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Parricide (Latin: parricida, killer of parents or another close relative) is defined as:

  • The act of killing one's father (patricide),[1] or less commonly one's mother (matricide)[2] or some other close relative, but usually not children (infanticide or filicide).[3]
  • The act of killing a person (such as the ruler of one's country) who stands in a relationship resembling that of a father[4]
  • A person who commits such an act[5]
  • A related adjective ("parricide treason", "parricide brothers")[6]

Historical casesEdit

  • Tullia the Younger, along with her husband, arranged the murder and overthrow of her father, securing the throne for her husband.
  • Lucius Hostius reportedly was the first patricide in Rome, sometime after the Second Punic War.
  • Mary Blandy (1720–1752) poisoned her father, Francis Blandy, with arsenic in England in 1751.
  • Lizzie Borden (1860–1927) was an American woman accused and acquitted of murdering her father and stepmother.
  • Lyle and Erik Menendez were convicted in 1994 for the 1989 shotgun murders of their wealthy parents, entertainment executive José Menéndez and his wife Mary ("Kitty").
  • The Criminal Code of Japan once determined that patricide brought capital punishment or life imprisonment. However, the law was abolished because of the trial of the Tochigi patricide case in which a woman killed her father in 1968 after she was sexually abused by him and bore their children.

Legal definition in Roman timesEdit

In the sixth century AD collection of earlier juristical sayings, the Digest, a precise enumeration of the victims' possible relations to the parricide is given by the 3rd century AD lawyer Modestinus:

By the lex Pompeia on parricides it is laid down that if anyone kills his father, his mother, his grandfather, his grandmother, his brother, his sister, first cousin on his father's side, first cousin on his mother's side, paternal or maternal uncle, paternal (or maternal) aunt, first cousin (male or female) by mother's sister, wife, husband, father-in-law, son-in-law, mother-in-law, (daughter-in-law), stepfather, stepson, stepdaughter, patron, or patroness, or with malicious intent brings this about, shall be liable to the same penalty as that of the lex Cornelia on murderers. And a mother who kills her son or daughter suffers the penalty of the same statute, as does a grandfather who kills a grandson; and in addition, a person who buys poison to give to his father, even though he is unable to administer it.[7]


See alsoEdit


  1. ^ Oxford English Dictionary, 2nd. ed.: parricide: ... killing a near relative (now usually a father)
  2. ^ "Definition of MATRICIDE". Retrieved 2017-03-12.
  3. ^ "Definition of INFANTICIDE". Retrieved 2017-03-12.
  4. ^ Oxford English Dictionary, 2nd. ed.: parricide: ... fig.: the action or crime of killing the ruler of or betraying one's country
  5. ^ Oxford English Dictionary, 2nd. ed.: parricide 1: A person who kills a near relative; parricide 2: The action or crime of killing a near relative
  6. ^ examples from Oxford English Dictionary, 2nd. ed.
  7. ^ Watson, Alan (ed.); Robinson, Olivia (tr.) (1998). The Digest of Justinian, Volume 4, Book 48. Philadelphia: University of Pennsylvania Press. p. 335. ISBN 978-0-8122-2036-0.CS1 maint: extra text: authors list (link)

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