Clovis man accused in mother's murder sheds tears in court

FRESNO, Calif.

Action News had the only camera in the courtroom as the defendant broke down and his family commented publicly for the first time.

Eric Tidrick wiped tears from his eyes as Clovis police officer Drew Mosher described the day Tidrick almost died, the same day he's accused of stabbing his mother in the heart.

"I actually started to pull the trigger on my rifle believing that he had a gun pointed at our officers," Officer Mosher said.

Mosher and three other officers showed up at Tidrick's door in September 2010, armed and ready to shoot after getting an ominous 911 call.

"I just killed my mother and I'm armed," said the caller, now identified as Eric Tidrick.

Tidrick was actually armed with only a drill when police arrived, and even though he pointed it at officers, they held their fire.

But inside the apartment he shared with his mother, investigators found LaDonna Tidrick's dead body covered in pillows.

Tidrick's family says LaDonna had taken care of her youngest son for more than a decade, always hoping he'd overcome his alcoholism and turn his life around.

"That makes her great," said LaDonna's son Russell Tidrick, who is Eric's only surviving brother. "That makes her foolish. That makes her a mother. And I guess everybody should be happy to have a mother like that."

Family members believe Tidrick is now sobering up and feeling remorseful, but they say his tears haven't convinced them to forgive.

"There's no excuse for doing that to family no matter what," said Russell Tidrick. "You might fight with family, but you don't kill them. And to that, I'm sure he has a tear in his eye."

Tidrick nearly avoided Thursday's hearing by agreeing to plead guilty to first degree murder charges.

Family members said they were satisfied with a deal that would've sent him to prison for 26 years to life, but it fell through.

Judge Arlan Harrell ruled Thursday there's enough evidence put Tidrick on trial for killing his mother.

The soon-to-be 50-year-old now faces at least 51 years in prison if he's convicted.

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