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Actors say Lyle and Erik Menendez ‘deserve parole’

The stars of a new NBC show chronicling Lyle and Erik Menendez’s infamous cold-blooded double murder of their parents in the family’s Beverly Hills mansion have said the killers ‘deserve parole’ and what they did is ‘understandable’.

The shocking claims comes before the Tuesday premiere of Law & Order True Crime: The Menendez Murders special, as cast members have spoken out about the killings.

The Menendez brothers shot their parents Jose, 45, and Kitty, 47, dead while they were at home watching TV on August 20, 1989.

Their father, an entertainment executive, was shot point-blank in the back of the head with a 12-gauge shotgun but Kitty tried to get away and was found lying in a pool of blood in the hallway, shot in the arms, chest and face.  

While both Lyle, then 21, and Erik, then 18, were found guilty in March 1996 and ordered to life in prison without parole – actors on the show, which premieres Tuesday, how have expressed sympathy for the killers.

Some even feel they should be released from behind bars, they exclusively told DailyMail.com. 

 

Brothers Lyle (left) and Erik Menendez (right) were convicted of murdering their parents at the family’s Beverly Hills mansion in 1996, in a case that shocked the nation

The brothers, then 18 and 21, shot their parents at home in 1989. Jose Menendez (second to right), a 45-year-old entertainment executive, was shot point-blank in the back of the head and Kitty Menendez, 47,  (second to left) was found lying in a pool of blood in the hallway

The brothers, then 18 and 21, shot their parents at home in 1989. Jose Menendez (second to right), a 45-year-old entertainment executive, was shot point-blank in the back of the head and Kitty Menendez, 47,  (second to left) was found lying in a pool of blood in the hallway

Cast members of  Law & Order True Crime: The Menendez Murders special,  have spoken out about the case. Gus Halper (left) and Miles Gaston Villanueva (right) play the brothers and said their punishments don't fit the crime. Lolita Davidovich (center), who plays their mother, said she believes the men deserve parole and said what they did was 'understandable'

Cast members of Law & Order True Crime: The Menendez Murders special, have spoken out about the case. Gus Halper (left) and Miles Gaston Villanueva (right) play the brothers and said their punishments don’t fit the crime. Lolita Davidovich (center), who plays their mother, said she believes the men deserve parole and said what they did was ‘understandable’

The brothers, who initially blamed the killings on the mob, later claimed they shot their parents in self-defense after years of horrible sexual and emotional abuse by their father.

Lolita Davidovich, who plays slain mother Kitty in the NBC crime drama, said: ‘I hope they do get parole. I think they deserve parole. I believe from the get-go, the next day, they regretted it…for sure.

‘It was an act of passion, it was stupid, immature and it was tragic. So all four lives ended tragically.’

Davidovich, speaking at the 11th annual PaleyFest Fall TV Previews in Beverly Hills, added: ‘No killing is justifiable but it is understandable. These boys’ lives were torture and it was a rage killing.

‘Premeditated by a day or two to get to the guns but they clearly couldn’t endure anymore of the psychological, physical and emotional cumulative effect.

‘The male brain doesn’t form fully until the mid to late 20s – and they were kids. So the reality for them and expectations and the father’s philosophy and it was a total warped reality. These boys deserve a lot of empathy.’

Lolita hopes that the show may help make people locked in ‘pressure cooker situations’ to reach out for help rather than committing rage actions.

Crime scene: Lyle and Erik murdered their parents, shooting them both to death inside the family's $5million Beverly Hills mansion (above the couch where Jose was shot)

Crime scene: Lyle and Erik murdered their parents, shooting them both to death inside the family’s $5million Beverly Hills mansion (above the couch where Jose was shot)

The brothers, who initially blamed the killings on the mob, later claimed they shot their parents in self-defense after years of horrible sexual and emotional abuse by their father, Jose

The brothers, who initially blamed the killings on the mob, later claimed they shot their parents in self-defense after years of horrible sexual and emotional abuse by their father, Jose

Eventually the brothers testified that they were armed with 12-gauge shotguns when they burst into the den of their home and fatally shot their parents, while the couple watched TV. Pictured: The Beverly Hills mansion where the murders took place 

Eventually the brothers testified that they were armed with 12-gauge shotguns when they burst into the den of their home and fatally shot their parents, while the couple watched TV. Pictured: The Beverly Hills mansion where the murders took place 

Davidovich (pictured) speaking at the 11th annual PaleyFest Fall TV Previews in Beverly Hills, added: 'No killing is justifiable but it is understandable. These boys' lives was torture and it was a rage killing'

Davidovich (pictured) speaking at the 11th annual PaleyFest Fall TV Previews in Beverly Hills, added: ‘No killing is justifiable but it is understandable. These boys’ lives was torture and it was a rage killing’

Leading actress Edie Falco, who plays defense attorney Leslie Abramson says that she feels the brothers’ brutal retaliation after years of abuse made sense.

She said: ‘We know who did this, but it does matter knowing the details behind this.

