Lyle Menéndez, one of two brothers who killed their wealthy parents in 1989, is opening up about the last 26 years he has spent in prison after the high-profile murder.
“It’s shocking to think … that I could have been involved in taking anyone’s life — and my parent’s life,” Menéndez, 48, told ABC News in a recent phone interview as part of a two-hour special called Truth and Lies: The Menendez Brothers.
“But I found that my own childhood prepared me surprisingly well for the chaos of prison life.”
Menéndez and his brother Erik, who were 21 and 18 respectively at the time, shot their sleeping parents, Jose and Mary Menéndez, execution-style in the den of the family’s Spanish-style, Beverly Hills mansion on the night of Aug. 20, 1989.
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The murder case gripped the nation. Investigators initially believed the killings to be a mafia hit, but after Lyle confessed to his ex-girlfriend and Erik confessed to a psychologist, the brothers were arrested.
“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,” Menéndez told ABC. “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.”
At the time, prosecutors said that the privileged brothers killed their parents in an attempt to obtain the family fortune. However, the defense argued that the brothers acted in self-defense after suffering years of sexual abuse from their father.
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“My own father, he was a person of means and stature, and my mother was sort of a socialite-type person, a country club type person,” Menéndez said. “No one’s going to intervene in how they raise their family.”
Truth and Lies: The Menendez Brothers — American Sons, American Murderers airs Thursday, Jan. 5, 2017, on ABC.