Pi: I swear, that was an accident.Accidental Murder occurs when a situation that wasn't intended to be lethal ends with the death of someone anyway. Occasionally, this happens because a fight just goes too far (Bob and Alice start fighting, and the fight gets more heated than anyone expects, and Alice ends up braining Bob with a heavy object or accidentally knocking him onto something sharp... and she doesn't realize he's dead until it's over). Other times, this happens when innocent bystanders are caught up in someone else's fight and are dead before anyone else realizes they are there (Bob and Alice are fighting; Carol, a friend to both, tries to break it up and gets accidentally shot while Bob and Alice are wrestling for a gun). And sometimes there's no fighting involved at all; the person who dies is killed because the unintentional killer does something stupid. Either way, it's simple bad luck for the dead guy, and for his killer. No one was meant to die, but someone died anyway. The ultimate result of an Accidental Murder varies. Bob killing Carol (or Alice killing Bob) may cause him to become The Atoner, or make a Deal with the Devil to bring her Back from the Dead. Often the character who committed the Accidental Murder will vow to become a pacifist, although it may just be the first step down a slippery slope of murder and mayhem. See also I Didn't Mean to Kill Him, which is usually what Bob tells the police when he's arrested. Compare to Murder by Mistake, where Bob had every intention of killing Alice, but for some reason ended up killing Carol. Supertrope to Not-So-Fake Prop Weapon. Legal note: By definition, in most legal systems "murder" requires that the death be intended by the killer, or the result of deliberately inflicted injuries. In most of the situations described above, the charge would be manslaughter, or it might not even be a crime at all, but only a fatal and unfortunate accident. Between the two exists "negligent homicide," which may or may not be the name of the crime (if any).note However, that makes for a less evocative title.
Ennesby: Congratulations. You just invented "negligent regicide."
Ennesby: Congratulations. You just invented "negligent regicide."
As a Death Trope, all spoilers will be unmarked ahead. Beware.
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Anime & Manga
- In the Beginning: The Bible Stories: Moses accidentally kills the foreman with the decoration of his necklace when the former jumped over the latter to fight him.
- Rurouni Kenshin:
- Inverted: A bad guy manages to push Kenshin to the point where he reverts to Battousai and starts killing people, the first in line being said bad guy. Only it turns out that the sword Kenshin used was the other Reverse Blade Sword, meaning Kenshin has committed accidental non-murder.
- Kenshin also accidentally kills his first wife, Yukishiro Tomoe, before the beginning of the series (he was trying to fight off an enemy, she attempted to help him, both enemy and girl get hit...), which is what motivates him to give up killing in the first place.
- Wolf's Rain:
- Toboe, a wolf pup, unintentionally killed his elderly human owner/grandma because he did realize his strength.
- Toboe later killed a girl's pet hawk when he tried to grab it.
- In Mobile Fighter G Gundam, the rules specifically state that Thou Shalt Not Kill, but also that if a fighter is accidentally killed in battle, their opponent won't be held accountable. This plays into one episode's plot, where Sai Saici is hounded by a fighter who was killed by Explosive Instrumentation while fighting Sai's grandfather and got revived by the Devil Gundam. At first Sai, who is TERRIFIED of the supernatural, thinks the mummy wants vengeance, but it turns out that he just wants to have the fight that his death denied him. Sai obliges and his opponent finally passes on, but after the DG Cells forcibly revive him a second time, Domon steps in and uses his Shining Finger to destroy the corpse once and for all.
- Also, George De Sand accidentally helped a sociopathic contestant accidentally kill an entire coliseum crowd. See, the contestant was taking pot-shots at the audience, forcing George to block his missiles with his Gundam, and the president of Neo-France decided this was the last guy you'd let represent your country in the Gundam-Olympics and disqualified him. In response, the contestant decided to unleash his payload straight at the president, George grappled his opponent to save the president, but then the entire payload was misfired straight into the audience. 'Nobody in the bleachers survived.
- In Fairy Tail Zeref can do this by standing too close to people. Understandably, his arrival marks the end of the manga's days as a Nobody Can Die story..
- In Higurashi: When They Cry during the manga arc Onisarashi-Hen (Demon Exposing Arc), it's implied that Aki Kimiyoshi's death, Natsumi's grandmother, actually was an accident due to Natsumi shoving her away and Aki hitting her head. However, Aki's death is still responsible for leading to Natsumi's Sanity Slippage, which Aki herself started to go through as a result of the Hinamizawa Disaster and fear of "Oyashiro-Sama's Curse." Natsumi blocked it out and hallucinated that her mother Haruko had stabbed Aki to death.
- Early on in Bokurano, the cast is standing on top of Zearth after the first battle after the "tutorial" when Ushiro bumps Waku, and Waku seemingly falls to his death as a result, causing Ushiro to become angry when it seems as though everyone is accusing him of murder. It turns out later that Waku died as a result of piloting Zearth, and he was already dead before he fell.
- Elfen Lied: When Aiko Takada's abusive father tried to cut a painting she made for her mother with a knife, Aiko pushed him away, causing him to accidentally slash his own throat. Unfortunately for Aiko, her dad's girlfriend happened to walk in at that moment and call the police on her.
- Being a mystery series, it happens many times in Detective Conan. A good example takes place when Grumpy Old Man Watanuki tries to push the Office Lady Sanae away from him... but stupidly does so when they're atop of a flight of stairs, causing the poor woman to hit her head and die.
- Future Diary: In Yuno Gasai's backstory, she got the better of her abusive parents and locked them in the same cage they locked her in as payback, intending to let them out when they repented. She left them in too long and they starved to death.