‘To know exactly what happened to them 18 years previous to this murder, it matters – and it is stuff people should know.

‘Edie says that the boys’ excuse was backed up by more people all corroborating what we originally heard from the boys.’

The actors playing the brothers – Gus Halper (Erik Menendez) and Miles Gaston Villanueva, (Lyle Menendez) – also have ’empathy’ for the pair.

Villanueva said: ‘Does the punishment fit the crime? The answer is no and the reason is because of all the abuse that led up to it.

‘I don’t think it was right (they committed murders) and I think they would be the first to admit it was wrong. They made a huge mistake.’

Halper added: ‘We want people to care about them. Hopefully people will come away with a better sense of what actually happened and the truth behind it. There is nothing in it that is untrue.’

The pair claimed that Erik will not watch the show, but is making his own documentary about the killings. Lyle will watch the series even though it is ‘painful’.

Lolita Davidovich, who plays slain mother Kitty in the crime drama, said: 'I hope they do get parole. I think they deserve parole. I believe from the get go, the next day, they regretted it'

Lolita Davidovich, who plays slain mother Kitty in the crime drama, said: ‘I hope they do get parole. I think they deserve parole. I believe from the get go, the next day, they regretted it’

Actors playing the brothers think their sentence of life in prison without parole is too harsh, with Miles Gaston Villanueva saying: 'Does the punishment fit the crime? The answer is no and the reason is because of all the abuse that led up to it'

Pictured: Lyle Menendez, breaks down in tears September 10, 1993 as he recalls incidents of sexual abuse by his father during court testimony. At left are photographs, some showing the genitals of Lyle and brother Erik as children, which the defense claims their father took

Actors playing the brothers think their sentence is too harsh, with Miles Gaston Villanueva saying: ‘Does the punishment fit the crime? The answer is no and the reason is because of all the abuse that led up to it’. Pictured: Erik (left) and Lyle (right)

Halper (left) added: 'We want people to care about them. Hopefully people will come away with a better sense of what actually happened and the truth behind it. There is nothing in it that is untrue' 

Halper (left) added: ‘We want people to care about them. Hopefully people will come away with a better sense of what actually happened and the truth behind it. There is nothing in it that is untrue’ 

In January, Lyle told People that the two brothers remain close even though they are held in separate prisons.

‘Our relationship has never changed,’ Lyle, now 49, spoke from California’s Mule Creek State Prison. ‘It’s very close. We write each other regularly. 

‘We even play chess through the mail, but it’s a little slow.’

Their story made headlines and shocked the US over several years following the slaying of Jose and Kitty Menendez.

The public’s journey started when news broke of the murder on LA news channels after the brothers called 911 upon ‘finding’ their parents brutally murdered at their home.

At first they pleaded their innocence adding that the mob may have carried out the killings – given both parents were shot in the knees.

Later the case took a twist when the brothers confessed to the murders through their Beverly Hills therapist Jerome Oziel.

His girlfriend Judalon Smyth, played by Heather Graham in the show, went to police after she heard an audiotape of a therapy session in which the brothers discussed the killings.

After a first trial ended with two deadlocked juries, Los Angeles DA Gil Garcetti ordered a retrial. It led to the brothers being convicted of murder in March 1996

After a first trial ended with two deadlocked juries, Los Angeles DA Gil Garcetti ordered a retrial. It led to the brothers being convicted of murder in March 1996

Lyle has been president of the inmate government for 15 years and runs a support group for prisoners who have endured childhood sexual abuse

Erik spends time with terminally ill prisoners

Now, Erik (right) spends time with terminally ill prisoners; Lyle (left) has been president of the inmate government for 15 years and runs a support group for prisoners who have endured childhood sexual abuse

The show centering on the horrific murders airs on September 26 on NBC

The show centering on the horrific murders airs on September 26 on NBC

Smyth went from being a key prosecution witness to a witness for the defense later.

Eventually the brothers testified that they were armed with 12-gauge shotguns when they burst into the den of their home and fatally shot their parents, while the couple watched TV.

After a first trial ended with two deadlocked juries, Los Angeles DA Gil Garcetti ordered a retrial.

It led to the brothers being convicted of murder in March 1996.

Judge Stanley M. Weisberg of Los Angeles County Superior Court heard the jury not hand them the death sentence, but rule they should serve life imprisonment without parole.

Lyle insists that he and Erik have attempted to ‘find meaning beyond the tragedy’.

Erik spends time with terminally ill prisoners; Lyle has been president of the inmate government for 15 years and runs a support group for prisoners who have endured childhood sexual abuse.

‘We just keep trying to find something positive from the experiences that we had,’ Lyle says.

He hopes to one day be reunited with his younger brother, now 46: ‘To me it’s a remarkable achievement that [Erik] hasn’t committed suicide in prison, which is something I was originally worried about.

‘The fact that he’s a regular guy, walking around as a functioning adult, is a triumph.’

The show airs on Tuesday, September 26 on NBC. 

Read more at DailyMail.co.uk


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