It's been 28 years since Lyle Menéndez and his brother Erik shot their parents to death at the family's Beverly Hills home

By Char Adams
September 27, 2017 11:12 AM
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TRIAL OF BROTHERS LYLE & ERIK MENENDEZ, PARRICIDES
Credit: Ted Soqui/Sygma/Getty

It has been 28 years since Lyle Menéndez and his brother Erik fatally shot their parents in the family’s Beverly Hills mansion, an infamous crime the brothers allege was compelled by alleged abuse. But now, Lyle says he wishes he regrets the killings.

“I completely regret — I don’t think I want, in any way looking back, to be the judge and jury of my father’s actions or my mother’s,” Lyle, 49, told Today‘s Megyn Kelly.

“It’s really, a regret every day, a regret every day, but at the same time you really, you know – I can’t escape what happened anymore than I can escape sort of the memories of what happened to me.”

Lyle and 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.

At the time, prosecutors said that the brothers killed their parents in an attempt to obtain the family fortune. However, the defense argued that the brothers acted in self-defense after allegedly suffering years of sexual abuse from their father.

“There really wasn’t a discussion about killing my parents,” Lyle told Kelly in the phone interview. “I didn’t know the details of what had happened between my brother and my father. And when I first heard about it, I had some of the same reaction that some people have that, you know, ‘How could you not have resisted? Why didn’t you tell me? Why didn’t you run away? Why didn’t you fight back against your father you know?’ ”

lyle-menendez

He continued: “I kind of thought this is something that happens to — as monstrous as my father was, I felt like this, ‘Okay well this happens to little boys, it didn’t happen to me after I was a teenager.’ And you know it was just sort of of a realization of me, as he began to tell me the details of what had happened to him.”

Lyle Menéndez Talks Married Life in Prison Years After Infamous 1989 Murder of Parents

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.

The first trial in 1993 ended in a hung jury, but the second ended in first-degree murder convictions and two-term life sentences for the men — a fate Menéndez said he has come to terms with.

Law & Order, True Crime: The Menendez Murders, an eight-episode drama, airs Tuesdays at 10 p.m. ET on NBC.