- The Tournament Rules in Dragon Ball state that killing one's opponent in the ring is forbidden. If it does happen, the implication is that the fighter is not held responsible for murder, but are disqualified from the tournament for use of unnecessary force. This almost happens to Videl when she fights Spopovich in the 25th Budokai, when she kicks him so hard that his head snaps around a full 180 degrees, and Videl is horrified that it seems she has killed her opponent. However, Spopovich's Majin powers allow him to survive such an injury, so it meant she didn't have a kill on her conscience.
- In Another, Reiko's friend Katsumi Matsunaga accidentally killed a student in his class when they were fighting during the summer trip, by pushing the kid to the ground and causing him to get stabbed through the neck with a pointy tree root. The kid turned out to be the extra student that caused the Curse of Class 3-3, which made Matsunaga realise what had to be done to lift it. The tape he left hidden in the classroom would prove to be vital 15 years later.
- The HD remaster of Mobile Suit Gundam SEED did this for Nichol Amalfi's death. In both versions, he's killed when he charges the Strike Gundam trying to protect his friend and teammate Athrun. In the original, Kira swings the Strike's BFS and cuts the Blitz in half; in the remaster, the Blitz trips and falls onto the sword instead. This change rubbed many fans the wrong way, since not only did it seem stupid for a Humongous Mecha to randomly trip, but it added to the perception that Kira is the Creator's Pet of SEED's controversial director, Mitsuo Fukuda, and the change was made to absolve him for the original killing.
- In Mobile Suit Zeta Gundam, during one of the Titans' attempts to reclaim the stolen Gundam Mk-II, Jerid Mesa is given a bomb and ordered to shoot it if Kamille Bidan tries anything funny. It isn't until after he shoots it that he discovers it was actually a space capsule with Kamille's mother locked inside. Jerid honestly tries to apologize, but Kamille is too blinded by rage to listen and the whole thing just becomes yet another entry in their ever-growing Cycle of Revenge.
- In The Maze Agency #7", the killer never intended to kill anyone. They were attempting to erase sensitive information on the Victim of the Week's computer using a powerful electromagnet. However, the victim - who was seated at his computer at the time - had a bullet lodged in his chest from an earlier wound. The electromagnet shifted the steel bullet, which hit his heart, killing him: leaving a seemingly impossible murder of someone who had been shot in the heart with no entrance wound.
- In the Back to the Future fanfic Ich Liebe Dich, Marty worries that he could have killed George with the chloroform he used to drug him after his "Darth Vader" routine.
- In Perfection Is Overrated, Shizuru destroys Hitomi's Child while launching a surprise attack on her to save Mai and Natsuki, but since the Child is powered by the life of the person the Hime or SUE cares for most, and Hitomi cares for no one but herself, Hitomi dies in the process. Later on, Natsuki unintentionally kills an innocent bystander who happened to become important to a SUE, when she defeats that SUE.
- In the Hunger Games fanfiction Some Semblance of Meaning, Vale Whitaker inadvertently kills the girl from District Seven, Cassia, when the latter hurts Vale's district partner and ally, Kit. Vale flies into Mama Bear mode, and before she can even realize what's happening, there's a knife in Cassia's heart. Vale feels very guilty about this later, though.
- In the Dangan Ronpa fanfiction Despair's Last Resort, Ayame's murder of Hikaru is revealed to be this. After disarming him and taking the razor he used in the attempt to kill her, she was waving it around in an attempt to intimidate him. She went a bit too far though, as she ends up slitting his throat. Feeling that she's gone too far, she tries to hide the murder and even moves the body.
- In Emergence:
- Weiss Schnee of RWBY wakes up in the real world in Ukraine. When she gets accosted by soldiers, she fights back, thinking that her attacks will simply knock them out. Since Earth humans don't have superhuman abilities like Aura, her attacks slice and skewer them, to her horror.
- Yang Xiao Long finds herself accosted by ISIS terrorists. She is surprised when her super strong punches make them explode.
- Anya's death in The Just Series.
- In Fullmetal Alchemist fanfic Son of the Desert, Trisha accidentally slits a suitor's throat when she pressed the suitor's knife too hard during the suitor's marriage proposal to scare him away. Thankfully Hohenheim saves the suitor's life.
- In chapter 3 of Metroid: Kamen Rider Generations Vol 2 - Ex-Aid Era feat Cross Ange, Gou accidentally shoots Sylvia, unknown to him that she's Ange's sister while in the middle of fighting the Black Cross Armada. He freaked out suddenly when he shot an innocent bystander.
- In the My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic fanfic novel Fools And Drunks, Grey Hoof did not mean to kill the peddler stallion, nor had he intended his patrol to kill anypony. Yet in the end three innocent peddler Ponies lay dead.
- In The Bridge in its spin-off crossover with The Shimmerverse, the death of Sunset Shimmer's biological mother at the hooves of Countess Mircalla was this. The memory of it haunts Mircalla to the present day but Sunset Shimmer doesn't know it was an accident.
Films — Animated
- The Prince of Egypt: Moses tries to stop an Egyptian from beating a slave and while trying to push him away, accidentally shoves too hard and sends him flying off a multi-storied scaffold. This is Bowdlerizing the original story somewhat: in the biblical account, Moses deliberately killed the Egyptian in question.
- Minions have a penchant for inadvertently killing their masters:
- Millions of years ago, when they first moved onto land, they served a Tyrannosaurus rex, until one of them inadvertently pushed him into a volcano.
- When humans first evolved, Minions immediately flocked to them. One caveman died because a Minion took away his club and handed him a flyswatter to fight a bear with, apparently expecting it to work.
- The Minions built the Pyramids. They were originally built sideways, then they fell over and crushed the Pharaoh.
- During the Middle Ages, the Minions had "fun times" serving Dracula. Then they threw him a birthday party and opened a curtain to let in a little light.
