His report card had D's and F's again, and for young Alexander Bedford, that meant another beating.

But instead of fetching the electrical cord for his whipping, the often-abused 14-year-old returned with a 7-inch kitchen knife and impaled it in his mother's chest, he confessed to police.

The Feb. 5, 2001, killing of Juanita Bedford, 37, occurred on the same day her only son dutifully ironed and set out her clothing for the day. The former eighth-grader then spent the afternoon at school plotting her death.


Mattie Mathis stood before a judge Tuesday and asked for mercy for the youth who killed her daughter -- her grandson, now 18.

The judge said she believed Bedford to be a ''mild-mannered, passive child'' who was abused by his mother, 37-year-old Juanita Bedford -- though the abuse did not justify Juanita's death.

Attorney Roderick Vereen said Bedford suffered physical and psychological abuse at the hands of his mother and her lover. In a sworn statement, the lover corroborated that Bedford was abused by his mother. Before the murder, the Department of Children and Families investigated an abuse complaint against Bedford's mother at the request of his school. The family attended one counseling session, the state said.