More than three decades after the heinous crime of the Menendez brothers, their story is gaining traction on TikTok. Is the Menendez brothers’ case being reopened?
When Lyle and Erik Menendez’s crime story first gained public interest in the 1990s, the brothers were plunged into the spotlight, albeit in negativity. By the 2000s, much of the uproar died down, but as of the 2020s, the Menendez story made it to social media and has since gained traction again.
In recent years, photos and videos of the Menendez brothers during court processions have been circulating the internet and TikTok in particular. But, of course, this automatically begs the question, is the Menendez brothers’ case being reopened? Or are users merely rehashing history? Here’s a look back at one of the most notorious true-crime stories.
Inside the Idyllic Life of the Menendez Family
Jose and Kitty Menendez were a wealthy couple living a typical life of comfort in Beverly Hills, California, with their young sons Erik and Lyle Menendez. However, theirs was a story of hard work because Jose gathered his wealth by rising from being a Cuban immigrant to a music executive.
By virtue of his belief and interest in hard work, He worked his sons so that they could be successful as well. He enrolled them in tennis classes to foster their sports talent and see that they excel in sports. The boys also attended expensive private institutions, setting them apart from the average citizens.
Per Grunge, Lyle and Erik performed poorly in school and frustrated their father’s efforts. From becoming neighborhood pariahs to living recklessly, the Menendez kids were insufferable. This led their father to take drastic measures in his will, and it’s safe to say that this action might have led to the series of events that changed their lives forever.
How Did Kitty and Jose Die?
In 1988, Erik reportedly penned a script and collaborated with his pal, Craig Cignarelli, to make it into a movie. The chilling details of the plot tells of a young heir who gruesomely murdered his parents for their wealth.
In fact, Kitty had personally helped her son pen the script, hoping it would be a success. But the story was not exactly Hollywood material, so the rave around it died down.
Exactly one year later, in August 1989, the Beverly Hills Police Department was alerted on a code red at the lavish home of the Menendez’s. In a near-perfect ploy, Eric dialed 911, famously screaming that “someone” killed their parents.
The authorities did the needful, carting away the bodies and commencing investigations. The boys aged 21 and 18 at the time seemed so shaken up that investigators did not bother questioning them.
However, the boys’ series of activities almost four days after the crime, and six months later, made them questionable. One would think laying low for the dust to settle after killing one’s parents should be the best option, but the brothers had a more extravagant idea.
Erik and Lyle Became Prime Suspects
Days after the authorities took the bodies away, Lyle and Erik hired bodyguards, went on shopping sprees, bought a $64,000 Porsche, and paid $60,000 for tennis lessons. The boys moved out of their parent’s homes and splurged on high-end hotels.
They also rented out condominiums, organized wild parties, and gambled away parts of their inheritance. The boys purchased Rolex wristwatches worth $15,000 and also set up businesses.
When Erik was apprehended by the police, Lyle was away at Israel for a Tennis game. After learning of the arrest, he voluntarily returned to California, and so the trial began.
The Menendez brothers confessed to murdering their parents in 1989. They purchased revolvers, walked to their parents in the living room, and fired 15 shots that rendered Kitty and Jose almost unrecognizable.
After that, they purchased tickets to go to see a Batman movie and also attend a dance festival. Their alibi was well-planned, and after they returned home, authorities were alerted.
Details of Their Trial
It took almost five years for the jury handling the Menendez case to come up with a verdict. During this period, a lot unfolded, ranging from claims of sexual abuse to the brothers’ psychological disorder.
It took the recorded tapes from their therapist to come to a conclusion. But before the tapes could serve as testimony, there was a debate on doctor-client confidentiality.
During their therapy sessions, Erik, who had developed mental health issues due to the murder, confessed about how they planned to kill their parents. This did not sit well with Lyle, who threatened to kill the therapist.
In the long run, the therapist’s girlfriend, Judalon Smyth, overheard all that transpired and reported it to authorities. Finally, after two years of debating on whether the therapy recordings could serve as evidence, the jury decided it should.
The boys’ claim that their father sexually abused them complicated the case, and in the end, death sentences were waivered for life sentences.
Are the Menendez brothers free? The Menendez brothers, now in their fifties, were given life sentences without parole. So they are presently locked up and still serving their jail terms.
Is The Menendez Brothers’ Case Being Reopened?
In recent times, there have been a group of people tagged the “The New Menendez Defenders” who share sympathetic perspectives on TikTok. There are hundreds of videos with sad music in the background displaying the brothers’ plights.
These groups of people believe the brothers suffered trauma that compelled them to kill their parents. Mostly teenagers, the new generation of supporters believe the Menendez brothers were wrongfully convicted.
The clips shared on the video app often have captions pleading with internet users to see beyond the crime committed. But, so far, there are no indications of a possible retrial or a reopening of the Menendez brothers’ case.