Menendez brothers’ claims of abuse supported by means of newly found out letter, new allegation. Will their convictions stand?

Menendez brothers’ claims of abuse supported by means of newly found out letter, new allegation. Will their convictions stand?

Lyle and Erik Menendez had been at the back of bars in California for greater than 3 many years for the 1989 killing in their oldsters, Jose and Kitty Menendez. Convicted of first-degree homicide and sentenced to existence in jail in a case that captured the country’s consideration, they’d no hope of ever strolling loose. However new proof would possibly exchange that.

Erik selected to not talk with “48 Hours” for this broadcast, however Lyle did, talking with contributor Natalie Morales by means of telephone from RJ Donovan State Jail in San Diego, California.

Operator: You have got a pay as you go name from—

Lyle Menendez: Lyle Menendez …

Operator: This name and your phone quantity shall be monitored and recorded.

Natalie Morales: Hello, Lyle. Are you able to listen me?

Lyle Menendez: Hello. Yeah, I will be able to listen you.

Natalie Morales: What did you assume while you heard about those … new claims and proof …

Lyle Menendez: I imply, for me, I simply was once glad … ‘reason it is a burden to be telling what came about to you and simply have such a lot doubt within the public air.

The query isn’t whether or not the Menendez brothers killed their oldsters. They admit that they did. As an alternative, the focal point of the case has lengthy been why they did it. They insist that they killed out of worry and in self-defense after an entire life of bodily, emotional, and sexual abuse suffered by the hands in their oldsters. One among their legal professionals, Cliff Gardner, says the brand new proof corroborates the ones claims—and lessens their culpability.

Cliff Gardner: If the pass judgement on reveals this proof credible, I believe it is enough to give them a brand new trial.


However to know the way we were given right here, we need to return to the start: the night time of Aug. 20, 1989, when Lyle Menendez made this name to 911 from the circle of relatives’s Beverly Hills mansion:

911 OPERATOR: Beverly Hills Emergency?

LYLE MENENDEZ: Sure, please, uh —

911 OPERATOR: What is the downside?

Lyle Menendez: (Crying) Any individual killed my oldsters!

911 OPERATOR: Pardon me? —

LYLE MENENDEZ: (Sobbing) Any individual killed my oldsters!

After officials spoke back to the scene, then-21-year-old Lyle and 18-year-old Erik reported that they’d arrived house to search out their oldsters shot to dying within the circle of relatives room. Jackie Lacey was once a deputy district lawyer in Los Angeles on the time.

Jackie Lacey: I believe one of the crucial Beverly Hills detectives … described it as probably the most … brutal crime scene he had ever observed in his existence.

POLICE NEWS CONFERENCE: I have been on this trade for over 33 years, and I’ve heard of only a few murders that had been extra savage than this one was once.

Jose Menendez, a former best government at RCA Data, and his spouse, Kitty, have been shot a couple of instances at shut vary with a shotgun.

Jackie Lacey: It was once an expression of hatred for those two folks.

Milton Andersen, Kitty’s older brother, nonetheless recollects receiving the scoop.

Milton Andersen: My brother known as me, and he mentioned that Kitty and Jose had been – had been useless … I beloved her … Sister Kitty was once an excessively formidable gal … She was once an excessively stunning … lady.

A portrait of the Menendez circle of relatives from October 1988, From left, Lyle, Kitty, Jose and Erik. 

Robert Rand

Kitty and Jose met once they had been in school in Illinois. Jose had come to the U.S. from Cuba. They went directly to marry and get started a circle of relatives. Lyle and Erik had been their most effective kids. Through the years, with Kitty by means of his aspect, Jose excelled in his profession, running for RCA Data, amongst different primary firms.

Milton Andersen: He was once going proper up the ladder … with none hesitation. 

On the time of his dying, Jose was once running for a movie studio, operating their house video department. Investigators to begin with suspected that the killings will have been tied to his trade dealings.

Jackie Lacey: Lyle … type of indicated, , my dad handled shady characters. And if you say one thing like that, detectives are going to start out to take a look at, OK, what had been his trade contacts?

Members of the family and investigators questioned whether or not it should had been mafia similar. On the time, the house video trade was once recognized for having ties to the mob.

Milton Andersen: Everyone mentioned it was once a mob hit.

