Sibling rivalry, by definition, is the competition between siblings, especially for the attention, affection, or approval of their parents.
While sibling rivalry is most common among siblings of the same sex or those who are close in age, other factors can contribute to a child’s frustration with their siblings, as well as a new baby, a sibling with a serious or terminal illness, or a sibling with special needs. As a child begins to feel less important within their family, they may start verbal or physical fights with their siblings. And in some cases, they may even act out in regression and revert to old habits, such as thumb-sucking or wetting the bed, as a last attempt to receive their parents’ attention.
All the fighting aside, sibling rivalry can also be beneficial as children learn how to understand their sibling’s points of view and work together to compromise and solve their problems. However, that doesn’t mean the fighting ends as the children grow up.
Even adult siblings differ in opinions, relationships, religious beliefs, and political viewpoints, which can lead to similar arguments. Like young children, adult siblings can even find themselves at odds over something petty. Unfortunately, in certain cases, those feelings of anger, bitterness, frustration, or jealousy are unable to ever be resolved.
This list contains 10 ill-fated stories of sibling rivalry that ended in tragedy.
Related: 10 Noteworthy Sibling Rivalries Through History
10 War over Wi-Fi Password
Sixteen-year-old Kevon Watkins of Macon, Georgia, had a history of arguing with his mother and siblings, especially when the circumstances involved the family’s Wi-Fi password. However, in February 2018, this common argument took a tragic turn.
When Watkins’s mother picked him up from school on February 2, 2018, he was already in a foul mood, and his anger only escalated once they arrived home. Watkins began playing a video game on his Xbox, but due to other family members using the internet, he experienced a slow connection and took it upon himself to change the Wi-Fi password.
It was at that moment that Watkins’s 13-year-old brother informed their mother of what Watkins had done. As his mother tried to handle the situation and retrieve the gaming console from his room, Watkins threatened to beat her, and that’s when his 19-year-old sister Alexus attempted to intervene.
Sadly, as Alexus tried to help her mother, an argument ensued. Watkins put her in a chokehold and kept her in his grip for more than 10 minutes before police arrived at the home. Alexus was transported to the hospital but pronounced dead from asphyxiation.
Watkins was charged with felony murder and aggravated assault. On August 2, 2019, he was sentenced to life in prison.
9 Dispute Involving Dirty Dishes
Siblings—34-year-old Ronnie Dale Matheson II and 31-year-old Troy Collins Matheson—of Red Bluff, California, had no history of violence. However, a dispute over something as meaningless as dirty dishes left one brother injured and the other dead.
The brothers had returned home in the early morning hours on July 4, 2011, after going to a celebration. Shortly after, a fight broke out over dirty dishes, and Troy stabbed Ronnie with a knife.
When sheriffs responded to the domestic disturbance, they found Ronnie unconscious and bleeding. He was transported to a local hospital but later pronounced dead. Troy, who was also injured during the altercation, tried to flee the scene but was apprehended, treated for his injuries, and then arrested.
Troy was charged with manslaughter and use of a deadly weapon and sentenced to seven years in prison.
8 Conflict over Cooking Pizza
On October 13, 2022, 38-year-old Aaron Winn of Kansas City, Missouri, was trying to bake a pizza when he claimed his brother, Karl Winn, turned off the oven. While this was perhaps nothing more than an honest mistake, Aaron claimed his brother’s action was an “evil wrongdoing” and decided to punish him in a brutal fashion.
A call was later made to the local police department about a “cutting.” However, when officers arrived, they found Karl on the front porch with a sword through his chest.
While Aaron initially claimed Karl had committed suicide, he later told officers about the argument and was even so brazen as to show them the Facebook live stream video he recorded during his confrontation with Karl.
Aaron Winn has been charged with second-degree murder and armed criminal action. He is currently being held on a $750,000 bond.
7 Rivalry over Religious Differences
Twenty-three-year-old Brandin Gonsalves and his 25-year-old brother Gerard Gonsalves Jr lived together in West Palm Beach, Florida. While the siblings were able to share a residence, they did not share the same religious viewpoints—Brandin was a Muslim, and Gerard was a Christian.
On July 10, 2012, Brandin waited for Gerard to come out of the shower and then proceeded to attack him with a knife, stabbing him a total of 69 times. Brandin then took a shower and changed clothes before stealing Gerard’s truck and fleeing the scene.
Brandin was located three days later, on July 13, 2012, and confessed to “ambushing” his brother over “religious indifferences.” He also told police he had planned to kill virgins.
He was charged with first-degree murder and grand theft auto. However, Brandin was later found not guilty by reason of insanity and was ordered to undergo mental health treatment.
6 Confrontation over Seat in Car
An unnamed 18-year-old girl and her 16-year-old brother, who lived in Ulu Palai, Ulu Choh, an area of Malaysia’s Johor state, were raised in a loving family, taught religion, and did well in school. However, that did not stop a tragic fight from occurring between the two siblings.
