Brothers Erik and Lyle Menendez, who were convicted of the 1989 murder of their parents, are together again and housed at the same California state prison.Terry Thornton, spokeswoman for the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation, said Lyle Menendez was transferred to the Richard J. Donovan Correctional Facility in San Diego on February 22 and was moved Wednesday into the same housing unit as Erik Menendez. The move was made after a transfer request from Lyle Menendez. He previously had been held at Mule Creek State Prison in Northern California, Thornton said. The prison board found no reason that the brothers could not be housed together.
Lyle Menendez, 50, and Erik Menendez, 47, have been imprisoned since July 1996, after a much-publicized trial. Both men are serving life sentences with no possibility of parole. In the sensational televised trial, the brothers, then teenagers, claimed they killed their parents, Jose and Mary Louise Menendez of Beverly Hills, California, after years of sexual abuse by their father.Prosecutors, however, said the two wanted to get their parents’ $14 million fortune.
Let’s see if I can court some controversy today.
I was a teenager when Lyle and Eric Menendez were put on trial for murdering their parents, Jose and “Kitty” Menendez. And although even at that young age I was an avid newspaper reader and watching of major news on television, and I was living in Southern California where the trial took place, and therefor was heavily covered by local news, I just didn’t pay this case much attention. I was probably burnt out with trial-watching after the Rodney King and O.J. trials. So, only peripherally following updates about the case, I went with popular view that they were just a couple of greedy rich kids who whacked their parents for money, and the “Abuse Excuse” they used in their trial was just a scam. And, thus, I was sure that when they were finally convicted, it was the right thing.
But all these years later, my view has changed.
News about their trial has come up again recently, including the Lifetime Channel broadcasting a cheap movie about them, that prompted me to do a little research of my own info into the case. I learned a few things that I did not know before, including news about a cousin of theirs who testified under other that the brothers told her about the abuse when they were little kids, showing that it’s not something they just made up after they got arrested.
And, most importantly, I’ve spoken to a very close friend of mine, who was also abused by their father (albeit not sexually) and who confided that they once seriously contemplated killing their father because of it.
And by “seriously” I mean, they were literally standing over their father’s bed one night, as their father was laying therd passed out drunk, holding a pillow in their hands, preparing to smother him to death, only to stop at the last minute and leave. I can see how one could be driven to such an action.
So now I say that I believe Lyle and Eric’s story. I believe that their father molested them, and that their mother knew about it and did nothing, and that THAT, not the money they stood to inherit, is the primary reason why they killed them.
Now, to be clear, I’m not saying that that makes it right. We don’t, and can’t, live in a world where people are allowed to just take justice into their own hands like this. As repugnant as child molestation is, that’s not a license to murder. They were, at that stage, adults, and could have done what my friend did and just left. Cut themselves off from their parents, instead of killing them.
So, yes, they should have been sent to jail, HOWEVER…I don’t think they should have been as heavily charged as their were, nor should they have been given life without the possibility for parole.
They should have absolutely been eligible for parole. And, frankly, at this point, I think they should be paroled. These two have actually been in jail since 1990, when they were arrested (they were denied bail so that sat in jail waiting for their trials). That’s 28 years. I think that’s punishment enough, especially when considering how they’ve also been separated most of that time. They’re not those two young men anymore, they’re middle-aged. And the money is gone. And I don’t think they’re a threat to the public. So it’s just costing taxpayers money to continue to imprison them. Letting them at least serve in the same jail is a step in the right direction. But the next step should be a release.
Just my opinion.