- The final death that caused them to give up on serving for a long time was Napoleon Bonaparte, who died when they accidentally fired a cannon at him.
- During the '60s, while Kevin, Bob, and Stuart were sent to search for a new boss after all the time they'd spent hidden in a cave since the days of Napoleon, the rest of the Minions briefly served a tribe of Yetis inside the cave. One Minion blowing a tuba too loudly dislodges a chunk of ice which falls and crushes the chief Yeti's head.
- Big Hero 6: Professor Callaghan started the fire that killed Tadashi Hamada and - supposedly - himself. Tadashi's death wasn't part of the plan; Callaghan hadn't expected him to run in and try to save him. But Callaghan made things worse refusing to take responsibility for Tadashi's death, which hit Hiro's Berserk Button.
- The Hunchback of Notre Dame: When Frollo chased after Quasimodo's mother to recover the "stolen goods", he caught up with her, ripped the bundle from her hands, causing her to fall down the steps of Notre Dame and fatally hit her head. Still, he has no remorse for killing her, and thinking the baby that turned out to be in the bundle was a monster because of what he looked like, he attempts to throw the baby in a well, only to be stopped by the Notre Dame Archdeacon.
Films — Live-Action
- The Ghost of Yotsuya: Iemon is being haunted by the ghosts of the people he murdered, namely his wife Oiwa and her friend Takuetsu. Iemon sees Ghost Oiwa, a Stringy-Haired Ghost Girl, on the bed mat looking all gross. He stabs her with his sword, only to find that he has really killed his new wife Ume. Then he sees Ghost Takuetsu approaching and runs him through with his sword, only to find that he has really killed his new father-in-law Ito.
- In Hood of Horror, Snoop Dogg's character, Devon, accidentally kills his sister, and sells his soul, becoming the Hound of Horror in exchange for her life.
- In Walk Hard, Dewey Cox accidentally cuts his brother in half with a machete. Later, his father cuts himself in half.
- Pulp Fiction:
- Butch accidentally kills another boxer in the ring and gives a quiet "Sorry about that" when he finds out.
- Also Vincent killing Marvin: "Aw man, I just shot Marvin in the face!"
- In The Film of the Book Rebecca, Maxim accidentally killed Rebecca, his first wife; he got angry and pushed her, and she fell and struck her head. In the original novel, he shot her, very much on purpose. She rather had it coming, to the point of taunting him into doing it.
- In Daniel Deronda, Gwendolen hesitates just... one... moment too long when her husband, Grandcourt, falls off their boat. He drowns, although she does make a belated effort to save him.
- In Magnolia, a very convoluted, accidental murder is shown in one of the tales at the start of the film. A boy attempts to commit suicide by jumping from the roof of his building. His attempt would have failed as he would have been saved by the safety netting below, installed by window washers but... he is fatally shot with a shotgun, fired by his mother, as he passes their window on the way down. She was threatening the boy's father with the shotgun when it unexpectedly goes off. She later tells the police that it was never kept loaded and that she and her husband often threaten each other with it all the time but... a friend of the boy's says that the boy, having his fill of his parents constant arguing, had loaded the gun the day before, hoping something would happen during the next argument.
- Practical Magic has Sally putting belladonna into Jimmy Angelov's tequila to put him to sleep. Without something to measure the safe amount, she puts in too much and kills him.
- In Tokyo Zombie, Mii-chan and Fujio's accidentally kill their boss by hitting him on the head with a fire extinguisher.
- In Twelve and Holding, Jeff and Kenny accidentally kill Rudy while trying to burn his treehouse down.
- In Very Bad Things the titular action kicking off a slew of death and destruction was the accidental death of a prostitute on a bathroom towel hook during coitus.
- In the original Halloween II (1981) a speeding cop isn't able to brake in time and winds up hitting the drunken Ben Tramer, slamming him against a parked vehicle.
- In Superstar, Mary Katherine Gallagher's parents were killed by their step dancing group stomping them to death accidentally during a performance, when the music was accidentally sped up.
- Subverted in The Skulls, where Luke's best friend Will ends up dead, and he suspects his new friend Caleb. He watches the security tapes, and sees Will fall off a ledge to the floor below (which isn't enough to kill him), but Caleb grabs his legs to try to save him. He doesn't hold on, and Will falls on his head, and a cracking sound can be heard. Caleb assumes he accidentally broke Will's neck and leaves. However, Luke then continues watching and realizes Will is still alive, until Caleb's father's men arrive and finish off Will.
- A running gag in The Little Shop of Horrors: all the murders committed by Seymour are accidental, even if he does feed the bodies to his man-eating plant. (Not so in The Musical.)
- In Mouth to Mouth, Axe helps Manson (a much younger kid than everyone else) flip into a trash can to get food. Manson lands on a nail which hits an artery, killing him quickly.
- Will Dormer accidentally shoots his partner Hap while they're tracking Kay's killer through the mist, but he covers it up because he had a motive for killing him. Towards the end however, not even he is sure whether it was an accident or not.
- Subverted with Kay's death. Walter Finch claims that this is how Kay died, but he's just making excuses. When she died, rather than panicking, he meticulously and calmly prepared her body to remove any evidence. Dormer also reveals near the end that the research shows that he would have to have taken around 15 minutes to beat her to death, making it anything but accidental.
- In Deep Rising, Canton accidentally axes Vivo in the head when he believes that it was the creature on the other side of the door.
- In Tombstone, Curly Bill Brocius accidentally shoots and kills the town marshal, Fred White, while high on opium. Historically, the real-life Brocius and White were friends, and everyone, even Wyatt Earp himself (who arrested Brocius after the shooting) said that it happened accidentally (and in the end, Brocius was acquitted of murder and the shooting ruled accidental). In the movie, this is made clear by Curly Bill repeatedly (and mournfully) asking, "Get up, Fred! C'mon now, get up!"