Jackie Lacey: As it was once so brutal. … It – it in point of fact was once like a scene out of … “The Godfather” films.

First of all, Lyle and Erik Menendez weren’t even on investigators’ radar.

Jackie Lacey: They did not do any gunshot residue take a look at on their palms. They allow them to return … and get proof with out even considering, “whats up, may just it had been the children?”

Erik, left, and Lyle Menendez

Los Angeles Occasions/Getty Pictures

However they did not keep off investigators’ radar for lengthy. Their habits within the wake of the crime in the end drew scrutiny. The brothers gave the impression to be spending their oldsters’ cash — and a variety of it.

Jackie Lacey: They had been … Making an investment in companies. … They acted like they’d gained the lottery.

And their habits at their oldsters’ memorial services and products raised some eyebrows.

Milton Andersen: On the podium … Lyle learn a letter from Jose … that was once stuffed with love and satisfaction for his sons.

Natalie Morales: Did you notice Lyle get emotional as he was once studying that letter?

Milton Andersen: No. … Lyle additionally made a observation that his father at all times mentioned, “you’ll be able to by no means fill my sneakers.” And he jokingly mentioned, “bet what? I am dressed in my father’s sneakers nowadays.”

Natalie Morales: Struck you as extraordinary that he would say one thing like that.

Milton Andersen: I—very extraordinary.

Whilst all that can have appeared abnormal, it wasn’t exhausting proof. However then, about six months later, police were given a tip from an not likely supply: the female friend of a psychologist who Lyle and Erik Menendez have been speaking to. She instructed police that the brothers had confessed to the killings in remedy and there was once an audiotaped recording of it.

Jackie Lacey: However for that confession, who is aware of whether or not they would’ve ever been stuck?

On March 8, 1990, after police were given their palms on that tape, Lyle Menendez was once taken into custody. Erik Menendez, who was once in another country on the time, surrendered to police days later.

DAN RATHER | “CBS Night time Information”: Now not many Hollywood homicide mysteries ever took a extra dramatic flip than police are describing in a few savage Beverly Hills killings.

NEWS REPORT: Police say the purpose was once it appears cash. A $14 million inheritance to be shared by means of the brothers.

However years later, when the case made its option to trial, the brothers would make it transparent that it may not be so easy.

DEFENSE ATTORNEY JILL LANSING (in courtroom): On August twentieth, 1989, did you and your brother kill your parents?


JILL LANSING: Why did you kill your oldsters?

LYLE MENENDEZ: As a result of we had been afraid. (emotional)


In the summertime of 1993, just about 4 years after Jose and Kitty Menendez had been gunned down of their house, their sons, Lyle and Erik Menendez, went on trial. They confronted the dying penalty.

LESLIE ABRAMSON (Protection opening at trial): Excellent afternoon … The one query on this case is why did those killings happen? … Why they had been killed is what the focal point of all of our proof shall be on.

What the protection was once arguing was once that since this was once a self-defense case, the brothers had been deserving of a lesser fee and punishment. The protection legal professionals who attempted the case did not reply to “48 Hours”‘ requests for an interview. Cliff Gardner represents Lyle and Erik Menendez nowadays.

Cliff Gardner: That they had the protection of … imperfect self-defense.

Imperfect self-defense, that means the brothers in truth believed that they’d to do so to avoid wasting their lives, even if it would no longer appear rational.

Cliff Gardner: And if it is fair however unreasonable … You’re culpable of manslaughter, no longer of homicide.

Lyle Menendez attesting on the first trial.

Related Press

Each brothers took the stand. Lyle Menendez spoke of sexual abuse by the hands of his parents. He mentioned his father started sexually abusing him when he was once most effective 6 years previous.

LYLE MENENDEZ (in courtroom): He would, uh, fondle me and he would inquire from me to do the similar with him.

Through the years, he mentioned, it changed into worse.

LYLE MENENDEZ (in courtroom): He’d rape me (crying).

Erik Menendez attesting on the first trial. 

Related Press

However whilst Lyle mentioned his father stopped sexually abusing him when he was once 8, Erik mentioned it by no means ended for him, and that he in spite of everything confided in his older brother days prior to the crime — at age 18.

