Lyle and Erik Menendez, more infamously known as the Menendez Brothers, are currently serving life sentences for the murder of their parents, José and Kitty Menendez. The couple died on August 20, 1989 after Lyle and Erik — who were 21 and 18 at the time — shot them both at point-blank range. José suffered a bullet to the head, while Kitty was shot in the arm, chest, and face. Both parents were shot in the kneecap as well — which was later discovered to be a calculated move on behalf of the brothers to make the crimes look Mafia affiliated.
Their nationally televised trial on the one hand showed two deeply troubled young men tormented by a history of alleged violence and sexual abuse. On the other, it painted a picture of two privileged, greedy monsters looking to inherit their parent’s wealth by way of unimaginable bloodshed. As history has shown, the latter proved true in a court of law. The jurors decided against the death penalty and the Menendez Brothers would go on to spend the rest of their lives in prison without the chance of parole.
According to ABC, the last time the brothers saw each other was in 1996. Now, in what some may consider an inappropriate gesture of kindness, the brothers were granted a reunion on Wendesday, April 4 at the R.J. Donovan Correctional Facility in San Diego. A journalist by the name of Robert Rand, who has been covering the case since the late 80s, got in touch with a family member of the brothers.
He described their reaction secondhand to ABC, “Once the guard opened the door and Lyle saw his brother, both Lyle and Erik burst into tears immediately. They just hugged each other for a few minutes without saying any words to each other. Then the prison officials let them spend an hour together in a room.”
Up until that moment, the brothers had only communicated through mail — not even a single phone call in over 20 years. In a 2017 jailhouse interview with People Lyle described his close-knit relationship with Erik, “We write each other regularly. We even play chess through the mail, but it’s a little slow.”
Whether or not the Menendez Brothers will continue to be granted time together at Donovan Correctional Facility remains to be confirmed.