
  • In the 2009 horror film, Orphan, Esther/Leela Klammer is a mental hospital escapee who attempts to murder her adoptive mother Kate out of jealously over not being able to seduce Kate's husband John.
  • 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 are not clarified.

In mythology and folk legends

In television

(Alphabetized by series title)

  • 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 the South Park, episode "Tsst", Cartman tries to kill his mother but changes his mind after thinking about it.
  • In the Family Guy, episode "Stewie Kills Lois, Stewie gets angry after leaves him to go with Peter on a private cruise but then he takes off a helmet from his new item that simulates what would happen if he killed Lois and took over the city of Quahog.

In cartoons, anime and manga

(Alphabetized by series title)

  • In the film, novel, and manga series, 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 anime Code Geass, Lelouch Lamperouge killed his mother along with his father, believing that their view of an ideal world had no future.
  • 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 animated comedy Family Guy, Stewie Griffin attempts to murder his mother Lois countless times, to humorous effect. He thought he had succeeded in the episode, "Stewie Kills Lois", but it's revealed she is still alive.
  • 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, according to Madara.
  • 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

  • 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.
  • In Phoenix Wright: Ace Attorney: Trials and Tribulations, Maya Fey was unofficially accused of killing her mother, Misty Fey.
  • 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.


  1. ^ Gibney, Frank (1995). Senso: The Japanese Remember the Pacific War: Letters to the Editor of Asahi Shimbun. Armonk, NY: M.E. Sharpe. 

See also

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

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Look at other dictionaries:

  • matricide — 1. (ma tri si d ) s. m. et f. Celui, celle qui a tué sa mère.    On dit plutôt, même en parlant d une mère, parricide : le parricide Oreste. ÉTYMOLOGIE    Lat. matricida, de mater, mère, et caedere, tuer. SUPPLÉMENT AU DICTIONNAIRE 1. MATRICIDE.… …   Dictionnaire de la Langue Française d'Émile Littré

  • Matricide — Mat ri*cide, n. [L. matricidium; mater mother + coedere to kill, slay: cf. F. matricide. See {Mother}, and cf. {Homicide}.] 1. The murder of a mother by her son or daughter. [1913 Webster] 2. [L. matricida: cf. F. matricide.] One who murders one… …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • matricide — mat·ri·cide / ma trə ˌsīd/ n [Latin matricidium, from matr mater mother + cidium killing] 1: the murder of a mother by her son or daughter 2 [Latin matricida, from matr + cida killer]: a person who murders his or her mother Merriam Webster’s… …   Law dictionary

  • matricide — (n.) 1590s, action of killing one s mother, from Fr. matricide, from L. matricida mother killer, and matricidium mother killing, from comb. form of mater mother (see MOTHER (Cf. mother) (n.1)) + cida killer, and cidium …   Etymology dictionary

  • matricide — ► NOUN 1) the killing of one s mother. 2) a person who kills their mother. DERIVATIVES matricidal adjective. ORIGIN from Latin mater mother + cidium killing …   English terms dictionary

  • matricide — [ma′trə sīd΄, mā′trə sīd΄] n. [L matricidium < mater, MOTHER1 + caedere, to kill: see CIDE] 1. the act of murdering one s mother 2. [L matricida] a person who does this matricidal adj …   English World dictionary

  • matricide — 1. matricide [ matrisid ] n. • 1580; lat. matricida ♦ Rare Personne qui a tué sa mère. ⇒ 1. parricide. Adjt Enfant matricide. matricide 2. matricide [ matrisid ] n. m. • 1521; lat. matricidium ♦ Rare Crime de la personne qui a tué sa mère. ⇒ 2.… …   Encyclopédie Universelle

  • matricide — See patricide. See patricide, parricide, matricide …   Dictionary of problem words and expressions

  • matricide — ma·tri·cide || meɪtrɪsaɪd n. murder of one s mother, one who commits matricide …   English contemporary dictionary

  • matricide — noun Date: 1594 1. [Latin matricidium, from matr + cidium cide] murder of a mother by her son or daughter 2. [Latin matricida, from matr + cida cide] one that murders his or her mother • matricidal adjective …   New Collegiate Dictionary

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