On October 19, 2022, their mother picked them up from school, but the pair began fighting over a seat in the car. Unfortunately, even after they reached home, the argument continued as the 16-year-old brother continued to tease his sister on their way inside. The 18-year-old sister then threw a knife at her brother, ultimately killing him.
The sister is now remanded into custody until further investigation into the case is done.
5 Feud over Family Honor
Sixteen-year-old Morsal Obeidi lived in Hamburg, Germany, and enjoyed typical teenage activities—listening to Western music and going out with friends. However, her brother, 24-year-old Ahmad, considered her a disgrace to their Muslim family based on how Obeidi spent her time and how she dressed.
While Ahmad had a history of criminal behavior, which included 30 prior charges, he could not overlook Obeidi’s choice in wearing make-up and short skirts. So he hatched a sinister plan he believed would restore his family’s honor.
On May 15, 2008, Ahmad asked Obeidi to meet him at a local McDonald’s and took his friend Mohammed with him. It was then that Ahmad again questioned Obeidi’s behavior. He asked her if she was working as a prostitute, and when he felt his sister’s answer was nothing more than “rubbish,” he attacked her with a knife, stabbing her a total of 23 times. Sadly, Obeidi bled to death at the scene.
Mohammed later went to the police station and told officers what Ahmad had done. Ahmad was arrested and confessed to killing Obeidi, calling his actions “an honor killing.” Ahmad was sentenced to life in prison.
4 Brutal Killing over Boyfriend
Twenty-one-year-old Fatiha Marzan and her 20-year-old sister Sayma of Orlando, Florida, became entangled in a love triangle over Fatiha’s boyfriend. Fatiha claimed that Sayma had been messaging her long-distance boyfriend through a computer game over the past year but refused to break off the communication. When Fatiha’s boyfriend then confessed his love for Sayma, Fatiha felt the only way to end the feud was to kill her sister.
Fatiha’s plan to eliminate her sister from the picture included ordering a dagger online, concealing it in her closet for two weeks, and waiting for the opportune time when everyone in the house would be asleep to kill Sayma.
On September 26, 2022, at 4:30 am, Fatiha stabbed her sister three or four times through the heart. She later placed a call to first responders, informing them she had killed her sister, but by the time police arrived, Sayma was found deceased.
Fatiha Marzan is currently in custody and has been charged with first-degree murder.
3 T-Shirt Argument Turns Tragic
On the morning of May 21, 2022, 19-year-old Andrew Huber Young and his 22-year-old brother, Ethan, of Wells, Maine, had an argument when Andrew noticed Ethan was wearing one of his T-shirts. However, when Ethan went to change, rather than putting on one of his own shirts, he chose another t-shirt belonging to Andrew.
Needless to say, Andrew’s anger escalated, and in the middle of all the tension, their parents—Candance and Mark—Ethan, and Ethan’s 22-month-old daughter Octavia left the house. However, when the family returned home, Ethan noticed Andrew had destroyed things in his room, and in retaliation, he went and destroyed Andrew’s hamster cage.
In an attempt to stop the fighting, the parents separated the siblings, walked Andrew out of the house, and took away his keys. From there, Andrew met up with his girlfriend but little did anyone know that he had stolen his father’s .22 caliber pistol and hidden it in the trunk of his car.
When Andrew returned home, he took the gun out of the trunk, approached the deck, and fired shots through the glass front door. Ethan was shot in the chest, his father was shot in the face, and Octavia was shot through her left arm and chest. Ethan and Mark were treated for their wounds at a local hospital, but sadly, Octavia did not survive.
Andrew later turned himself in but claimed he never meant to kill his brother. He simply wanted his respect. Andrew has been charged with intentional, knowing, or depraved indifference murder, along with two counts of attempted murder and aggravated assault.
2 Altercation over Inheritance
Brothers Paul and David Hett of North August, South Carolina, had just lost their mother. However, instead of comforting one another, the siblings began fighting over their mother’s will and the money left to them. According to the will, David was to receive only $1, whereas Paul was to receive all other assets. (Link 21)
Sadly, on September 22, 2008, one of David’s friends found him dead in his home after Paul had hit him in the head with a wooden ax handle. Paul was charged with murder.
1 Heated Exchange over Body Wash
On March 10, 2021, 23-year-old Jaylan Jones and his unnamed 28-year-old brother from Riverdale, Georgia, got into a heated argument when Jaylan’s brother accused him of throwing away his bottle of body wash.
The brothers were separated by another person in their apartment on two different occasions, but that did not end the conflict. From there, Jaylan retrieved a gun from his room before going downstairs and shooting his brother multiple times.
Jaylan Jones was charged with murder and one felony count of tampering with evidence.