Earlier this week, I had no idea how Tuesday would go. For the past three years, my reporting partner Nery Ynclan and I have been in the middle of an intense investigation. We couldn’t tell anybody what we were doing
This is a tragedy that destroyed a family. All four of them had remarkable strengths as well as terrible weaknesses and it did not have to be. If at any time over the course of the lives of the four Menendez family members some effective person could have intervened, everyone would still be alive and well and healing. All four of them needed help. And there never was any help for this family.
— Defense Attorney Leslie Abramson, the day before sentencing
On March 20, 1996, 23 years ago today, a jury of eight men and four women returned with a verdict after deliberating less than four days:
Erik and Lyle Menendez were both found guilty of first-degree murder and conspiracy to commit murder.
It was a miscarriage of justice.
It has been two months since the release of The Menendez Murders.
I am grateful for all the TV shows, podcasts, radio interviews, newspapers, and websites that have helped me share a new version of this story – the truth.
In the 2018 era of #MeToo, #MenToo, and the revelations about the Catholic Church, people are more willing to accept that Erik and Lyle Menendez’s emotional testimony of being abused was the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth.
The mainstream media signed on to the District Attorney’s 1993 theory that Erik and Lyle Menendez were a pair of greedy rich kids, and that included NBC’s Jay Leno.
Leno’s monologues on The Tonight Show often featured at least one joke based on the Menendez testimony of the day.
When Erik admitted that he had a hard time getting dates, this was Jay’s gag:
Yesterday, Erik said his parents made fun of him because he never had a girlfriend. You know, I don’t know how to break it to him, but shooting your Mom and Dad isn’t really going to help your chances.
On Friday, September 10: “The defense calls Joseph Lyle Menendez,” announced attorney Jill Lansing at five minutes before two o’clock. Lyle, dressed in a navy crew-neck sweater, walked directly to Lansing.
Lansing was blunt:
“Did you love your parents?”
“Yes,” he choked out hoarsely.
“And on August 20, 1989, did you and your brother kill your mom and dad?”
From a craft standpoint, one of the things I have to applaud Robert for is brilliantly weaving the multiple and complex storylines together to show the many aspects of this strange story, including the brothers’ own account of the days leading to the murders as well as when witness statements conflicted on certain points.
He was still writing the final chapter as the book went into production because new facts kept coming up.
Normally that would be an editor’s nightmare, but in this case it was a welcome challenge to have an author able to capture the latest scoops.
Thanks to the iHeartRadio stations, I was able to share the Menendez brothers’ story in Chicago, Philly, San Diego, Minneapolis, St. Louis and more.
I’m grateful to be spreading the truth – one station at a time.
Here’s my iHeart interview with La Dona Harvey and Ted Garcia of KOGO radio in San Diego, the local station near the prison where the Lyle and Erik are now incarcerated.
Lyle and Erik Menendez were sexually molested by their father Jose, and they told others about it before the killings.
It wasn’t a fabricated tale; it was a real-life horror story.
So despite what the prosecutors would like you to believe, these boys were in fear for their lives and at most should have been convicted of manslaughter — not murder.
I became a reluctant witness in the trial when I caught a major prosecution witness in a lie, all because of an audiotaped interview he did with me a year before.
The witness was a Princeton friend of Lyle Menendez.
The friend, Donovan Goodreau, exchanged the mutual confessions with Lyle in the spring before the murders. BOTH boys been sexually molested when they were kids.