Joseph Lyle Menendez (born January 10, 1968) and brother Erik Galen Menendez (born November 27, 1971) were convicted in a highly publicized trial for the shotgun murders in 1989 of their parents, Jose and Kitty Menendez replique montre, residents of Beverly Hills, California. Under the terms of the sentences for their multiple crimes, the brothers are expected to spend the remainder of their lives in prison.
The Menendez brothers grew up in Blackwood replique montre rolex, New Jersey, both attended Princeton Day School for grade school, and Lyle attended Princeton University. Lyle was placed on academic probation at Princeton for poor grades and disciplinary probation replique montre, and eventually dropped out after allegations of plagiarism.
The murders occurred on August 20, 1989, in the den of the family’s 722 Elm Drive home in Beverly Hills. Jose and Kitty were tired that summer evening as the family had been out shark fishing on a chartered yacht Motion Picture Marine until midnight the previous day. With Lyle and Erik out for the evening; both Jose and Kitty retired to the den to watch the James Bond thriller The Spy Who Loved Me. At around 10pm the neighbors reported hearing what sounded like firecrackers, but dismissed it as nothing to be concerned about. Jose was shot pointblank in the back of the head with a Mossberg 12 gauge shotgun. Kitty, awakened by the shots, sprang from the couch and made a run for the hallway but was shot in the leg, causing it to break. She then slipped in her own blood that had run down her leg; and, when she fell, she was then shot several times in the arm, chest, and face, leaving her unrecognizable. They were then both shot in the kneecap to make the crime appear mob related. The brothers then drove off and dumped their shotguns on Mulholland Drive and bought tickets at a local movie theater, seeing the movie Batman to use as an alibi. Then at 11:47 pm when the brothers returned home, Lyle called 911 and cried, « Somebody killed my parents! » Initially, the police did not consider the brothers as suspects. At their trial, Erik said he spotted a shotgun shell they had left on the floor, and removed it when the policeman talking to him looked away.
Security at 722 North Elm Drive was of a high standard. The Mediterranean mansion had been rented to the likes of Prince and Elton John. Jose frequently left the alarm system off and the gates open, even after his Mercedes-Benz 560SEL was stolen from the front circular driveway of the house, just weeks before the murders. Kitty, on the other hand, was agitated in the time leading up to the murders, constantly locking her bedroom door at night and keeping a rifle in her wardrobe for safe keeping. It was clear that something was troubling her. Kitty did mention to her psychiatrist a few weeks before she was murdered that she feared her sons might be sociopaths.
In the months following the murders, the brothers led a life of luxury and lavish spending, later adding to investigators’ suspicions that they had been involved in their parents’ deaths. Lyle bought an expensive Rolex watch, a Porsche Carrera, and Chuck’s Spring Street Cafe, a Buffalo Wings restaurant.  in Princeton. Erik also hired a full-time tennis coach and competed in a tournament in Israel. They left the Elm Drive mansion unoccupied and lived in 2 separate penthouse apartments in Marina Del Rey. They drove around LA in their late mother’s Mercedes-Benz SL convertible, ate costly lunches and dinners, and went on overseas trips to the Caribbean and London. Prosecutors later alleged that the brothers spent about $1 million in their first six months as orphans. The police did not suspect them until Erik confessed to his psychiatrist, who, after Lyle threatened him, told the police. (Doctor-patient confidentiality has one important exception: when the patient poses a threat to the doctor or the general public.) On December 8, 1992, the Menendez brothers were indicted by the Los Angeles County Grand Jury on charges that they had murdered their parents.
The Menendez brothers and the murder of their parents became a national sensation when Court TV broadcast the trial in 1993. The younger brother’s defense attorney, Leslie Abramson, vaulted to fame with her flamboyant defense, alleging that the brothers were driven to murder by a lifetime of abuse from their parents, including sexual abuse from their father, Jose. Despite the defense theory, the past criminal records of the brothers stood in contrast to the « escape from parental abuse » theory. The trial ended in two deadlocked juries (while the brothers were tried together, each had a separate jury).
Los Angeles District Attorney Gil Garcetti immediately announced the brothers would be retried. The second trial was somewhat less publicized, in part because Judge Stanley Weisberg refused to allow cameras in the courtroom.
Erik Menendez and His Brother Lyle Went to Prison for the Grisly 1989 Murder of Their Parents. In His First In-Depth Interview Since Then, Erik Speaks Out About His Prison Marriage, His Brother Lyle-and His Sense of Guilt
He has spent 15 often-hellish years behind bars, but Erik Menendez has lost none of the polish or charm that made him such an object of fascination. Seated in the drab visitors’ room at California’s maximum-security Pleasant Valley State Prison, Menendez, 34, tightly grips the hand of his wife, Tammi, 44, and earnestly insists that he has been misunderstood. « People view me as this dark guy, a killer, » he says almost plaintively in his first face-to-face interview since his conviction. « It’s been a struggle for me to realize I’m the nation’s villain. I’m really not. I’m a good person; I like who I am. »
The problem is that a lot of people have trouble forgetting who he was. After all, Menendez and his brother Lyle, 37, children of privilege living in Beverly Hills, were convicted of one of the signature crimes of the last 20 years: the gruesome 1989 shotgun slaying of their mother, Kitty, and their entertainment-executive father, Jose-carried out, it appeared, so that the boys could inherit the family fortune sooner rather than later. Which is why when Erik talks these days about finding God (« this loving, merciful essence ») and how he no longer deserves to be in prison (« I would never, ever take another life »), a line of skeptics can quickly form. David Conn-the prosecutor who ultimately won a conviction against the Menendezes, who were sentenced to life without parole-dismisses such talk as blatant manipulation. « Its only natural that Erik would want to put himself in a better position, » says Conn, now a defense attorney. « I want to be productive, to find some meaning in helping others, » says Erik. He also expresses remorse about the murders. « I would give my life to change it, » he says. « I talk to my mom. She knows my heart. I ask for forgiveness. » As for the memory of his father, that is different. « Dad was a scary guy, » says Erik. « He wasn’t big on emotional conversations. »
Caught in the middle is Erik’s wife of six years, who is well aware how strange it may seem to offer her love to a convicted murderer. « I just came to the conclusion that I never wanted to be without Erik, » says Tammi, who has written a book about their life together called They Said We’d Never Make It. « I know that is hard for people to understand. » The couple’s relationship began in 1993, against the backdrop of the sensational first trial for Erik and Lyle that held the nation riveted. Watching on television, Tammi says, she could not help but feel sympathy for Erik especially. « I could see the pain in his eyes, » she recalls. « I felt so sorry for him. » Married and living in Hibbing, Minn., with a teenage daughter by a first marriage, Tammi made a startling suggestion to her then husband, Chuck Saccoman, a successful real-estate developer. « I told him that I was going to write to Erik, » she says. « He said to go ahead. I really didn’t know if Erik would write back. »
The two began corresponding about once a month, continuing after the first trial ended in hung juries. Tammi concedes that she had some doubts about Erik and Lyle’s claims that they had been repeatedly sexually and physically abused by their parents and had killed them in self-defense. « I wasn’t positively sure that what he was saying was true, » she says. But then two events occurred that spurred their relationship on anyway. The first was that in 1996 Tammi discovered that her husband had been having a three-year sexual relationship with her daughter-his stepdaughter-starting when the girl was 15. Chuck turned himself in to the police, and then two days later he committed suicide, leaving Tammi bereft and needing to care for their 9-month-old daughter, Talia. « I reached out to Erik, » she says. « He comforted me; our letters started taking on a more serious tone. ».