Judalon Smyth, Who Testified against Erik and Lyle Menendez, Speaks Out for First Time in 20 Years

"It was frightening," says Judalon Smyth, who testified against the brothers in court

Lyle, left, and Erik Menendez sit in Beverly Hills Municipal Court where their attorneys delayed making pleas on behalf of the brothers who are suspected in the murders of their millionaire parents, Jose and Mary Louise Menendez, March 12, 1990.
Lyle (left) and Erik Menendez. Photo: Nick Ut/AP

It was one of the highest-profile trials of the 1990s.

Lyle and Erik Menendez were children of privilege living in Beverly Hills. But everything changed in 1989, with the gruesome shotgun slaying of their parents, José and Kitty.

For months, the case went unsolved – until police closed in on the brothers. They were ultimately convicted in 1996 of first-degree murder.

One of the prosecution’s main pieces of evidence: the testimony of Judalon Smyth, the lover of the brothers’ psychiatrist. She told authorities that she had overheard the brothers saying that they had shot their mother’s eye out of its socket. She also had audio recordings of conversations with the psychiatrist.

She wasn’t a perfect witness; the defense poked holes in some of her testimony. But through it all, Smyth maintained her belief that the brothers were guilty of the slayings.

For 25 years, Smyth has refused to give interviews, until now.

Smith speaks publicly for the first time in 25 years on Murder Made Me Famous, a new true-crime docuseries on the Reelz Channel.

In the candid interview, Smyth talks about the public scrutiny of her testimony. “It was a little confusing for me the way the media was,” she recalls. “I really didn’t understand the attack I was going to come under for doing the right thing.”

Smyth concedes that she didn’t come clean right away; she went to police only after she and the psychiatrist broke up. “I mean, it took a long time for me to do the right thing,” she says. “But ultimately, I did.”

“There was some paper that said something about me having loose lips,” she recalls. “It’s like, excuse me. If that was your mother and father getting murdered, would you like someone to have tight lips or loose lips?”

Smyth was frustrated at the vitriol aimed at her. “There was one newscaster that called me a ‘nutball’ on the radio,” she says. “It was frightening. Someone comes forward and then you crucify them.”

Check out an exclusive preview of Murder Made Me Famous!

Murder Made Me Famous combines reenactments, exclusive interviews and never-before-seen photos and video to tell the story of infamous murderers. Each episode of the show features PEOPLE Senior Writer Steve Helling. The show airs Saturday night at 9 p.m. on the Reelz Channel.

Want to keep up with the latest crime coverage? Click here to get breaking crime news, ongoing trial coverage and details of intriguing unsolved cases in the True Crime Newsletter.

Related Articles