ERIK MENENDEZ (in courtroom): I did not know what to do on the time. So, I figured I would inform Lyle and perhaps he may just lend a hand me.

LYLE MENENDEZ (in courtroom): He began telling me that … one of the crucial causes he had by no means instructed me prior to was once as a result of my dad had at all times threatened his existence.

The brothers testified that Lyle quickly faced their oldsters, and that their mom indicated she knew in regards to the abuse all alongside. In anger, Lyle mentioned he directed a risk at his father.

LYLE MENENDEZ (in courtroom): I instructed him that I might inform everyone … Then he mentioned, … all of us make alternatives in existence, son. Erik made his. You’ve got made yours.

JILL LANSING: What did you assume was once gonna occur?

LYLE MENENDEZ: I assumed we had been at risk. I assumed he had no—he felt he had no selection.

JILL LANSING: However to what?

LYLE MENENDEZ: That he would kill us.

The brothers testified that they were given into some other argument with their oldsters at the night time of the crime and that they believed their oldsters had been about to kill them to stay the circle of relatives secret from popping out. So, they mentioned, they grabbed shotguns that they’d purchased two days previous for defense, went into the circle of relatives room and began capturing their oldsters — at one level, even preventing to reload.

JILL LANSING (in courtroom): And what did you do after you reloaded?

LYLE MENENDEZ (crying): I ran round, shot my mother.

To reinforce their claims of abuse, the protection known as to the stand a lot of kin, pals and acquaintances of the circle of relatives who described incidents of bodily and emotional abuse that they mentioned they seen. Alan Andersen, Lyle and Erik’s cousin, was once a type of witnesses. Rising up, Alan would spend summers on the Menendez house. He had so much to mention about Jose.

Alan Andersen: Hitting the children with the belt, by no means had an issue with that.

And Kitty.

Alan Andersen: She would not stand up to console the kids, not anything.

Whilst not one of the witnesses, together with Alan, ever noticed Lyle or Erik Menendez being sexually abused, Alan did recall one thing that struck him as extraordinary.

Alan Andersen: Jose would inform the lads, “Within the bed room” … after which he would shut the door after which he’d take showers with ’em.

He says all the way through that point, Kitty would not let him pass close to the room.

Alan Andersen: So, I used to be no longer allowed, whilst the lads had been by myself with Jose with the door closed in the main bedroom, to move down the corridor to almost certainly no longer listen no matter I would possibly listen.

Any other cousin, Diane Vandermolen, gave an identical testimony. And he or she additionally recounted a dialog she says she had with Lyle when he was once 8.

DIANE VANDERMOLEN (in courtroom): Um, he proceeded to suggest to me by means of touching himself, uh, down and — and pronouncing that his dad and him have been touching each and every different down there.

JILL LANSING: And what did you do?

DIANE VANDERMOLEN: I went and were given Kitty and, uh, … instructed her what was once occurring.

JILL LANSING: And what came about when Kitty got here down?

DIANE VANDERMOLEN: Uh, she did not consider me.

Andy Cano, but some other cousin, additionally took the stand and testified a couple of dialog he says he had with Erik when Erik was once about 13.

ANDY CANO (in courtroom): He instructed me his father was once massaging his d***. He instructed me by no means to show it to anyone.

Nonetheless, prosecutors argued that even supposing Lyle and Erik Menendez had been abused, it does not give them the precise to kill. They usually identified that once the brothers confessed to that psychologist, they by no means discussed abuse or self-defense then.

Jackie Lacey: The timing of disclosure was once handy.

The prosecutors who attempted the case did not reply to “48 Hours”‘ request for an interview. Former Los Angeles County D.A. Jackie Lacey reviewed parts of the trial at our request.

Jackie Lacey: And folks do make issues up when their existence is at the line.

However these kinds of years later, Lyle Menendez maintains they’re telling the reality and the rationale they did not come ahead then was once difficult.

Natalie Morales: What was once maintaining you again?

Lyle Menendez: Simply disgrace. Simply no longer in need of it to be public.

The natural nature of the crime, then again, says Lacey, does not reinforce the brothers’ declare that they acted in self-defense. Prosecutors identified that Jose and Kitty had been looking at TV on the time they had been killed, and so they were not armed.

Jackie Lacey: With the intention to get shut sufficient to blow any individual away … you possibly can’ve been ready to peer that they did not have guns.

