The Menendez brothers, who were convicted of killing their parents in their Beverly Hills mansion nearly three decades ago, have been reunited in a Southern California prison.
Erik Menendez, 47, has moved into the same housing unit as his 50-year-old brother, Lyle Menendez, Corrections department spokeswoman Terry Thornton said Thursday.
The brothers are serving life sentences for fatally shooting their parents, Jose and Kitty Menendez, in 1989.
Lyle Menendez was moved in February from Mule Creek State Prison in Northern California to San Diego’s R.J. Donovan Correctional Facility, after his security classification was lowered.
But the brothers lived in separate housing units and would not have seen each other, Thornton said. The prison houses nearly 3,900 male inmates.
Scroll for video
Erik Menendez, 47, has moved into the same prison unit as his brother Lyle Menendez, 50, after not being able to see or communicate with each other for 17 years
The Menendez brothers brutally slayed their mother and father in August of 1989 and said it was because their father had molested Erik, however no evidence of abuse was found
The Menendez brothers are now able to interact with each other at San Diego’s R.J. Donovan Correctional Facility where inmates participate in educational and other rehabilitation programs without fighting or creating disruptions
That changed Wednesday, when Eric moved into the same housing unit as his brother, a unit where inmates agree to participate in educational and other rehabilitation programs without fighting or creating disruptions.
‘They can and do interact with each other, all the inmates in that facility,’ she said, though she didn’t know how the brothers reacted during their reunion.
The brothers had asked two decades ago, after they were sentenced, to be sent to the same prison.
Prison officials said then that they often balked at putting partners in crime together, and the Beverly Hills detective who investigated the slayings argued that the brothers might conspire to escape if they were together. Leslie Abramson, Erik Menendez’s attorney, at the time called housing the brothers separately ‘exceedingly cruel and heartless.’
Lyle, who was then 21, and Erik, then 18, admitted they fatally shot-gunned their entertainment executive father and their mother, but said they feared their parents were about to kill them to prevent the disclosure of the father’s long-term sexual molestation of Erik.
In an interview in November with Megyn Kelly, Lyle Menendez on her NBC morning show, Megyn Kelly Today Lyle expressed how much he misses his brother.
Lyle said he had been unable to speak to Erik for the past 17 years.
‘We cannot talk on the phone. We communicate just through having the same family members and by writing letters,’ revealed Lyle.
Then, Megyn delved into the night that the brothers murdered their father, and what drove them to commit such an unthinkable crime.
‘Once I found out what was happening with my brother, I confronted my father. And it was in the midst of that, that my mother got involved and we found out the extent that she knew about it,’ said Lyle.
‘And she made a bunch of arguments about it. Overwhelming emotional situation. And for me, it’s hard — it’s hard to almost go back and put myself in that situation. But just the pain, the outrage, the fear and just — I mean, in all reality, just, you know, just anger and just, you know, hopelessness.’
He went on to reveal that he never once made eye contact with his parents as he shot them dead.
‘It was a dark room. I think you’re just blinded by emotion. And just, you know, probably fearful adrenaline,’ said Lyle.
And in that moment, it was just a ‘flood of emotions’ he explained to Megyn.
‘You know, I’m feeling everything. You know, I mean, I had kept — I never had any therapy, for what happened to me as a child,’ explained Lyle.
‘I mean, I just buried it inside. You live with this fire inside you. Unresolved.’
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
He went on to say: ‘My brother and I had some fortune, I guess, because of all of the emotion that went into what happened and proceeded it, that emotion doesn’t disappear. My parents are there. We’re in the middle of that crime scene.
‘So, it’s very emotional. It was not difficult to — for that emotion to be there. Of course, I’m not telling the officer the truth or the person on the phone the truth.’
Megyn than closed out the interview by asking Lyle if he had an religious beliefs.
‘I probably believe in heaven and god,’ said Lyle.
‘I hope it’s a very forgiving god.’
It has been nearly 30 years since Lyle and Erik shot dead their wealthy parents in Beverly Hills.
On August 20, 1989, Lyle and Erik walked into the den of their $5million Beverly Hills mansion and shot their father Jose point blank in the back of the head, then shot their mother Kitty in the leg as she tried to run out of the room.
