The Truth About the Story of the Real Life Vigilante Serial Killer

The line between serial killer and, say, a prolific executioner such as 17th century German executioner, Frantz Schmidt, who killed 394 people and disfigured and otherwise tortured about the same number elsewise (more on him in the Bonus Facts at the end of this video), is that one murdered and mutilated people deemed by local society to have deserved it, and the other did basically the same because they wanted to for whatever reason. Overlapping these two ends of the murderous spectrum in a ven diagram of awful is a man who, today, is celebrated by many for his actions, and currently walks the streets as a free man despite having murdered a confirmed 71 people. Here now is the story of Pedro Rodrigues Filho, aka Pedrinho Matador or Killer Petey.

While it’s often stated that Pedro only killed rapist and murderers and the like who he deemed deserved it, this isn’t exactly accurate, and the real story of the man is, in some ways, a bit more similar to many serial killers than some like to illustrate, though given he spent most of his life with nothing but criminals around did have a high density of criminal kills, and does have a bit of a redeeming arch at the end.

For starters, the first person Pedro tried to murder at the tender age of 13 in 1967 was, according to him, an older cousin he doesn’t give the name of. What did this cousin do? Apparently insulted Pedro’s mother in front of him in some way. If the prevalence of Yo Mama jokes the world over are to be accounted for, let’s just say we should all be glad Pedro wasn’t our youthful buddy. As to his method of attempted murder here, he states he pushed his cousin into a sugar cane press, which for a visual here usually consists of some rollers that pull in the cane and, well, squish it. Fortunately for his cousin, Pedro states, “I pushed him thinking his whole body would go through, but just his arm went through,” before the machine jammed up allegedly.

Pedro’s first actual murder likewise wasn’t exactly someone killing for any sort of vigilante justice, but rather murdering two people simply because he was upset his father got fired from his job as a security guard. Note to self, do not besmirch Pedro Filho’s parents in any way… Although Pedro’s father frequently beat the crap out of his mother without reprisal from Pedro up to this point so… hmmmm…

In this first instance of removing someone from our universe because he felt they deserved it, the Deputy Mayor of Alfenas fired Pedro’s father for allegedly stealing supplies from a high school kitchen, in Pedro’s view without any evidence. Whether his father actually did this or not isn’t really clear, with the then 14 year old Pedro becoming convinced a different security guard was responsible for the actual thefts.

Whatever the truth here, Pedro took it upon himself to take a shotgun that belonged to his grandfather, then directed the weapon at said Deputy Mayor until dead from the unfortunate holes in his body that resulted… For good measure, he also killed the other security guard with said weapon, because, why not? Justice!

Naturally sticking around after these murders wasn’t going to be a good idea, so Pedro absconded to the Mogi das Cruzes region of Sao Paulo, where he embraced a life of crime and murder for fun and profit, which is what he got up to for the next 5 years.

While little is generally said of the murders during this time that don’t fit the narrative of killing for vigilante justice, the ones people do like to focus on are those which followed a local gang murdering his pregnant girlfriend, Maria Aparecida Olympia, aka Botinha.

Of course, she was only killed in retribution for Pedro’s own brutal actions against the gang including allegedly a few murders, but nonetheless, his woman was dead and this is where Pedro decided to combine his self proclaimed love of murdering people (which by the way he has “I love to kill” tattooed on his body), with murdering only people he felt deserved it for what they’ve done… save, you know, all the other murders after nobody seems to want to mention such as the time he murdered someone who got his cousin pregnant but refused to marry her, and some guy because he snored too loud and it was annyong Pedro… But whatever, narrative! Or, I mean, have you ever slept next to someone who snored extremely loudly chronically? I guess we’ll give you a pass on this one Pedro…

But as for the gang who murdered his lady love in retribution for his own violent actions against them, Pedro got together a small group of his own gang of friends, showed up at a wedding some members of the rival gang were at, and killed the rival gang’s leader and six others. Also at the wedding 16 other people were severely injured, but managed to survive the ordeal. While it’s commonly reported, no doubt as it fits the narrative people put forth about Pedro, that the only people killed or injured at the wedding were the rival gang members, this strains credibility given Pedro’s little group opened fire on the large group of closely packed wedding guests… unless we are to assume only rival gang members and no family or the like were attending the wedding and that Pedro’s group were all among the world’s best sharp shooters.

On the plus side, I mean, everybody all dressed up for the wedding, if they wanted to, could just stick around for the funerals to kill two birds with one stone. Pedro was just considerate like that. A hero if anything…

All good things must come to an end, and in this case we’re discussing Pedro’s freedom, not the joyful murdering, and the 19 year old Pedro was ultimately arrested for his countless and often brutal crimes on Mary 24, 1973.