Lyle Menendez is adamant that he and his brother had been in worry for his or her lives.

Lyle Menendez: For me, it was once simply darkish and complicated and overall trust that there was once threat. … You understand, it is combat or flight to some extent. … It was once panic.

Lyle, left, Jose and Erik Menendez

Bob Rand

The prosecution argued the proof proves the killings had been premeditated. When the brothers bought the ones shotguns, prosecutors mentioned that they took steps to hide their tracks, like riding to a gun retailer all of the means in San Diego.

Jackie Lacey: San Diego isn’t an across the nook power. Remaining time I checked, it was once two hours from time to time.

Jackie Lacey: Once they killed their oldsters, they went round and collected the expended shotgun shell casings in order that their fingerprints would not be found out on the ones shells. … there was once numerous idea and numerous deliberation that went into it.

Additionally they removed the shotguns, made that 911 name —

OPERATOR: Who’s the individual that was once shot?

LYLE MENENDEZ (Crying): My mother and my dad.

— and misled the preliminary investigators. Prosecutors pointed to cash because the purpose. They mentioned Jose Menendez instructed his sons he had got rid of them from his will—and in keeping with their investigation, they advised that when the crime, Lyle Menendez tried to wreck a will at the circle of relatives laptop. Lyle denies doing that and insists cash had not anything to do with what came about. If there was once a brand new will, it was once by no means discovered.

Lyle Menendez: We by no means had any monetary issues of my oldsters.

Even if the brothers had been attempted in combination, there have been two separate juries deciding their destiny. When deliberations started, they stretched on for weeks prior to each juries made up our minds they had been divided over whether or not Lyle and Erik Menendez will have to be convicted of homicide or manslaughter.

JUDGE (in courtroom): Subsequently, I in finding that the jury is hopelessly deadlocked.

A mistrial was once declared.

Lyle Menendez: It was once only a devastating consequence. I wanted it to be over somehow.

But it surely was once a ways from over. Prosecutors would take a look at the case once more.

Jackie Lacey: They wanted a win. … the warmth was once on.


Just about two years handed as Lyle and Erik Menendez sat in prison, expecting a 2d trial. A few of their members of the family, like Alan Andersen, believed that they had been justified within the killings.

Alan Andersen: I do know they did what they did as a result of they had been in worry in their existence.

Whilst others — like Kitty’s brother, Milton Andersen, thought to be them cold-blooded killers.

Milton Andersen: I do not consider that Jose or Kitty would do any of the issues that they had been accused of. … Jose was once converting his will … And that is the reason once they went out and purchased the shotguns.

On the retrial, which started in October 1995, one jury, as a substitute of 2, would listen the case, no video cameras had been allowed in courtroom—and a brand new staff of prosecutors would make use of a special technique.

Cliff Gardner: The primary trial was once, OK, there will have been abuse, however we do not permit vigilantes in our society. … The second one trial, the prosecution’s case, there was once no abuse in any respect.

And what made it more uncomplicated for prosecutors to argue that, says lawyer Cliff Gardner, is the truth that the prosecution raised new and a hit objections to the admission of a considerable amount of protection proof. Now, the jury would listen from just a few — no longer all—of the witnesses who knew the Menendez circle of relatives and helped corroborate the brothers’ claims of abuse.

Cliff Gardner: The D.A. was once no longer going to take some other loss. They might no longer take some other loss.

The pass judgement on, who had additionally presided over the primary trial, excluded the testimony at the grounds that it was once inappropriate, repetitive and in some circumstances, missing in basis — as a result of this time, Lyle Menendez would no longer take the stand.

Natalie Morales: Erik did testify. Why did making a decision to not talk?

Lyle Menendez: Uh, for 2 causes. I used to be simply finished after the primary trial. … And I did not have … the lawyer that … I relied on such a lot to invite me those deep non-public questions.

However Carol Najera, the one surviving lead prosecutor from the second one trial, who declined to talk with “48 Hours,” advised in a 1996 interview there would possibly had been one more reason why Lyle did not take the stand.

Carol Najera (1996 interview): There have been issues that have been advanced for the reason that first trial that may have broken his credibility a super deal.