- In Pain and Gain, Daniel ends up killing one of their targets unintentionally by causing a stacked barbell to drop on the guy's head. Daniel himself frames it as an accident, but it's mostly because he's so stupid, as he was kicking the bench in rage after beating the guy up.
- The Reckless Moment: Bea is so angry with her sleazy boyfriend that she hits him over the head and runs away. It turns out that she hit him so hard that he stumbled away and fell on an anchor that killed him.
- In Spider-Man 3, reveals Uncle Ben's death as this. Desperate for money Flint Marko attempted to Carjack Ben but sympathetic Ben replied, "Why don't you drop the gun, and go home?" Touched by the man's sympathy, Marko almost agreed. But just then, his accomplice Dennis Carradine ran by with the money he just stole and slapped Marko on the shoulder, startling him and causing him to jolt and accidentally shoot Uncle Ben in the chest. Marko tried to help Ben, but Carradine abandoned his partner. Carradine was later pushed out a window to his death by Parker that same night. Realizing now that Ben's death was a genuine accident (as neither Marko nor Carradine had any intention of killing him in the first place), Parker forgave Marko and lets him escape so that he can support his sick daughter.
- X-Men: Apocalypse: Magda and Nina are impaled together with an arrow after a police man shoots it by accident.
- Elevated: After Ben climbs on top of the elevator to get back inside, Hank and Ellen crush Ben against the building's roof by riding the elevator to the top, thinking he is one of the monsters.
- The end of Memento reveals that Leonard killed his wife, who was diabetic, by accidentally injecting her with too much insulin. He copes with the guilt by imagining that his wife was killed by a burglar. The story of Sammy Jankis and his wife was Leonard projecting the true story onto Sammy.
- Things start falling apart for the two home invaders in Stronghold when one of them starts a fistfight with a guy who was trying to steal their loot, and punches him accidentally towards rake-spikes, which impale him from the back of his neck.
- Cruel and Unusual: Edgar kills Maylon by pressing down while struggling to grab the phone with his arm against her throat, strangling her.
- Happens twice in Psycho II.
- While frantic about Norman's Sanity Slippage, Mary accidentally stabs his therapist Dr. Raymond in fear of being attacked by Norman, causing him to fall downstairs to his doom.
- Mary herself would suffer this as well. When she tries to lure Norman into a trap to kill him, the police arrive on the scene, mistake her as the real killer and shoot her dead before she notices them.
- In The Two Faces of Dr. Jekyll, Jekyll forcing control back from Hyde at the worst possible moment leads to him accidentally strangling Maria to death.
- In Spider-Man: Homecoming, Adrian Toomes fires his minion Jackson Brice for incompetence. Brice threatens to out Toomes as a criminal to his family. In response, Toomes blasts him with a ray gun that reduces him to a pile of ash. Shocked, Toomes says he meant to shoot him with an anti gravity gun, but the guns were near each other and he picked up the wrong one.
- In 10 Cloverfield Lane, this may be the way Howard killed Brittany; when he attempted to force her to stay after she scratched "HELP" on the window of the other hatch, he ended up killing her in the process.
- In the Dutch novel, film, and musical Ciske de Rat, the title character is only 11 years old when he accidentally kills his mother.
- In Salamandastron, two stoats (who have taken refuge in Redwall Abbey) start playing with bows and arrows from a sports competition, until they accidentally shoot Brother Hal in the neck, prompting them to flee out of fear of retribution. They end up accidentally framing the protagonist, who stumbles across the abandoned bows and is caught while picking them up.
- In the backstory of Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, Albus Dumbledore, Grindelwald, and Aberforth (or any combination thereof) accidentally kill Dumbledore's sister during a duel.
- Heralds of Valdemar: In one of the short stories in Oathblood, Tarma accidentally kills the lord of Viden when he attacks her because he's drunk and he tripped over Worrl's tail.
- In The Drowning of Stephen Jones, the murder of Stephen Jones is CHARGED as accidental manslaughter. It wasn't, but hey, the judge said so.
- Done by Parrish in Parrish Plessis. When Parrish attempts to rescue the kidnapped Wombebe, she ends up accidentally killing the poor kid herself with an explosion that was intended as a diversion.
- In The History of Middle-earth, Fëanor sets fire to ships and accidentally kills his own son.
- In Billy Budd, the title character accidentally strikes the villain to death. The bastard deserved it though.
- In Darkness Visible, Marsh opens an unstable Threshold for him and Lewis to escape through, and slams it shut after them. Unfortunately, their pursuer was already half-way through at the time.
- At the end of Ender's Game, it is revealed that Ender had previously killed the school bully he fought in kindergarten, and later Bonzo in Battle School. Both were committed in self-defence, although Ender hadn't intended to kill either.
- At the end of Speaker for the Dead, it is revealed that the Piggies killed the xenobiologists because they thought they were preparing the biologists for the next stage in their life cycle, like the Piggies.
- The Hunger Games:
- In the first book, Peeta goes to collect some berries. However, his partner points out they are poisonous. A few moments later, Foxface (another contestant in the Hunger Games) dies after stealing some supplies from the duo after seeing Peeta pick the berries. Needless to say, Peeta is pretty ashamed of picking the berries in the first place.
- In the third book Peeta, while driven insane from hijacking, attacks Katniss. Another member of the Star Squad tries to pull him off her and Peeta throws him aside, accidentally sending him right into a barbed wire pod, killing him.
- Happens in the Lord Darcy case "The Ipswitch Phial", when the Polish agent tries to get the titular phial from the English messenger who's retrieved it.