However, at one point being transported by the police, he was put in the back of a police van with two other criminals and, upon finding out one of said individuals was arrested for raping someone, went ahead and killed him, which the police only discovered when they stopped to get the criminals out.

In the end, Pedro was convicted and sentenced to 128 years in the clink, later ballooned to around 400 years when he kept on murdering away while in prison… Which was the perfect place for someone who loved him some murdering and had decided to get his kicks from murdering people who he felt deserved it. I mean, no matter who you are, or what life subjects you to, everybody needs a hobby.

Besides the snorer and another inmate whose slight against Pedro seems to have just been sneakily watching Pedro get it on with someone during a conjugal visit, perhaps the most notable killings or attempted killings he had while in prison included trying to murder a fellow serial killer, João Acásio da Costa, ironically enough with him concluding said man deserved to die for his serial killing crimes. Senor Costa was bludgeoned to near death, but survived apparently. Pedro also murdered a handful of people who’d dared try to kill him for his own murderous crimes.

Among the 47 or so murders he committed while in prison, arguably the most notable kill was killing his own father… Allegedly. Now, we should point out on this one that there are conflicting accounts of whether Pedro killed his father after Pedro was also in prison, or before, and even whether he actually killed his father at all or is just lying about that. As to those who state he killed his father before being imprisoned, these accounts state he went to the prison his father was being held at and brutally murdered him. As to the former story, Pedro was apparently also incarcerated in the same prison as his father and just did the deed there. As to him lying about the whole thing, we’ll get to that.

So which story is true? While we couldn’t find record of any death certificate or the like of his father to look at the date to determine the truth, we are inclined to go with that Pedro himself, if he killed his dad at all, was incarcerated at the time he did this. First, because if he really visited his father’s prison as a free man and then brutally killed him, we’re guessing he would have been arrested right then and there, unless the prison officials were quite literally the most incompetent of all time. Second, because, for whatever it’s worth, the man himself says he was in prison at the time he killed his father. And while trusting the word of a psychopathic serial killer on face value may seem questionable, especially concerning events that happened decades before and when the man himself has some inconsistencies in other stories he’s told after, this one seems likely enough given, again, that we just have a hard time believing he wouldn’t have been arrested immediately after if he’d been a free man at the time.

Whatever the case, why did he allegedly kill his father he previously had been so keen to defend?

Well, turns out his father had taken things up a notch on the brutal beatings of his mother and instead of just abusing her, much like his son’s favorite activities after, he murdered and mutilated her.

Pedro noted of this that, in his view his father had not previously killed his mother out of fear of Pedro, stating, “He was afraid of me. He was afraid that I would take his life… So he waited for me to go to prison to kill my mother.”

Pedro further states he was allowed to leave the prison under guard to attend his mother’s funeral, and, “I swore revenge in front of my mother’s coffin.”

On the murdering of his dear old dad, Pedro describes, “I killed my father in prison. I was already in prison then… I found a way to get to the cell where my father was.” At which point he stabbed him 22 times, and then, to quote this bastion of vigilante justice, “I cut out a piece of his heart. I chewed it…. Because I had said I was going to eat his heart. That’s what I did. It was revenge.”.

But for anyone wondering, Pedro doesn’t swallow, and instead after chewing a piece of his dad’s heart a bit, spit it out and “threw it over the body.”

Now, as alluded to, for whatever it’s worth a prison psychologist who worked with Pedro would later state none of that is true at all and Pedro’s father was actually killed by one of his former lover’s family members who was also in prison with Pedro’s father, and took issue with dear old dad’s abusive acts against said former lover.

But, I mean, if you can’t trust the word of a psychopath, who can you trust? Q.E.D.

Now, you might think this and the few dozen other murders (along with many other attempted murders) he committed while in the clink would ensure Pedro would never breathe free air again, but you’d be wrong. As we covered in our Who is the Most Prolific Serial Killer of All Time? video, several South American countries have a max number of years an individual can spend behind bars for things like murder, regardless of the number of years the courts level at them. And, in this case, at the time, the max sentence that could be leveled in Brazil was 30 years.

As such, despite all the killings on April 24, 2007 Pedro was released from prison.

Now, if you’ve been paying attention, you might at this point be thinking “1973 to 2007 is 4 more years than 30”. And, well, your mathematical skills are impeccable, as we are none-too surprised given you’re intelligent enough to watch our videos. Scholars and gentlemen all of you… Except, of course, all you in the audience who are not, in fact, men. Scholars though? Nailing it.

As for these approximately 4 extra years, they were tacked on separately owing to the near four dozen murders he committed while in the clink. Let that be a lesson to anyone thinking of committing crimes while incarcerated in a Brazilian prison. The Brazilian courts will absolutely put the smack down on you for it, clearly.

