It’s been nearly 30 years since brothers Lyle and Erik Menendez shot dead their wealthy parents in Beverly Hills, and now one of the siblings has revealed they ‘almost never talked about’ the horrific murders because it’s ‘just too overwhelming’.

On August 20, 1989, Lyle and Erik walked into the den of their $5million Beverly Hills mansion and shot their father Jose point blank in the back of the head, then shot their mother Kitty in the leg as she tried to run out of the room.

In the end they shot their father five times and their mother nine, with the final bullet for each going into their kneecaps in an attempt to make the murders look like a mob hit. 

It was not until March of the following year however that police had enough evidence to arrest them, and the two were not convicted for the murders until 1994, with both given life sentences.

The brothers argued that they were driven to murder their father and mother after a lifetime of physical, emotional and sexual abuse, a claim that relatives of the brothers said was categorically false. 

Lyle is speaking out now in a new special set to air on ABC Thursday night, and after all these years says he cannot believe he killed his mother and father, but stands by the fact that he and Erik were victims in the case.  

He also says that his biggest regret was that he did not shield his younger brother from the torture he claims the two endured growing up just outside Hollywood.

‘I’m the older brother so I find myself trying to protect Erik quite a bit through childhood, but pretty much trying to survive,’ said Lyle. 

‘It was pretty crushing to in the end to realize that I had not been able to protect to or save him from such horrible abuse as I thought. I thought we had sort of survived early childhood pretty well and that turned out not to be true.’

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The crime: In August 1989, 21-year-old Lyle (left) and 18-year-old Erik (right) Menendez murdered their parents Jose and Mary ‘Kitty’ Menendez with shotguns in their Beverly Hills mansion

‘The Original Trial Of The Century’: The two siblings were arrested in 1990, and their trial aired on Court TV, erupting into a massive media event and morbidly fascinating the public

Back to the 1990s: ABC released the trailer for their upcoming documentary Truth And Lies: The Menendez Brothers. Lyle (right) has now revealed decades later that they ‘almost never talked about’ it because it’s ‘just too overwhelming’

Jose was a Cuban immigrant who fled the country at the age of 16 after Fidel Castro took power and worked his way up from nothing to become CEO of RCA Records, where he was responsible for the signing of groups including the Eurythmics and Jefferson Starship, and later the film studio now known as Artisan Entertainment.

After killing their father and mother, who was a former school teacher, the two boys got in their car and umped the murder weapons before going to see the James Bond Film Licence to Kill and then meeting some friends for drinks before returning home just before midnight, at which point Lyle called authorities. 

‘Somebody killed my parents,’ said the older of the two brothers.

Police spoke with the brothers after arriving at the home but did not check them for gunshot residue to see if they had recently fired a gun, this despite the fact that they considered them both persons of interest at the time.

Neighbors meanwhile had not thought to call police after hearing gunshots coming from the house assuming that it was just noise from children playing in the neighborhood.

With not enough evidence to implicate the brothers police began looking elsewhere for possible suspects while Lyle and Erik began to spend their father’s fortune.

It was later estimated that in the six months after killing their parents the two brothers spent $1million on everything from a full time tennis coach and Porsche to a restaurant in Princeton, New Jersey.

Their crime caught up with them however when Erik confessed to the crime during a session with his psychologist. Erik then called his brother Lyle to come join his session and after he too detailed what the two brothers had done, the older brother threatened the life of the doctor saying that is he ever told anyone they would kill him as well.

The psychologist, L. Jerome Oziel, told his girlfriend about both the confession and Lyle’s threat, and after the two broke up she went to police and revealed that the brothers had killed their parents.

The two were arrested, and in a massive blow to their defense the state ruled that when Lyle threatened the life of their psychologist he voided the doctor-patient relationship that would normally have prohibited Oziel from testifying in court.

Their infamous murder trial was later followed by all of America due to the fact th

Speaking during a recent phone interview from Mule Creek State Prison in Ione, California, 48-year-old Lyle explained that he’s ‘at peace’.

‘My life is a struggle not to be defined by what happened,’ Lyle told ABC.

‘I’m at peace with my life growing up. I’m at peace with it, because I’ve just sort of accepted it’s OK not to understand.