Lyle Menendez and his lawyer, Terri Towery, all the way through the retrial for Menendez and his brother, Erik, on Oct. 12, 1995. He didn’t testify.

AP Picture

Prosecutors mentioned they’d new proof that Lyle had requested a pal and a former female friend to manufacture testimony. Lyle admits to “48 Hours” that he did do this, however says he later withdrew the ones requests. As a result of Lyle did not take the stand, his cousin, Diane Vandermolen, was once prohibited from attesting about that dialog she says she had with Lyle when he was once 8, during which she says Lyle instructed her that his father was once touching him. The jury did nonetheless listen from cousin Andy Cano about that an identical dialog he claimed to have had with a 13-year-old Erik, however the prosecution attacked his credibility.

Cliff Gardner: The state’s place was once that Andy was once a liar.

And when cousin Alan Andersen took the stand, prosecutors attacked his credibility too — citing the truth that Lyle Menendez gave him cash after the crime. Andersen says it was once to lend a hand pay for a clinical process.

Alan Andersen: He did not say the rest like, smartly, if I’m going to courtroom, , or no, he, it was once simply directly up between him and I, him being a pleasing cousin, figuring out I used to be in monetary bind, he knew he had the sources to lend a hand me.

At the second one trial, prosecutors positioned extra of a focal point at the brutality of the crime. They usually painted Jose as a restrained, loving father—somebody incapable of molesting his kids. Prosecutors referred to the brothers’ protection as “the abuse excuse.” Within the first trial, the protection known as greater than 50 witnesses, this time they known as about part.

Cliff Gardner: It wasn’t that they did not need to provide them. They weren’t allowed.

The jury deliberated for days, after which a verdict: responsible of first-degree homicide.

Lyle Menendez: I hugged my brother, we cried, and I mentioned, “glance, we are gonna be OK.”

Alan Andersen: I used to be no longer glad in any respect.

On the jury’s advice, the brothers had been sentenced to existence in jail with out the opportunity of parole. 

Natalie Morales: And also you consider they deserved that?

Milton Andersen: Oh, what they did to my sister … they will have to have got the dying penalty.

Lyle and Erik Menendez had been despatched to split prisons. Greater than 20 years handed after which, round 2020, the case made a stunning resurgence on social media. Following a documentary that aired at the case during which Erik Menendez repeated his claims of abuse, droves of folks took to TikTok and Instagram to precise reinforce for him and his brother.

Dr. Judy Ho is a neuropsychologist who focuses on early life intercourse abuse trauma. Dr. Ho could also be a “48 Hours” advisor. We requested her to check the case.

Dr. Judy Ho: I unquestionably assume that our society has simply change into extra an expert about trauma and the have an effect on of sexual trauma.

Erik, left, and Lyle Menendez with their father Jose. 

Milton Andersen

Dr. Ho says analysis displays that simply because the brothers not on time reporting abuse, it does not imply they made it up.

Dr. Judy Ho: That is all very in line with individuals who had been thru trauma and perhaps really feel adore it was once even their very own fault in many ways … Or they are ashamed of the trauma … And there is a lot extra self-stigma and disgrace related to male sufferers.

She additionally says that the abuse the brothers describe, may just even lend a hand give an explanation for why the crime was once so brutal.

Dr. Judy Ho: It is smart that during that second, it is nearly like a breakdown. … And that is the reason to not make an excuse for the rest that they have got finished, however it is simply to explain the frame of mind of that is years and years of abuse, the place they … could not act to give protection to themselves … And when they pulled the cause, it was once like, there was once no turning again.

However may just Lyle and Erik Menendez have really been in worry for his or her lives that night time?

Natalie Morales: They are 18 and 21. … Why could not they go away?

The Menendez circle of relatives on holiday. From left, Lyle, Erik, Kitty and Jose

Bob Rand

Dr. Judy Ho: Proper. Neatly, indisputably there was once a trail that they may have taken is to take a look at to escape from the circle of relatives … But it surely seems like even at that age, they had been very a lot below the regulate in their father nonetheless. … I believe that oftentimes what folks aren’t acutely aware of is that trauma totally rewires the mind … They almost certainly did assume at one level it was once both them or their oldsters. That it was once a combat or flight conditioning that had arise.

Legal professional Cliff Gardner believes the case can be attempted in a different way nowadays.