In the end they shot their father five times and their mother nine, with the final bullet for each going into their kneecaps in an attempt to make the murders look like a mob hit.
It was not until March of the following year however that police had enough evidence to arrest them, and the two were not convicted for the murders until 1994, with both given life sentences.
The brothers argued that they were driven to murder their father and mother after a lifetime of physical, emotional and sexual abuse, a claim that relatives of the brothers said was categorically false.
Jose was a Cuban immigrant who fled the country at the age of 16 after Fidel Castro took power and worked his way up from nothing to become CEO of RCA Records, where he was responsible for the signing of groups including the Eurythmics and Jefferson Starship, and later the film studio now known as Artisan Entertainment.
After killing their father and mother, who was a former school teacher, the two boys got in their car and dumped the murder weapons before going to see the James Bond Film Licence to Kill and then meeting some friends for drinks before returning home just before midnight, at which point Lyle called authorities.
‘Somebody killed my parents,’ said the older of the two brothers.
The show centering on the horrific murders airs on September 26 on NBC
Police spoke with the brothers after arriving at the home but did not check them for gunshot residue to see if they had recently fired a gun, this despite the fact that they considered them both persons of interest at the time.
Neighbors meanwhile had not thought to call police after hearing gunshots coming from the house assuming that it was just noise from children playing in the neighborhood.
With not enough evidence to implicate the brothers police began looking elsewhere for possible suspects while Lyle and Erik began to spend their father’s fortune.
It was later estimated that in the six months after killing their parents the two brothers spent $1million on everything from a full time tennis coach and Porsche to a restaurant in Princeton, New Jersey.
Their crime caught up with them however when Erik confessed to the crime during a session with his psychologist. Erik then called his brother Lyle to come join his session and after he too detailed what the two brothers had done, the older brother threatened the life of the doctor saying that is he ever told anyone they would kill him as well.
The psychologist, L. Jerome Oziel, was having an affair at the time with a woman in his office who overheard what was said in the session after listening through the door while the brothers were meeting with the doctor.
Erik and his wife Tammi
Oziel also later told his girlfriend in detail what had happened, and after the two broke up she went to police and revealed that the brothers had killed their parents and threatened Oziel’s life.
She also informed police that the sessions had been taped.
The two were arrested soon after, and in a massive blow to their defense the state ruled that when Lyle threatened the life of their psychologist he voided the doctor-patient relationship that would normally have prohibited Oziel from testifying in court.
Some of the tapes were also allowed into evidence.
The two brothers were tried separately starting in 1993, and the first trial for both Lyle and Erik ended with deadlocked juries.
That was due almost entirely to the fact that it was at that first trial when the brothers claimed under oath that they had both been abused for years while being represented by two of the best defense lawyers in the country, who they paid for using the money they had inherited from their parents’ $14million estate.
It all came to head they claimed a week before the killings when Lyle, who was 21 at the time of the murder, claimed that his mother ripped off his toupee in front of Erik, who did not know he was bald.
The brothers claim that after seeing Lyle in that state, Erik was able to admit to him that Jose had been sexually molesting him for years, and that when they confronted him to stop he told the two: ‘He is my son, and I will do what I want with him.’
Erik said that he was sodomized by his father for the first time when he was six-years-old, and Lyle testified that Jose also made him molest his own brother when they were children.
The younger brother also testified that Jose forced him to perform four different kinds of sexual acts: oral sex, anal sex, hand massage, or having pins stuck into his buttocks or thighs.
Lyle said that in addition to his father, his mother also sexually molested him. He also testified that his father forced him to perform oral sex on his mother multiple times and sodomized him when he was just a child.
Jose’s sister testified that this was not true, and while the juries were deadlocked the first time the brothers were tried, they did not get the desired result in their second trial.
On March 20, 1996, the brothers were found guilty of first-degree murder, receiving life sentences and being spared the death penalty.
They appealed their case all the way up to the US 9th Circuit Court of Appeals but were denied every time.
Erik married Tammi Menendez in 1999, as their relationship started from her sending him letters for years.