Lyle Menendez has spoken out. More than 27 years after brutally murdering his parents — alongside his brother Erik — in what can only be described as one of the most publicized cases ever, the now 48-year-old told his side of the story on 20/20's Truth and Lies: The Menendez Brothers, which aired back in January.
“It’s shocking to think…that I could have been involved in taking anyone’s life — and my parent’s life…it seems unimaginable because it seems so far removed from who I am,” he said. “But I found that my own childhood prepared me surprisingly well for the chaos of prison life.”
In August 1989, Lyle, then 21, and Erik, then 18, opened fire on their parents Jose and Kitty in their Beverly Hills mansion. The boys were later arrested in March of the following year after Erik confessed to the murders to their psychologist and Lyle threatened the doctor, thus breaking doctor-patient confidentiality.
Despite the traumatic event, Lyle insisted he won’t let the incident define him. “I am the kid that did kill his parents, and no river of tears has changed that and no amount of regret has changed it,” he said. “I accept that. You are often defined by a few moments of your life, but that’s not who you are in your life, you know. Your life is your totality of it… You can’t change it. You just you’re stuck with the decisions you made.”
The two claimed that they were driven to murder after suffering years of abuse — but some believe they were after their hefty inheritance. Both brothers were sentenced to life in prison in different facilities. In 2005, Erik revealed it had been more than 10 years since he spoke to his brother, but Lyle now says they’ve exchanged letters and their “bond is really strong.”
“I really wondered, separated from me and so on, how would he do?” he said of his brother, who he claimed works with terminally ill and physically challenged inmates. “It’s just amazing to me that you can come from such terrible circumstances and then grow up to be someone who is so empathetic, so I’m very proud of him.”