Parricide: An In-Depth Look at Kids Who Kill Parents and What Happens to Them

Kathleen M. Heide, University of South Florida
Denise Paquette Boots, University of South Florida

Despite the interest in kids who kill parents, little information is available that looks systematically at case processing and disposition. This paper provides descriptive data on parricide cases across the United States and abroad. Special attention will focus on exploring differences between juveniles and adults who kill parents. An extensive search of numerous large data bases that house local, regional, national, and international publications found coverage of more than 200 cases of children killing parents during the last 50 years. Attention will focus on system processing from the initial charge through conviction and sentencing, and post-conviction remedies and adjustments in sentencing. Victim, offender, and case-related variables will be analyzed in terms of victim-offender relationship. Data pertaining to case-related variables (e.g., weapons used, other charges) will also be examined. Co-defendant information will be presented where applicable. To the extent possible, newspaper accounts will be used to classify parricide cases according to motive and Heide's typology of parricide offenders (severely abused, severely mentally ill, and dangerously antisocial).

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Updated 05/20/2006