- Warrior Cats:
- In the Omen of the Stars book Fading Echoes, during a battle, Lionblaze tries to pull Russetfur off of his leader, but somehow manages to accidentally kill her in the process. They establish, however, that she probably should have no longer been fighting at her age.
- In the Dawn of the Clans arc, the protagonist Gray Wing is out on the moor minding his own business when his brother's henchcat Fox attacks him. In the ensuing fight, Gray Wing accidentally kills Fox by slashing his throat. This leads Gray Wing's brother Clear Sky to declare their brotherhood over, with Clear Sky's hypocrisy reinforcing how far he's fallen.
- This happens towards the end of Fort Hope. Greg didn't really mean to kill TJ, but TJ nonetheless ended up dead. No charges are filed.
- In the older version of The Saga Of King Heidrek The Wise, Heidrek is sent away from his brother Angantyr's party after causing disturbance. Wishing to avenge himself, he throws a stone into the dark where people are talking. He accidentally hits Angantyr and kills him.
- In Little Star, after being taught that love is something found inside the mind, Theres dismembers both of her adoptive parents to try and find it.
- In Paladin of Souls, it eventually comes to light that Arhys dy Lutez was (initially) slain when he tripped over his own trousers onto a dagger that his half-brother was trying to wrestle from his young wife, who in turn was trying to knife the reason Arhys' trousers were hobbling him.
- In From a High Tower, neither Giselle Schnittel nor the air elementals the summoned wanted to do more than make the officer that was at the point of either raping her or having her flogged depending on if her claim she was a woman disguised as a boy to win sharpshooting prize money rather than a draft dodger was true or not pass out. Despite the nearest Earth Master confirming the man was teetering on the edge of a stroke for years and nobody that actually knew the deceased mourning the guy, his death plagues Giselle with guilt throughout the novel and enough pressure from up the chain of command was put on the matter to insure 'Gunther Von Weber' would hang if caught.
- In The Ghost and the Darkness, Reno and Trig are being held captive by Kerres. In an attempt to keep Trig quiet, Reno smothers Trig moments before rescue comes.
- In Wander Wander kills Heather, mistaking her for a smiler.
- Isaac and Peter are fighting, intending to kill each other, then Simone walks in and get shot by accident.
- Also, when Sylar/Gabriel is attempting to calm down his mother, he accidentally stabs her in the heart with the scissors she was wielding.
- An episode involves the murder of a famous poker player known as the Candyman. Several people want to get back at him for something, but none claim to kill him. One drink server admits to putting eyedrops in his drink, but only to give him diarrhea. The connection is that the Candyman's favorite table munchies were a certain type of chocolate piece made from chocolate from West Africa, where they still use leaded gasoline. Thus, combined with a bullet in his leg that had never been removed, there was enough lead in his system that he would have eventually died of lead poisoning. However the eyedrops managed to spike his blood pressure enough to trigger ; result, literal death by chocolate.
- Another episode deals with a college student who goes missing the night she is supposed to return home. It turns out she was cleaning out her dorm room, went to empty her trash, and accidentally dropped the trashcan down the chute. Knowing she wouldn't get her security deposit back if the trashcan was missing, she tried to retrieve it from the outside Dumpster. Unfortunately for her, a passing motorist just so happened to accidentally ram the Dumpster at the precise moment she had climbed up the back and was leaning into it, pinning her between it and a back wall and crushing her. She later fell into the Dumpster where she bled to death. Her body was fed unnoticed into the trash compactor.
- Her parents refuse to listen to this explanation, convinced that she was murdered by someone. It's human nature to want to blame something (or someone) specific instead of a series of unlikely events. Grissom is actually confused by this, as facts are everything to him.
- And then there's the guy who slipped on Jello and in the process accidentally stabbed his wife with a shard of glass.
- Same episode, same guy. One of his neighbors saw him kill his wife. When he tried to stop her from calling the police, he accidentally ran her head-first into her phone, killing her as well.
- Same episode, same guy. During his childhood, he accidentally cut off the oxygen to his grandmother's nasal cannula (nose-tube thingy), causing her to suffocate.
- Also the Season Two episode where two men got into a heated argument over the sale of their shared-ownership land, and the first punched the second in the chest —unwittingly causing a cardiac arrhythmia and stopping his heart.
- Then there was the Firing in the Air a Lot case where a stray bullet shot accidentally into the air (instead of a target in the shooter's backyard) ended up killing someone halfway across town.
- In early seasons, especially, these types of accidental slayings were pretty common. Especially when perpetrated by a guileless party, like a child or someone just going about his business. Sometimes it would cause the investigators to angst over the necessity of upholding the law despite their sympathy for the "murderer."
- A shootout in a mini-mart results in all the crooks dead. Unfortunately, an innocent bystander is also shot during the firefight. It turns out that the cop was aiming for the crook who was running and shot at him at the exact moment he was passing the bystander. The bullet hit the crook, came out the other side, and killed the woman. The cop got a commendation for his actions.
- And there was the episode where an angry woman walked into a sliding glass door so hard she shattered it, and the glass pierced her neck, causing her to bleed out in minutes. Her sister threatened to blame the dead woman's ex-con boyfriend; he didn't take it well.
- CSI: NY: A boy called Danny takes his neighbor Ruben to the blessing of the bikes. On their way home shots ring out. Danny tells the boy to go straight home, while turning to help those involved in the robbery. Later the boy's body is brought into autopsy. Turns out he had been struck by a bullet, but didn't realize it at first.
- A struggling actor accidentally kills another man when he fired a gun loaded with blanks into him from point blank range. He only meant to scare him as payback for an earlier incident, but the force from the gun at that distance was still enough to punch a hole into the victim.