It maybe didn’t help that in an interview around the original time he made his first release request in 2003, that his main defense in his own words was, “[People] never seek to understand why I kill. You see, I never killed children. I love children…. I also never killed women or fathers of good families.” He also stated, “I can’t kill you for free. Why would I kill you if you have never done me or other people wrong?” Why indeed…

Interestingly here, unlike other unrepentant serial killers who found their way to freedom, Pedro seems to have decided to stop the killings despite him stating they gave him great pleasure, although did for a time wind up back in prison starting September 15 of 2011. On this one, he was given an eight year sentence for apparently rioting and depriving someone of their liberty, though he was let out a year early in 2018 owing to this time, not only not killing anyone, but also general good behavior.

Noteworthy here is that while the man himself today doesn’t appear to necessarily repent the murders, what he does have great regret for overall is his choice to enter a life of crime at all. And, indeed, even has a YouTube channel where he talks about his crimes and tries to counsel young people to not follow his former example. Stating, “Crime is no joke. Many are coming in because they see the branches [fame and money], not the root [prison and death]. [Crime] is like the devil: he gives with one hand and takes away with the other. He has a lot of  young people who come in, and when they want to leave, it’s too late.”

As to whether he will ever murder again, channeling his inner Sling Bade (“I don’t reckon I got no reason to kill nobody.”), Pedro states, “No. I would only kill again if someone came to take my life or the lives of the people I love, who are my family.”. Essentially having adjusted his rubric for who deserves to be murdered from anyone who committed a heinous crime in his view, or, you know had a snoring problem, to those threatening his loved ones or himself. Which, to be fair, is an improvement, and one, to an extent, most people can probably get behind.

And, indeed Pedro states of his rehabilitation, “Even those seen and stigmatized as evil can find their light…. Nobody said it would be easy. I [accept] my mistakes, I paid my penalty, so I don’t need to be judged or defended by anyone anymore.” And “For those who believe, follow me on the journey to the light because darkness has already consumed more than two-thirds of my life.”

Today something of a minor celebrity in some ways, with many admirers who approach him to get pictures and the like with the man, Pedro doesn’t really enjoy this attention on his past crimes. Stating “I [don’t] want to be known by that name anymore. Leave Pedrinho Metador alone…. [I want to] live the rest of the life I have in peace.”

If you liked this article, you might also enjoy our new popular podcast, The BrainFood Show (iTunes, Spotify, Google Play Music, Feed), as well as:

Bonus Fact:

Going back to 17th century German executioner, Frantz Schmidt, over the course of his near five decade career he executed 394 people and disfiguring or otherwise tortured or flogged roughly the same number.

Schmidt was one of those thrust into the profession as his father was strong-armed into becoming an executioner, condemning Schmidt to the same life once he came of age, though Schmidt’s story has something of a happy ending.

Like many executioners, Schmidt was given a wide berth by the public in his day-to-day life, but the incredible professionalism with which he conducted his grisly duties earned him the begrudging respect of both the general public and those in power. In his later years, Schmidt was able to parlay this into a meeting with Nuremberg authorities and then was able to appeal to Emperor Ferdinand II himself, with the goal of restoring his family honor.

Swayed by not just Schmidt’s words, but also letters from city council members and other notable people extolling Schmidt’s character and dedication to his duty, the then 70 year old executioner was granted both Nuremberg citizenship and had his family name cleared, allowing his progeny to escape the bloody specter of his work.

Of course, being ultra-professional with the profession was something of a necessity for Schmidt as, at the time in Germany, there was a law stipulating that any executioner tasked with doling out death by the sword (a form of execution largely reserved for especially important individuals) who took more than three swings to behead a victim would be condemned to die themselves.

Even where such laws didn’t exist, the job of an executioner was extremely dangerous as executioners were also at risk of being killed either by vengeful relatives or the crowd witnessing an execution. In regards to the latter, if an executioner was especially cruel in their meting out of punishment, simply incompetent to the point that they caused undue suffering, or just otherwise acted in an unprofessional manner in performing their duties, it wasn’t unheard of for a crowd to retaliate by killing the executioner on the spot, generally with no consequence to anyone in the mob.

This constant danger of the job was something Schmidt himself talked about several times in his journal, though he only notes one instance where the crowd turned into a mob. This occurred during a flogging he was performing, with the person being beaten ultimately stoned to death by the crowd.

As you might imagine from this, in cases like Schmidt who was trained from childhood to take over the job from his father, a rather lengthy apprenticeship was called for, including a robust education from one’s parent, followed by assisting in executions and torture from a young age. Schmidt also notes that he practiced executions extensively on various animals before being allowed to actually execute a human himself. The end goal of all of this was to make sure he wouldn’t screw up, as raucous mobs didn’t really care if it was someone’s first day on the job or not.



How Exactly Did One Become an Executioner in Medieval Times?


Case 127: Killer Petey


Pedro Rodrigues Filho: The Man Who Only Killed Criminals


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