The subject of this case has gained some infamy from his crimes due to the similarities between his crimes and the crimes of fictional serial killer Dexter Morgan from the TV series Dexter (2006), the series tells the story of a killer controlling his urges to kill by killing people who “deserve” it like other serial killers, drug lord, paedophiles and mob bosses. The real-life example Pedro Rodrigues Filho aka Pedrinho Matador (Killer Petey) is believed to have killed 10 people before the age of 18, and has a victim count or 70 -100+ victims, 47 of these victims were other criminals incarcerated with Filho one being a fellow serial killer Francisco de Assis Pereira.
Filho was born on 17th July 1954 in Santa Rita do Sapucai, Minas Gerais, Brazil. He grew up on a farm in Santa Rita do Sapucai, south of Minas Gerais. He was born with his skull bruised; it is believed that this was a result of his father kicking his mother in the stomach while she was pregnant with Filho. The physical abuse from his father continued as he grew up. Filho claimed that he began to feel the urge to kill by the age of 13, the first incident, although unconfirmed was with one of his older cousins, he claimed he pushed him into a sugar cane press, almost killing him.
He committed his first murder at 14-years-old, the victim was the deputy mayor of Santa Rota Sapucai, he shot him in front of city hall, he did it because the deputy fired his father after accusing him of stealing food from the high school where he worked as a security guard, he later killed another security guard who was believed to have been the real thief. Filho escaped the authorities and took refuge in Mogi das Cruzes, Greater Sao Paulo. While he lived there, he would rob drug dens and kill traffickers, it was then he met the widow of one of the leaders of a trafficking ring Maria Aparecida Olympia. They began living together and it’s believed that he loved her, Maria was later killed by members of a rival trafficking gang, angered by Maria’s murder, Filho killed the member of the gang one by one in order to find out who killed Maria. The gang’s leader organised a wedding during Filho’s hunt for Maria’s killer, Filho and some friends turned up at the party, they killed seven people and injured sixteen others, it was described as a massacre. Months after this Filho heard that his favourite cousin was pregnant and that her boyfriend refused to marry her, so he fatally shot him in revenge.
Filho learned that his father was in jail for the brutal murder of his mother, in which he killed her with 21 machete blows, so Filho paid his father a visit in jail and delivered his brutal revenge, he stabbed his father 22 times, ripped out his heart, chewed a part of it and spat it out.
Filho was arrested for the first time on 24th May 1973 and lived in prison for most of his adult years. In police records it shows that during one transfer Filho was handcuffed to another inmate for travel, the other inmate had been charged with rape, when officers went to retrieve the prisoners, they found the other inmate dead. Filho assumed responsibility for the murder, justifying it by stating the fact the prisoner was a rapist. In 2003 he was sentenced to 126 years in prison, but Brazilian law prohibits anyone being sentenced to more than 30 years behind bars, although there is a decree signed in 1934 by Getulio Vargas, the then president, it states that psychopaths can be detained indefinitely in a psychiatric establishment for treatment.
He continued to kill while in prison and reportedly claimed a further 47 victims, this resulted in a sentence increase, a sentence of 400 years was requested and the stay in prison was extended until 2017. Even though he was in prison he was free to start a life with his girlfriend, she was also a prisoner and the pair exchanged letters, he did not reveal her name, only that she serving 12 years for theft, when she was released she would visit him in the infamous Taubate prison.
Filho has become a phenomenon for his survival in the harsh regime of a Brazilian prison, on average a prisoner will live up to 15 years in prison before being killed by disease or rivals within the prison, in order to survive he killed and wounded several fellow inmates. It was reported that he was once attacked by five inmates, he killed three of them and chased away the other two. Filho also killed two of his cellmates, one because he “did not like his face” the other because “snored too much”, as a result of his activities inside he got a tattoo saying “I kill for pleasure”, he has since got this covered by another tattoo.
He remained in prison for a total of 34 years, he was released on 24th April 2007, according to Intelligence information from the National Security Force he moved to the Northeast after release and lived in Fortaleza, Ceara. Filho was arrested again on 15th September 2011, it was reported by local media that he was arrested at his home in a rural area where he worked as a caretaker in Balneario, Camboriu. He reportedly had to serve 8 years on charges such as riot and deprivation of liberty, crimes committed while he was in Sao Paulo.
Currently Filho is free, after spending so many years behind bars he says he is sorry for his crimes and has converted to Christianity, he’s written an autobiography and runs a YouTube channel, on the channel he speaks and gives advice to young people in order to deter them from a life of crime, his life now is described as world away from his violent criminal past, but his story of being one of Brazil’s most prolific and notorious serial killers still lives on in the shock and disbelief of the people that hear it.
Filho has been described as a psychopath, and fits most of the criteria according to psychologists as he displays a lack of remorse and compassion for others, the difference in Filho is that unlike a psychopath he did seem to have genuine affection for his mother, some relatives and girlfriends, because of this he has instead been called a sociopath for his need to avenge injustices. He was analysed by psychologists in 1982 and he was diagnosed as a “paranoid and antisocial” character with his greatest motivation of his life being “the violent affirmation of oneself”.
It’s easy to see the beginning for Filho, growing affected by violence and abuse he began to see it as a norm and a way to gain power and keep control over situations in his life, but instead of chasing the control in the same way his father did by abusing women and people weaker than him, it gave him a need to protect. As he got older and his urge to kill got stronger, so did his rage toward abusers like his father, this drove him to kill anyone he thought “deserved” it. This is not to say he was completely in control of his actions and decisions all the time, his impulsive and reckless nature displayed itself many times throughout his criminal career showing that he does act on emotions, this is shown in his reaction to his mother’s murder when he just walks into a prison and attacks his father in that shocking way, showing no regard for the consequences of this he just wanted his father dead and those emotions took over any rational thinking he had up to that point.
As he is the biggest source of trauma in Filho’s life and as I mentioned his first motivation and experience of violence it’s important to point out the fact his first murder may have been a bid for him to please his father and end the abuse, he already had homicidal urges that he reportedly had attempted to act on, so when his home life became even more unstable because his father lost his job the abuse would have more abusive and Filho would have been looking for an end for it. This led to him killing the man his father felt had slighted him by firing him in a bid to please his father in order to end the abuse, when he committed the murder and felt that control he had been craving it woke that feeling of enforcing real justice that he continued to recreate throughout his criminal career.