Menendez Murder Case Draws Renewed Interest

Menendez Murder Case Draws Renewed Interest

By Trisha Vyas , Staff Writer

The case that sentenced both Lyle and Erik Menendez to life in prison without the possibility of parole in 1996 is now regaining popularity all over the world. The conversation of whether the brother’s sentencing was fair or unjust seems to be the largest topic of discussion.

On August 18, 1989, Erik and Lyle Menendez, both 21 and 18 respectively, bought shotguns at a Big 5 Sporting Goods in San Diego, more than 100 miles from their mansion in Beverley Hills. On August 20th, 1989, they used those shotguns to kill their parents, Kitty and Jose Menendez while they were watching TV in their living room. After the massacre, both boys drove to a movie theater and watched the new Batman movie, and when they came home, they changed out of their clothes, threw out their shotguns, and called the police. Their call to the police consisted of them pretending that they had just come home to the scene in their living room, not knowing who the murderer was.

The brothers were not prosecuted until half a year after their parents’ death and until then, they reaped the benefits of their rich parents. Over the six months that Lyle and Erik were free, they reportedly spent $1 million dollars on shopping, travel, and partying. It was also reported and later confirmed by Lyle that he had spent $15,000 dollars on three Rolex watches the day before his parents’ funeral.

The boys were caught and taken into custody after their recorded therapy sessions with Dr. Jerome Oziel had been leaked by Ozeil’s mistress. Lyle and Erik claimed to have had to confess the murder to their doctor after the stress from killing their parents was giving Lyle an ulcer.

Although this was a major breakthrough in the case, it stalled for years, as the battle of the tapes took about two and a half years. The Supreme Court of California had to intervene and the Menendez brothers were indicted in the winter of 1992. Erik and Lyle’s jury deadlocked just two weeks apart from each other in the winter of 1994. However, the judge declared them to be mistrials and in the spring of 1996, the third and final jury found the brother’s guilty, seven years after the murders had occurred.

Looking at the actions of both boys, one easily comes to the conclusion that the Menendez brothers had no remorse for their actions and there was no justification for what they had done to their parents. The debate comes from the boys’ accusations against their parents said in court when they were taken in six months after their parents’ death.

The brothers’ attorney, Leslie Abraham contested that Erik and Lyle had been molested by their father since childhood, with their mother refusing to intervene, which was one of the major reasons the brothers felt they needed to kill them. Lyle had also claimed that his mother sexually abused him as well.

However, since these allegations the brothers made in their defense had not come out to the public until years after the murder had actually occurred, people had already made up their minds about them; that they were selfish brothers who killed their rich Beverly Hills parents in order to inherit millions of dollars.

Wayne Hills Sophomore Jenny Choi said, “I believe that it was justified that the brothers killed their parents. To other people, they may think that it was too far. but people who say this haven’t experienced the constant sexual, emotional, physical, and mental abuse [the Menendez brother’s] grew up with. Under any law, murder cannot be justified, as the law is above everything. However, the brothers thought it was their only way to freedom and now they’re happier in prison and free from the abusers they call their parents.”

Multiple television shows and documentaries have been created to reenact the  Menendez Brother’s case, and shed a light on one of the most controversial homicides in America.