Pedro Rodrigues Filho, The Real-Life ‘Dexter’ Serial Killer Who Targeted Murderers And Rapists

Published October 19, 2023
Updated November 29, 2023

Described as the "perfect psychopath," Pedro Rodrigues Filho murdered at least 70 people — 47 of whom were fellow inmates in prison.

Pedro Rodrigues Filho

Public DomainKnown as the real-life Dexter, serial killer Pedro Rodrigues Filho murdered at least 70 people, many of them suspected killers and rapists.

Pedro Rodrigues Filho was once described as the “perfect psychopath.” In total, this Brazilian killer was responsible for at least 70 murders — 10 of which he committed before he reached the age of 18. And like many killers, Filho later claimed to have actually murdered even more victims.

What separated Pedro Rodrigues Filho from other killers, though, were his targets. According to Filho himself, he killed more than 100 drug dealers, rapists, and murderers — in other words, he claimed that he had not killed anyone who was truly innocent. Much like the titular character in the TV series Dexter, Filho considered himself more of a vigilante than a serial killer.

He ultimately only served 34 years in prison for the 70-plus murders he committed — and then an additional seven from 2011 to 2018 for crimes he committed while he was detained at São Paulo. Then, Filho’s career took another surprising twist: he became a YouTuber with a channel that urged people to stay away from a life of crime.

This is the surprising story of Pedro Rodrigues Filho, the “real-life Dexter.”

Pedro Rodrigues Filho’s Bloody Crimes Begin At A Young Age

Pedro Rodrigues Filho In Prison

Public DomainBefore dying in March 2023, Pedro Rodrigues Filho may have killed more than 100 people.

Pedro Rodrigues Filho’s life was never going to be easy — that much was clear as soon as he came into the world. He was born in 1954 in Minas Gerais, Brazil with an injured skull: the result of his father beating his mother during her pregnancy.

Filho was just 14 years old the first time he killed a man. In this case, it was the deputy mayor of his hometown of Santa Rita do Sapucaí. He had taken his father’s shotgun to the town hall, shooting the deputy mayor for having fired his father, a school security guard, over accusations that he had stolen food from the school’s kitchen.

Then, he shot the security guard who he suspected of actually stealing the food.

Now a wanted man, he fled to the area of Mogi das Cruzes in Sao Paulo, Brazil. There, Pedro Rodrigues Filho’s killing streak continued. He would rob drug dens and kill the dealers he encountered, eventually earning a name in the media as a vigilante called “Pedrinho Matador” — Lil’ Petey Killer.

During this time, Filho also fell in love. Her name was Maria Aparecida Olympia, whom he called Botinha, and the two soon began living together. Not long after, she became pregnant — and was then killed by a gang leader hoping to strike back at Filho.

Now, Pedro Rodrigues Filho wanted revenge. He tracked down several people related to Olympia’s murder, torturing and killing them in his mission to find the man who took her life. In the end, he killed every member of the gang.

Pedrinho Matador

YouTubePedro Rodrigues Filho.

His desire for vengeance took a new target, however, when his father murdered his mother with a machete. Incarcerated in the same prison, Rodrigues devised a plan to get revenge for his mother.

“I killed my father in prison. I was already in prison then, I’ve spent 42 years in prison. My father was in prison. I arranged a well-thought-out plan and I turned up at my father’s cell,” Filho said, per the Daily Star. “I had promised revenge on my mother’s coffin.”

Pedro Rodrigues Filho stabbed his father 22 times — then ripped his heart out and bit into it.

“I just chewed it. I cut the tip of his heart off and chewed it, and I threw it on top of his body.”

Pedro Rodrigues Filho’s Murders Continue While Behind Bars

Real Life Dexter Serial Killer

Wikimedia CommonsDespite his enormous list of crimes, Pedro Rodrigues Filho only served 34 years during his first prison term.

Before killing his father, Pedro Rodrigues Filho had found himself en route to prison on May 24, 1973. He was placed in a police car with two other criminals — including a rapist. When police opened the car door, they found that Rodrigues had killed the rapist.

And now they were bringing him to a building full of other convicts.

According to the Toronto Sun, Pedro Rodrigues Filho killed at least 47 of his fellow inmates, which made up a majority of his murders. By his own account, Filho firmly believed that each of these convicts deserved to die.

Filho often claimed that he never killed innocent people, and that, despite getting a tattoo that said “Mato por Prazer” — “I kill for pleasure” — his motivation was anger and a desire for revenge, not bloodlust.

Though Filho was initially sentenced to 128 years in prison, the killings he committed while behind bars increased that sentence to 400 years. But per Brazilian law at the time, the maximum prison sentence anyone could serve was just 30 years (this has since been increased to 40).

In the end, Pedro Rodrigues Filho only served an additional four years for the murders he carried out in prison. So in 2007, he was released and took a job as a night watchman.

The Complicated Legacy Of The ‘Real-Life Dexter’

Real Life Dexter Pedro Rodrigues Filho

Wikimedia CommonsAfter Pedro Rodrigues Filho was released from prison, he published videos online urging people to stay away from crime.

Pedro Rodrigues Filho is notorious in Brazil, not just for the many people he killed, but for targeting other criminals. After his release from prison, he became something of an anti-crime advocate and spoke candidly about his life and crimes. His newfound celebrity reportedly even helped inspire the Showtime series Dexter, likewise about a serial killer who only targets other violent criminals.

But in 2011, trouble found Filho again, and he was placed back in jail. This time, however, he was only charged with threatening others, illegal possession of weapons, and participating in illegal riots. He was released from prison once again in 2018 for good behavior.

Once again a free man, Filho made the curious decision to launch a YouTube channel, where he used his own life story as a cautionary tale. He told his viewers about his criminal history — and warned them that they should avoid a life of crime if possible.

Dexter Morgan

ShowtimeThe story of Pedro Rodrigues Filho later inspired the fictional serial killer Dexter Morgan.

But Pedro Rodrigues Filho’s story came to an abrupt end on March 5, 2023, when he was killed outside of a family member’s home in Sao Paulo. As The Mirror reported, the 68-year-old ex-killer’s throat was slashed and sustained multiple gunshot wounds from assailants in a black car.

The suspects fled the scene immediately after, but police later discovered the car they had been driving, as well as a cache of ammunition nearby. The anonymous assailants reportedly told Filho’s relative, “It’s nothing to do with you. Take your daughter and go inside.”

It is still unknown who put an end to Pedrinho Matador.

After learning about Pedro Rodrigues Filho, the real-life Dexter known as “Pedrinho Matador”, learn about Carl Panzram, the most cold-blooded serial killers in history, and Richard Ramirez a.k.a. “The Night Stalker.” Then, read about Rodney Alcala, the serial killer who won the Dating Game during his murder spree.

Kara Goldfarb
Kara Goldfarb is a writer living in New York City who holds a Bachelor's degree in journalism from Ithaca College and hosts a podcast for Puna Press.
John Kuroski
John Kuroski is the editorial director of All That's Interesting. He graduated from New York University with a degree in history, earning a place in the Phi Alpha Theta honor society for history students. An editor at All That's Interesting since 2015, his areas of interest include modern history and true crime.
Cite This Article
Goldfarb, Kara. "Pedro Rodrigues Filho, The Real-Life ‘Dexter’ Serial Killer Who Targeted Murderers And Rapists.", October 19, 2023, Accessed April 20, 2024.