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since July 24, 2001

Last updated 09/28/2004




Parricide is a familiar theme both in real life and in fiction and are ascribed to the usual motives: love, money, revenge. In some cases films and novels treat these murders sympathetically, as either justifiable homicide or as murder with mitigating circumstances. In others the opinion of society and of filmmakers and authors is clear; the murder was completely unjustifiable.

The story of Beatrice Cenci, an Italian noblewoman (died 1599), is well-known. She killed her father for having sexually abused her. At the time this was not considered a justifiable act; indeed, society did not discuss the subject. Another famous supposed parricide was Lizzie Borden, tried and acquitted of the murder of her father and stepmother in 1892.

Frances Bradshaw Schreuder was convicted of conspiring in the death of her father Franklin Bradshaw. The crime was dramatized in Nutcracker (1987) a miniseries based on the Shana Alexander book and starring Lee Remick as Schreuder and in At Mother's Request (TV miniseries 1987) with Stefanie Powers as Schreuder and based on a novelization by Jonathan Coleman. Traci di Carlo urged her boyfriend to kill her mother (Beyond Obsession (TVM 1994). Fear and revenge for alleged sexual abuse apparently powered Cheryl Pierson=s conspiracy to kill her father; she hired a school friend.

Additional readings on events mentioned in this mini-essay:


On Lizzie Borden

Angela Carter, Lizzie=s Tiger (short story)

Angela Carter, The Fall River Axe Murders (short story)


On Frances Bradshaw Schreuder

Alexander, Shana, Nutcracker: Money, Madness and Murder (1985).

Coleman, Jonathan, At Mother's Request (1985).

Bradshaw Auto Parts website (on Franklin Bradshaw)

On Traci di Carlo

Richard Hammer, Beyond Obsession: The Traci di Carlo Story ().

On other crimes

Clark Howard, Love=s Blood: The Shocking True Story of a Teenager Who Would Do Anything For the Older Man She Loved, Even Kill Her Whole Family (1994).

Lorraine Delia Kenney, Daughters of Suburbia: Growing Up White, Middle Class and Female (Rutgers University Press, 2000). Discusses the cases of Cheryl Pierson and Amy Fisher.

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