- Buffy the Vampire Slayer:
- Warren tries to knock Katrina out by hitting her over the head, but she dies.
- Earlier in the show, an Accidental Murder is the cause of Faith's Face–Heel Turn.
- And then there's the worst case of a Type 2; Warren fires wildly into the air after having shot Buffy, hitting Tara through the window and driving Willow insane with grief.
- In Lost, after hearing whispers in the forest, Ana Lucia accidentally shoots Shannon. Later on, while Michael kills Ana in cold blood to let Benjamin Linus escape, Libby walks in and he shoots her in a panic.
- On Castle, one Victim of the Week turned out to have been having an argument with a client that was angry, but not bloodthirsty. The killer pushed her backwards — not realizing she would fall and be impaled on the spikes of a tiny garden below.
- In Misfits the protagonists have ended up killing multiple people by accident, and would have killed more if Curtis hadn't rewound time to prevent them killing their third probation worker.
- In Glue Ruth speculates that Janine's attacker never meant to harm her that badly. She's right. Cal's Plot-Triggering Death also turns out to be a case of accidental murder.
- In Bones, a man is killed while having an argument with a colleague, who pushes him, not realizing that there is a plane propeller spinning up behind the former. This would not be a murder, except the accidental killer and his wife then decide to cover it up by dropping the body from a plane.
- In The Practice, Bobby hires a hitman to intimidate exonerated (but guilty) serial killer William Hinks into ceasing his harassment of Lindsay, but the hitman kills Hinks instead. Bobby is legally responsible for Hinks' death regardless of his instructions to the hitman, but is acquitted anyway.
- The explanation for a good chunk of the murders on Cold Case. The final flashback often reveals that the killer accidentally shoved the victim to his or her death in the course of an argument or struggle.
- Once Upon a Time: Red accidentally kills her mother when the latter tries to kill Snow.
- Orphan Black: Beth was suspended from active duty because of a line of duty shooting of a civilian. Though it turns out it wasn't accidental. Or a civilian. Later on, there's an I Just Shot Marvin in the Face situation with Donnie killing Dr. Leekie.
- Aishiteru: What happened between Kiyotaka and Tomoya was a children's fight gone horribly out of hand. It led to Kiyotaka's death.
- Are You Afraid of the Dark?: In "The Tale of the Night Nurse", a girl begins to experience the death of a young woman many years ago at the hands of a murderous nurse. However, it turned out the dead girl was allergic to penicillin and wore a medic alert bracelet that fell off by accident. When the girl finds the bracelet and shows it to the nurse, the nurse angrily chides her for taking it off, saying she might have killed her. This changes time and the dead girl goes on to live a full life.
- Homicide: Life on the Street: An old urban legend provides a story for an episode. A young man tries to commit suicide by jumping off a building. As he passes a window, a shotgun is fired inside by one of an arguing couple, and he is hit by the blast.
- Believe: This is Dani's tragic backstory. Her older brother stole her diary, she got mad and lost control of her telekinetic powers, knocking over a loaded bookcase on top of him.
- On The Listener a chef dies from an allergic reaction during a TV cooking competition when cooking implement is laced with peanut oil. The people responsible only wanted to ruin the dish the chef was preparing and had no idea that the victim was allergic to peanuts. The show did not allow anyone with food allergies to compete so the victim lied about having a serious allergy. Also he would have probably survived the allergic reaction by itself but he also had a serious heart condition that combined with the allergy to kill him.
- Whodunnit? (UK):
- In "Teddy Bears Picnic", the Victim of the Week suffers Death by Falling Over when she hits her head on a dresser while fighting with a thief in a gorilla suit.
- In "Time to Dye", the Victim of the Week is chloroformed with a towel. However, the chemical used to drug her interacts with the alcohol she has already consumed and she asphyxiates.
- Prey (UK Miniseries): The man who broke into Farrows home never intended to harm his family, only retrieve the disks that would incriminate Mackenzie in Hassans murder. However, the scuffles that follow after his presence is revealed resulted in Max falling down the stairs and Abi getting stabbed with the knife she used to try and scare him off.
- It's revealed in Season 4 of Orange Is the New Black that this is the reason Suzanne aka "Crazy Eyes" is in prison. She invited a small child home with her to play videogames, unaware of the potential problems this might cause. The more time the kid spends with her, the more nervous he gets, until he tries to leave and Suzanne flips out. He climbs out onto the fire escape to get away from her—and falls off to his death.
- Zig-zagged on The Walking Dead. When Dwight claims to have shot Denise dead completely by accident, he admits that he was initially aiming to kill Daryl, but the kickback on his crossbow made him miss the initial target.
- Father Brown: Both deaths in "The Theatre of the Invisible". The first occurs when the killer attempts to stage a hero moment that will allow him to rescue a litter of kittens from a burning house. No one was supposed to be home, but the landlady returned home unexpectedly and died of smoke inhalation. The second occurs when someone attempts to blackmail him over the first. He attempts to stop the blackmailer from drunkenly waking everyone in the house, but accidentally smothers him with a teddy bear.
- In the Irish ballad "Molly Ban", Molly's boyfriend mistakes her for an animal while hunting.
- The Magnus Archives: In "Vampire Killer" the statement-giver claims to have killed several 'people' who were certainly vampires, but also two people he's not sure about and one who definitely wasn't (but that one was a violent criminal, so he doesn't lose much sleep over it).
- Romeo and Juliet - Tybalt kills Mercutio, bringing a plague on both Montagues and Capulets. Though it's up to the show whether their fight was in deadly earnest, or if they were just fooling around and it got out of hand. What everyone agrees on is that Romeo really messed it up.
- In Twisted Metal: Black Agent Stone (Outlaw) accidentally kills a girl and her mother while taking out some terrorists. There's even an Empathy Doll Shot.