‘It’s shocking to think … that I could have been involved in taking anyone’s life — and my parents’ life… it seems unimaginable because it seems so far removed from who I am. 

‘But I found that my own childhood prepared me surprisingly well for the chaos of prison life.’

Lyle added that ‘no amount of regret’ is going to change the fact about the crime. 

‘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,’ Lyle continued. 

‘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. 

Lyle said: ‘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.’ Above the family of four is pictured together

‘Your life is your totality of it… You can’t change it. You just, you’re stuck with the decisions you made.’

During their court case, prosecutors had argued that the two siblings murdered their parents in an effort to get the family fortune. 

However, their defense team argued that they killed the couple for enduring years-long abuse from the parents. 

During their trial, Erik took the stand and testified that he and his brother had lived in fear of their father, who they accused of sexually abusing them. 

Lyle told ABC that the alleged abuse ‘bonded’ the two brothers.  

‘It’s so painful and complicated and confusing,’ he said. 

‘We have an intimacy related to that shared experience… [and] the bond become very great and intense. I’m the older brother so I find myself trying to protect Erik quite a bit through childhood, but pretty much trying to survive. 

‘It was pretty crushing to in the end to realize that I had not been able to protect to or save him from such horrible abuse as I thought. I thought we had sort of survived early childhood pretty well and that turned out not to be true.’

The two siblings have not seen each other since they were sentenced decades ago, as they are serving time in two separate prisons. 

Lyle explained that his brother works with physically challenged and terminally ill inmates at the Pleasant Valley State Prison in Coalinga, California. 

‘I really wondered, separated from me and so on, how would he do?’ Lyle said. ‘It’s just amazing to me that you can come from such terrible circumstances and then be grow up to be someone who is so empathetic, so I’m very proud of him.’  

Since being behind bars, surprisingly both men have gotten married. 

Still inside: Convicted in 1994, they were sentenced to life in prison without possibility of parole in 1996, as they were sent to two different prisons in California

Erik married Tammi Menendez in 1999, as their relationship started from her sending him letters for years. Lyle first got married to former model Anna Erickson in 1996, but they eventually divorced. He then married Rebecca Sneed in 2003.

California law prohibits conjugal visits for inmates serving out life without parole sentences so neither of the two brothers has children.   

‘One thing I’ve learned is that your physical comfort is much less important than your connection with the people around you,’ said Lyle.

‘I’ve found I can have a healthy marriage that is complicated and built around conversation and finding creative ways to communicate, sharing, without all the props that are normally there in marriage in terms of going out to dinner and having as much intimate time together and so on.’

Erik did not want to be interviewed for ABC’s special, but in 1996 he told Barbara Walters that he felt ‘tremendous remorse’ for killing his parents.  

‘There’s not a day that goes by that I don’t think about what happened and wish I could take that moment back,’ he told Walters at the time.

‘Secrets upon secrets’: Lyle gets to speak for himself in audio interviews in which he says: ‘You’re almost, like, emotionally, you’re a ghost, now you’re living with this act that you’ve committed that is – just seems unimaginable to you’

The trailer for the ABC special begins with a chilling snatch of video from the crime scene, before showing Erik saying in court that ‘as I walked into the room I just started firing.’

When asked what was in front of him, he replies softly: ‘My parents.’ At which point, viewers are launched into a whirlwind of news footage from the period.

Then, against a rollicking soundtrack, talking heads filmed for the documentary chatter away about how ‘One kid killing the parents is a bad seed. Two kids killing the parents is a bad family.’

According to one of them: ‘People assume that if you have money, you have no problems, and you’re certainly not gonna do anything like kill your parents.’

Another notes: ‘If I killed my parents, I don’t think I’d buy a Porsche that first week,’ referring to Lyle’s post-murder splurge, which also included a Rolex and a restaurant in Princeton. 

Audio clips in the trailer reveal Lyle fretting about his ‘secrets upon secrets.’

As he recalls: ‘I was just trapped in the same nightmare.’ In a separate audio clip, he says: ‘You’re almost, like, emotionally, you’re a ghost, now you’re living with this act that you’ve committed that is – just seems unimaginable to you.’

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