Cliff Gardner: The theory again then was once, A, dads do not molest their kids. … And if unintentionally it came about, those are 18 and 21-year-old children. They are strapping younger males. They only go away. … And each the ones, I believe, are undercut in — in what we all know nowadays.

Nonetheless, a greater working out of the consequences of sexual abuse and a few social media reinforce would do little on their very own to make a distinction within the brothers’ case legally. As an alternative, what their protection wanted was once new proof, and in the end, that is what it were given.

Natalie Morales: Did you or Erik assume that someone else would accuse your father … of kid molestation?

Lyle Menendez: I didn’t. … I may just no longer consider it.


Through the years, Lyle and Erik Menendez appealed their convictions, however had been unsuccessful. It appeared not likely that they might ever see past jail partitions. However then, new proof started to floor. The primary piece within the type of a letter.

Lyle Menendez: Simply roughly immediately, one in every of, uh—my father’s sister discovered a letter in garage.

Appellate lawyer Cliff Gardner says the letter was once written by means of Erik Menendez to his cousin, Andy Cano, in December 1988, about 8 months prior to the crime.

Natalie Morales: It is not dated, however you had been ready to get a body of reference of the timing of it in keeping with the contents of the letter, proper?

Cliff Gardner: Precisely. … he talks in regards to the Christmas celebration. We all know the Christmas celebration that they placed on … was once in Christmas of ’88. He talks about hiring a brand new tennis trainer … There is various issues within the letter that permit us to authenticate when it was once written.

A letter written by means of Erik Menendez to his cousin Andy Cano in December 1988 was once hooked up as an show off to the habeas petition that was once filed in Would possibly 2023.

Awesome Court docket of the State of California, Los Angeles County

And it is a specific phase of the letter that Gardner says is essential.

Cliff Gardner: He says … “I have been seeking to keep away from dad. It is nonetheless going down, Andy, however it is worse for me now. … Each night time I keep up considering he would possibly are available. … I am afraid … He is loopy. He is warned me 100 instances about telling any person, particularly Lyle.”

Cliff Gardner: Nobody knew about it at trial. … It was once by no means offered.

Be mindful, Andy Cano did testify at each trials. He mentioned that Erik Menendez, at age 13, confided in him that his dad have been touching him. Prosecutors advised that Cano was once mendacity.

ANDY CANO (in courtroom): He defined to me that those massages that his father was once giving him had been starting to harm.

Natalie Morales: The letter is very important, why?

Cliff Gardner: Neatly, the state’s place was once that Andy was once a liar. Andy was once making it up. This displays that Andy wasn’t making it up. … It is contemporaneous proof from Erik to his cousin, Andy, about what was once going down.

However the letter was once only the start. Extra proof has surfaced that Gardner says additional helps Lyle and Erik Menendez’s longstanding claims that they had been sexually abused. A person named Roy Rossello has come ahead claiming that he was once sexually abused by means of Jose Menendez, too.

Cliff Gardner: Roy … was once a member of the boy band Menudo, which was once giant within the past due ’70s, mid-’80s.

Menudo originated in Puerto Rico. The band is absolute best recognized for generating giant identify ability like singer Ricky Martin. The theory at the back of the band was once to stay it forever younger. Few of the performers remained within the staff past the age of 16, as a substitute being circled out for more youthful ability. It seems, Jose Menendez had ties to the gang.

Cliff Gardner: Jose Menendez … was once running at RCA on the time and RCA signed Menudo to a recording contract.

Jose Menendez, best row, 2d from left, is pictured with former contributors of Menudo in 1983, together with Roy Rossello, backside proper. Additionally pictured is the band’s one-time supervisor, Edgardo Diaz, best row, 2d from proper.

Sony Track/RCA Data

Former Menudo member Roy Rossello, now 54, was once no longer to be had for an interview with “48 Hours,” however in a sworn affidavit filed simply remaining 12 months, he claims he went to Jose Menendez’s house within the early-80s on the route of the band’s then-manager Edgardo Diaz. Rossello would had been between 14 and 15 years previous on the time. He says he drank “a pitcher of wine,” then felt like he had “no regulate” over his frame. He says Jose Menendez took him to a room and raped him. Rossello first spoke publicly in regards to the allegations in a documentary.