- Persona 3: Shinjiro learned the hard way about losing control of your powers. When chasing a Shadow, he lost control and ended up killing an innocent woman. Who left behind a vengeful son. Tragedy ensues.
- Persona 4: The first murder was a complete accident. The culprit was trying to rape the victim when he accidentally pushed her into the TV. Averted in the case of the members of the Investigation Team, since the second fall guy note honestly believed that pushing them into the television world would protect them from the real killer (because of his manipulations). Obviously the trope is still played straight when the player fails to rescue a trapped person in time.
- In Mafia II Joe Barbaro gets drunk after his friend is killed and starts waving his gun in a local bar. When the situation appears under control, Joe suddenly angrily slams his gun against the table, accidentally pulling the trigger and killing the barman.
- At the climax of Silent Hill: Homecoming, Alex finally remembers that Josh has been Dead All Along, and his own role in it. During a fishing trip in a nearby lake, Alex, finally fed up with how his parents had always neglected him in favor of Josh, gets into an argument with Josh over their family's signet ring. During the argument, Alex accidentally knocks Josh off the boat, breaking his neck in the process. The final boss, Amnion, is essentially a manifestation of both Alex's guilt over Josh's death, and Josh's desire for Alex to accept responsibility for his role in it.
- In the CSI Nintendo DS game: One case involves the team investigating the death of a man who apparently got impaled on the sword of a statue. It turns out that a man who was angry at the victim stabbed him with a knife with the intent to harm but not kill. The victim drank some wine to calm himself which caused his body to go numb. While walking around on a balcony overlooking the statue, the victim, due to this injury and the state of his body caused by the injury, falls over the side and is impaled on the sword of the statue. The man who stabbed the victim gets arrested for causing the man's death through his actions.
- In The Reconstruction, after Dehl's father snaps and tries to kill everyone while searching for a cure to the Blue Plague, he is about to kill Dehl when Dehl's magic powers manifest. This knocks him back and into a sword he left lying around. Also a case of Offing the Offspring and Self-Made Orphan.
- Super Mario Bros.: The instruction booklet for the original 1985 game (even in Japan) specifically states that "the quiet, peace-loving Mushroom People were turned into mere stones, bricks and even field horsehair plants..." Every brick broken is a dead citizen, every fire flower Mario eats is a dead citizen and accidental cannibalism. Every struck coin block is a dead citizen. Mario Mario and Luigi Mario: accidental mass murderers. The future games pay no mind to this.
- Gaige from Borderlands 2 created her robot, Deathtrap, as a slightly overpowered bully deterrent. When her classmate Marcy pushed her at the science fair, Deathtrap registered Marcy as a threat and Marcy, well... exploded.
- In Captain Morgane and the Golden Turtle, this is the reason why Anita's husband is in hiding. While fighting off a drunken guard captain who was accosting Anita, he caused the captain to hit his head, which in turn caused the captain to stagger off the edge of the dock and drown. The other guards didn't believe it was an accident.
- Near the end of Mortal Kombat 9's Story Mode, Raiden accidentally kills Liu Kang by electrocuting him while Kang was attempting a fatality, with the resultant shock causing Kang to lose concentration and scorch himself to death.
- In Undertale, the boss at the end of the Ruins can get both sides of this. If you try sparing Toriel by reducing her HP, you'll suddenly deal 10 times as much damage and kill her without meaning to. And while she's trying very hard not to kill you, if you do the exact right thing, you can die anyway.
- In POPGOES, it's revealed that Frtiz had accidentally murdered his his own daughter Bonnie when she scared him wearing the Bonnie animatronic's mask, causing him to chop her into pieces in a PTSD-induced fury, since he had his frontal lobe bitten off by said animatronic in the past.
- In the backstory to Injustice: Gods Among Us an encounter between the emerging Regime and Insurgency groups at Arkham Asylum has Damian Wayne angrily throw a escrima stick that ricochets and hits Nightwing's exposed head. Nightwing collapses causing him to break his neck on the rubble. Damian attempts to say this was a mistake, but Batman would have none of it as he carries Dick's body away. This would lead to Damian siding with Superman.
- Ace Attorney:
- Dee Vasquez killed Jack Hammer, but it wasn't her intention. He was trying to murder her — she just pushed him away from her, resulting in him falling on top of big spikes that impaled him. Self-defense, in a nutshell.
- Discussed in "Turnabout Goodbyes". Miles Edgeworth thinks that he accidentally killed his father by throwing a gun at a man who was struggling with him... A gun that fired a bullet mid-air. Subverted, as the bullet didn't kill anyone. Instead, it hit a fourth person who grabbed the gun while everyone was unconscious and killed Miles's father... for giving him his only court penalty.
- Discussed in "The Magical Turnabout". Everyone but Apollo, Athena and Nahyuta Sahdmadhi thinks that Trucy accidentally killed Manov Mistree when she thrust a sword through the coffin where Mistree was found (this was part of a magic trick where he was supposed to come out alive, of course). Subverted — it was a premeditated murder that had nothing to do with Trucy's sword, and the killer was someone completely different.
- Beh'leeb Inmee was the target of Puhray Zeh'lot, a rebel killer. While defending herself, she pushed a gigantic slab towards Zeh'lot, whose weight got him impaled in a statue's spiky feathers.
- Virtue's Last Reward: This is what Clover ended up doing, when she pulled an injection gun full of a lethal drug on Luna only for the trigger of the gun to accidental get pulled mid-struggle. Or, at least what she thinks she ended up doing. Luna never actually died from the injection due to being a robot.
- Dangan Ronpa:
- In the first game, Mondo ended up accidentally killing Chihiro in a fit of rage after Chihiro accidentally sets off Mondo's Berserk Button.
