Lyle Menendez revealed details about the events leading up to the shotgun murders of his parents on August 20, 1989 — and the sexual abuse he says that he and his brother endured — in an interview.
It’s been almost three decades since Lyle and Erik Menendez murdered their parents José and Kitty at their Beverly Hills home, but the case continues to fascinate the nation.
“It’s really, a regret every day, a regret every day, but at the same time, I can’t escape what happened anymore than I can escape the memories of what happened to me,” Lyle told Megyn Kelly, who spoke with him in a phone interview from prison, on Today.
He continues to insist that sexual abuse drove he and his brother to kill, and calls his father, José, “monstrous” — but confessed that he has mixed feelings about his mother, Kitty.
During the murder trial, Lyle testified that he told his mother about the abuse, and that, until he was 13, she also sexually abused him also by inviting him into her bed and washing his body “everywhere.” He now says that it wasn’t him who told his mother that he was being raped or abused — but an adult cousin did.
“I love my mother, and I still cry over my mother, and I don’t forgive her,” he said.
“Her life ended and our lives essentially ended all because of this fateful decision. There had to be a series of decisions she made of not to tell what was happening. What kind of mother lets it happen?
Lyle and Erik are both currently serving life sentences at San Diego’s R.J. Donovan Correctional Facility in San Diego.
He insisted that the murders of 45-year-old Jose and 47-year-old Kitty — who suffered 15 gunshot wounds between them — were not premeditated. “This was the opposite of a cold-blooded killing,” Lyle said.
“I think that the crime scene didn’t show that it was cold-blooded, it showed that it was very hot-blooded, very emotional. The outrage, the anger, the betrayal, the feeling that she knew all along.”
Lyle and Erik initially tried to blame the attacks on a Mafia hit or a business deal gone wrong. But the brothers were arrested a few months later, after going on a huge spending spree that included cars, lavish parties, and dropping $15,000 on three Rolex watches.
Lyle told Kelly that “it would be a crazy plan” to use a shotgun in Beverly Hills with so many homes and police stations nearby — and still insisted that the boys killed their parents to escape their father’s sexual abuse.
As it turned out, according to reports, neighbors did later report hearing what sounded like firecrackers around 10 P.M., but dismissed it as nothing to be concerned about.
And prosecutors claimed that the boys’ motive was pure greed, and that they killed their parents because they wanted the $14 million estate they left behind.
The brothers’ first trial, in 1993, ended with a deadlocked jury. They were tried again, and convicted, in 1995.
Since being behind bars, both brothers have married.
For more on this case, watch the “Menendez Brothers” episode of Investigation Discovery’s True Crime With Aphrodite Jones on ID GO now!
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Main photo: Lyle Menendez [California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation]