The Truth About The Real-Life 'Dexter' Killer

You could spend days arguing over the morality of fictional murder. Can a person be a hero and also a killer? What if they only kill the bad guys? How would they know, with absolute certainty, who the "bad guys" actually are? What if they're wrong? All this grey area (and more!) can be found in your dusty collection of Dexter DVDs. Or, for a more real-world example, in the life of Pedro Rodrigues Filho, AKA Pedrinho Matador, or "Killer Petey."

Rodrigues has picked up some internet fame in the last few years, owing to his reputation as South America's own honest-to-goodness Dexter Morgan. Generally, his story is painted in broad, easily retweetable strokes: He's a serial killer who kills serial killers. His lust for vengeance is unparalleled. Thanks to a colloquial oddity of the Brazillian legal system, he was released from prison after killing at least 71 people, and possibly more than a hundred. With a machete in one hand and a firearm in the other, he stalks the southern hemisphere, his ravenous eyes seeking out injustice. In all likelihood, he was brought to life by Todd McFarlane's special birthday wish.

The truth is less poetic.

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Among Pedro's first murders were the deputy mayor of his hometown, killed in retribution for firing Pedro's father. Also killed by Pedro: Pedro's father, whose heart Pedro removed and chewed on, according to Rolling Stone.

That kind of incongruous motivation pops up a lot in Rodrigues's story. Thought Catalogue describes Killer Petey's rap sheet succinctly: "He has 71 confirmed murders to his name, although this could be just the tip of the iceberg in terms of his kill count. The vast majority of these victims were criminals themselves." One more time for the cheap seats — "the vast majority." Not all.

Even if you believe that some people have it coming, it would be beyond cynical to say that all of Petey's victims fell under that umbrella. One early-days example was a school guard, suspected of stealing food. Rodrigues killed him, then learned that the man wasn't guilty after all. What might have been an "aw-shucks" teachable moment hammered home his one-note tune: He killed the actual thief to make up for his whoopsie.

Today, thanks to maximum sentencing laws in Brazil, Pedro Rodrigues Filho is a free man. He even has a YouTube channel. If you speak Portugeuse, you can check it out and find out how he feels about killing these days. In a shocking twist, he's for it.