- Twisted around in Super Dangan Ronpa 2, where an accidental murder does indeed happen...exactly as the victim planned. Nagito Komaeda engineers an elaborate suicide-by-proxy and counts on his Ultimate Luck to ensure that the traitor in the group is the one who unwittingly murders him. Hajime and the others figure out the plan before they mistakenly rule the murder a suicide, but also realize they must identify the traitor in order to avoid being executed.
- In Kiss of Revenge, the protagonist's mother died in surgery twelve years ago due to mistake on the part of the operating surgeon. This sets off the game's whole plot, as the protagonist spent the following twelve years planning revenge for her mother's death and how it was covered up.
- The "Bad Boys Love" route of Hatoful Boyfriend is kicked off when the heroine is found dismembered. Much horror-mystery and exposition later, it is found that Dr. Shuu was secretly weakening Ryouta Kawara's body to make him the carrier of a fast-acting lethal-to-humans virus for use as a bioweapon, and the (human) heroine died when she went to the infirmary to check on her friend Ryouta and was exposed to the virus. This revelation sends Ryouta across the Despair Event Horizon.
- In Schlock Mercenary, a set of mines set for security purposes accidentally blow away King LOTA, resulting in the page quote. However, like every good robot dictator, LOTA had a secure backup system.
- Banished: Rak is held captive on Strix 13 due to this crime.
- Homestuck: A cultural misunderstanding regarding human childcare/safety turns out to be responsible for the death of Jade's grandfather in the backstory. Tavros is, uh, very sorry, about that.
- Played with in EerieCuties. A demon that came out of a magic mirror in Nina's form tied vampire hunter Tiffany's shoelaces together to trip her. Unfortunately, Tiffany was carrying a sword and impaled herself on it when she fell, becoming a ghost, temporarily. However, it turns out that she's not really dead, the sword causes someone's astral form to be thrust from their body, while leaving the body intact. One vampire bite later, Tiffany is back where she belongs, albeit with other concerns now.
- Played for Laughs in Captain SNES: The Game Masta. In Mysidia, the Elder attempts to thank Frog for his valiant efforts by lifting the curse of his frog form, over Frog's objections. One quick casting of Esunaga later and Frog is once again Glenn... albeit very briefly, as the curse quickly takes hold again. After the Elder has tried again and again without lasting success, he explains in frustration that Esunaga should be working just fine even on such a powerful curse, because it works by directly addressing whatever cause is keeping the curse in place to begin with. Frog explains that the curse is tied to the life of his old arch-enemy, Magus, which means the Elder, unbeknownst to either of them at the time, had killed Magus with each casting of Esunaga. The reason why it didn't stick? Magus had been adventuring with Mario for awhile in the Mushroom Kingdom, and had been collecting extra lives all the while.
Elder: So tell me, how many drinks does it take to forget you killed a man ninety-five times?
- Played for Laughs in Hell(p). While team 11 is sneaking up on an enemy, a cameraman gets recklessly close to them, almost sticking his camera right in their faces. Cue Marcus getting startled and kicking the poor idiot down the hill and into a landmine.
- This happens quite often in Survival of the Fittest.
- A notable example during V4 is Kris Hartmann getting spooked by Reika Ishida and shooting her in the chest. Eric Lorenz's death at the hands of Alex Rasputin was also accidental.
- In V3, Abel Williams is accidentally tripped up by Michael Anders and falls over... hitting his head on a rock and dying.
- In Sex House, the housemates accidentally kill the repairman they took hostage by keeping him in a room full of mold.
- This happens in the Black Box TV episode "Zombie". When caught embracing Adrian, the main character, by his friend, Adrian's unnamed boyfriend panics, accuses Adrian of coming on to him, (all while Adrian repeats, 'What are you talking about?" on the verge of tears), and then punches Adrian, knocking him down. Adrian hits his head on a rock and lies, staring and lifeless. It is implied it cracked his skull.
- In the final Rockman 4 Minus Infinity video, raocow accidentally sucks up Eddie when attempting to suck up some extra lives.
- In Noob, Master Zen's backstory includes doing a Hair-Trigger Temper-induced Appliance Defenestration right when an old lady happened to be under his window.
- Happy Tree Friends: Lumpy, Splendid, The Mole, and Pop kill others by accident almost constantly.
- RWBY: Pyrrha accidentally kills Penny in a tournament match, after having her mind messed with by Emerald.
- In a Red vs. Blue flashback, Biff is fatally impaled with a flag thrown by Tex at Carolina, who casually swats it away. To make matters worse, neither Freelancer is concerned with the guy bleeding out right in front of them. This is Temple's Start of Darkness.
- In The Boondocks, Granddad accidentally kills Colonel H. Stinkmeaner in the rematch to their fight. While everyone assumed Stinkmeaner had a Disability Superpower, he turned out to just be a blind old man who got lucky.
- In an episode of Jonny Quest: The Real Adventures, a man and a woman were arguing and the man accidentally pushed the woman down the stairs and killed her (broken neck). How did he cover it? By burying her in a wall.
- In the Justice League episode "Only a Dream", Superman (in a dream) kills at least three people because he loses control of his abilities.
- This accounts for one of Kenny's various deaths in South Park, where Stan and Wendy uncover Bebe's deep-lying conspiracy to get free shoes. Wendy and Bebe end up fighting for a gun, and after several seconds, a shot fires out. Wendy and Bebe both back away... but neither is injured. We then cut to Kenny eating dinner with his family, when the bullet manages to hit him.
- In the Grojband episode "Myme Disease" the townspeople kill Statue Steve because they thought he was a statue; however near the end of the episode they realize that he was actually a statue performer, and a good one at that.