Clovis News

Son ordered to trial in Clovis woman's death

After a Clovis woman was slain inside her home last September, her son called 911.

"I just killed my mother," said Eric Tidrick, who identified himself in the 911 call that was played Thursday in Fresno County Superior Court.

After hearing the 911 call and other testimony at Tidrick's preliminary hearing, Judge Arlan Harrell ordered him to stand trial on a charge of murder for stabbing his 77-year-old mother, LaDonna Tidrick, to death.

During the testimony, Tidrick, 49, wiped tears from his eyes while his relatives sat silently in the courtroom.

Dr. Michael Chambliss, a forensic pathologist, said LaDonna Tidrick died after being stabbed in the heart.

After the hearing, Tidrick's older brother, Russell Tidrick, said his brother is an alcoholic who didn't work, didn't have money and threatened to commit suicide on several occasions.

But LaDonna Tidrick never gave up on her youngest son, Eric, giving him food and a place to live, Russell Tidrick said.

"My mother loved Eric, and she wasn't going to leave him, even though she was sometimes scared of him," Russell Tidrick said. "To that end, she paid the ultimate price."

Prosecutor Tim Donovan began the hearing with Tidrick's 911 call to the Clovis Police Department at 2:11 a.m. Sept. 2. In the call, Tidrick tells police to come to his mother's apartment on Barstow Avenue near Villa Avenue. In addition to saying he killed his mother, Tidrick tells dispatch that he wants to kill himself with a gun.

When officers arrived, Tidrick stood in a darkened apartment. He then stepped out on the porch, holding his right hand behind his back, officer Drew Mosher testified.

Mosher said he aimed a rifle at Tidrick's chest, while officers repeatedly shouted at him to show his right hand. When Tidrick suddenly pointed something at the officers, Mosher said he began squeezing the trigger on his rifle. He stopped when the other officers shouted that Tidrick had a drill in his right hand.

Mosher testified that he then went into the apartment and found the woman's body on her bed, covered with pillows and a knife stuck in her chest.

A handcuffed Tidrick was taken to a hospital, where he told a staffer that he killed his mother and wanted to kill himself, officer Randy Gens testified. Tidrick also said he had been drinking for the past four days, Gens said.

According to a criminal complaint, Tidrick was 17 when he was convicted of murdering McLane High School graduate Larry Eugene Smith in 1978. The 19-year-old's bludgeoned body was discovered near Millerton Lake on March 5, 1978.

Because of the prior conviction, Tidrick faces as much as 51 years to life in prison if convicted of murdering his mother, Donovan said.

Tidrick, who is being held in jail, will return to court on Feb. 28 for his arraignment.

Russell Tidrick, 54, said he hasn't spoken to his brother since their mother was killed. After hearing the evidence, he said his brother doesn't deserve "a pass."

"I don't know what was going on in his head," Russell Tidrick said. "He's crying now because he's sober and knows what he did."

Related stories from Fresno Bee