ROY ROSSELLO (from Peacock documentary, translated from Spanish): I used to be in horrible ache for every week. I may just slightly stand the ache. I could not even transfer.

Rossello additionally alleges that he was once sexually abused by means of Jose Menendez on two different events, proper prior to and proper after a efficiency at Radio Town Track Corridor in New York.

Cliff Gardner: I met Roy and he talked to me about it. … it was once a troublesome dialog for him. And it was once tough for me to listen to … however I assumed Roy was once credible … It might take years for folks to acknowledge what came about to have the braveness to come back ahead.

Lyle Menendez: After I first heard about it … I — I cried. … For me, it was once very significant to only have issues pop out that brought about folks to in point of fact notice, OK … no less than this a part of what it is about is correct.

Lyle Menendez says he recollects Menudo band contributors coming over to the circle of relatives house once they lived in New Jersey, prior to shifting to Beverly Hills. He does no longer recall Rossello in particular.

Natalie Morales: What do you take note in regards to the Menudo band contributors going to your house?

Lyle Menendez: Best that my father had some intimate involvement with that individual staff. … He in most cases shouldn’t have an excessive amount of involvement with teams as opposed to negotiations. However with Menudo and Edgardo Diaz … he traveled with them. … He went to their concert events. He stayed in motels that they stayed at.

Lyle Menendez says he did not assume a lot of it— till rumors started surfacing against the top of he and his brothers’ first trial.

Lyle Menendez: Other folks within the trade had been speaking about that perhaps one thing had came about … as a result of there was once a intercourse scandal within the staff.

Roy Rossello, left, in 1985 as a member of Menudo, and in 2018.


Rossello, along side different former Menudo contributors, have lengthy accused Edgardo Diaz — the band’s one-time supervisor— of sexual abuse. Diaz has at all times denied the allegations and no fees had been filed in opposition to him. The Los Angeles Police Division is recently investigating a selected incident during which Rossello alleges Diaz raped him at The Biltmore Resort in Los Angeles within the Eighties. However what does this new proof imply on the subject of Lyle and Erik Menendez’s case?

Cliff Gardner: The significance of the brand new proof, you need to glance again and perceive what the state’s place was once at the second one trial. The state’s place was once that the sexual abuse by no means came about. … And the state’s place as to Jose Menendez was once he wasn’t the kind of one that would molest a tender boy. This new proof takes each the ones arguments and undercuts them fully …

Gardner has filed a habeas petition asking that his shoppers’ convictions be vacated.

Cliff Gardner: The lads had been abused as kids. They had been abused their entire existence. … and this can be a manslaughter case, no longer a homicide case. It is simply that easy.

And in the event that they had been convicted of manslaughter, they might have gained a far shorter sentence and been out a very long time in the past. However will a pass judgement on purchase Gardner’s argument?

Jackie Lacey: It’s … very, very imaginable that … Jose Menendez was once a kid molester. … However you aren’t getting to homicide him and his spouse in bloodless blood.


After lawyer Cliff Gardner filed the habeas petition in Would possibly 2023 asking that Lyle and Erik Menendez’s convictions be vacated, it was a ready recreation for a pass judgement on to rule. “48 Hours” requested former D.A. Jackie Lacey what she makes of the brand new proof, beginning with that letter – the one who seems to had been written by means of Erik Menendez to his cousin Andy Cano months prior to the crime.

Jackie Lacey: The fascinating factor in regards to the letter is that … there are most effective two individuals who can authenticate it. … Andy Cano … and Erik Menendez.

Erik Memendez, left, and cousin Andy Cano.

Bob Rand

Andy Cano died in 2003. And Lacey issues out that he by no means discussed the letter when he testified.

Jackie Lacey: You can assume … when Andy was once at the stand two times, he’d have introduced that up. And, oh yeah. He instructed me about it lately. And here is the letter.

Natalie Morales: The timing of that letter, even though, you’ll be able to type of pin down as a result of , it was once the vacations, as a result of he writes about his Christmas plans.

Jackie Lacey: However Natalie, have a look at it in a different way. … It’s essential to come with the ones main points and get that letter in combination … when they had been stuck. … This letter for all we all know can have been written by means of Erik Menendez … in a while after the homicide, given to Cano and Cano will have gotten bloodless toes about it and no longer submitted it.

However Gardner argues the brand new proof is sound. He says the rationale the letter was once no longer introduced up at trial is most probably as a result of Erik Menendez and Andy Cano forgot about it.

Cliff Gardner: Should you have a look at the letter, it is not near to what Jose’s been doing. It is about all types of different issues … it was once simply one of the letters that they wrote to one another. … There in point of fact should not be any doubt in regards to the authenticity of the letter.

And as for Roy Rossello, the previous Menudo band member?

Natalie Morales: Are you able to cut price his claims altogether?

Jackie Lacey: No … I believe what the pass judgement on has to weigh and believe is: is that this newly found out proof that may’ve modified the decision?

And Lacey says she does no longer consider it will have.

Jackie Lacey: They are nonetheless caught with the making plans … the cover-up, the cash that they spent afterwards. … I believe that it’s worthwhile to argue … the sexual abuse happened … Then again, this present day those males are riding right down to San Diego, paying for … the homicide guns, coming again and looking ahead to an opportune time to move in and kill their oldsters, the molestation isn’t happening proper then. … I don’t consider that on the time they murdered them, that they had been at risk at that individual minute of being murdered by means of the ones folks. I believe they hated them. They may have had a excellent reason why to hate them. … However we will’t condone vigilantism. … While you flippantly and logically appeared on the info surrounding the killing, it is a homicide.


However Gardner believes the brand new proof would have made a distinction to the jurors. He says proof of abuse can mitigate against the law— and that is the reason why prosecutors fought so exhausting to stay it out of the second one trial.

Cliff Gardner: Sexual abuse, bodily abuse is related on your frame of mind. And frame of mind is the important thing in figuring out whether or not one thing is homicide or whether or not one thing is manslaughter.

Cliff Gardner: What this proof does, is … it places you again within the scenario that they had been in with the primary trial, that there was once corroboration for the abuse.

And within the first trial, take note, two juries had been divided over whether or not the brothers will have to had been convicted of homicide or manslaughter. Gardner thinks this new proof, mixed with that of the primary trial, laws out homicide fully.

Cliff Gardner: My hope within the case is that the pass judgement on will notice that this new proof is certainly credible and persuasive, and he’s going to vacate the convictions.

If that occurs, it will be as much as the Los Angeles County District Legal professional’s Workplace whether or not to retry the case. In a observation, the District Legal professional’s Workplace mentioned it’s investigating the claims made within the habeas petition. Alan Andersen needs to peer his cousins launched.

Alan Andersen: What I might say to the prosecutor, or the pass judgement on can be, please have a look at all the proof … they’re talking the reality … They should not be in there so long as they have been.

Jose and Kitty Menendez photographed in New Jersey in the1980s.

Robert Rand

However nonetheless, Kitty Menendez’s brother, Milton Andersen, feels simply the other. He says he does not consider the brand new proof is credible.

Milton Andersen: I do not believe it is proof.

And he needs his nephews to stick put.

Milton Andersen: I believe they will have to die of previous age in jail … I beloved my sister, and I safe her in existence, and I will be able to love my sister and offer protection to her in her dying.

Lyle Menendez says he understands his uncle’s ache.

Lyle Menendez: A part of my regret is for the ache I brought about to folks like him.

As they look ahead to a pass judgement on’s resolution, Lyle and Erik Menendez, who live in the similar jail since 2018, are inquisitive about rehabilitation and proceeding their schooling.

Lyle Menendez: I hook up with different prisoners that experience intercourse abuse histories, paintings with them.

Each brothers are married to girls outdoor jail.

Lyle Menendez: I believe it has made an enormous distinction to have love and reinforce like that … I take a look at to not be outlined by means of that one night time. It is type of a lifelong adventure to not be outlined by means of that one night time.

It’s unclear when a ruling shall be made within the case.

Produced by means of Stephanie Slifer and Chuck Stevenson. Alicia Tejada is the coordinating manufacturer. Michelle Fanucci and Anthony Venditti are the improvement manufacturers. Chelsea Narvaez is the affiliate manufacturer. Ken Blum, Marlon Disla and Diana Modica are the editors. Lourdes Aguiar is the senior manufacturer. Nancy Kramer is the manager editor. Judy Tygard is the manager manufacturer.