A Menendez brother and cousin are speaking out as more secrets come out about the infamous brothers. Their cousin Diane Molen, 57, told Radar Online on Jan. 9 that she believes the Menendez brothers should both go free because she believes that their dad abused them. She also shared the same sentiments in another interview with ABC News.
Erik and Lyle Menendez murdered both their mother and father, Jose and Kitty, on Aug. 20, 1989. They shot their father five times and shot their mother nine times while they sat on their living room couch. They made sure to make the final rounds hit their parents’ kneecaps to make it look as if it a mob who murdered them. Later, the Menendez brothers claimed that the shooting was an act of self-defense because they were abused by their dad.
“I believe at the time they thought it was either them or their parents,” their cousin told Radar Online earlier this month.
She referred to their father as “a god.” The Menendez brothers were always looking for his approval because he was something to look up to. Molen added that if the Menendez brothers were to go back to trial, she would 100 percent defend on their behalf. Both brothers defended their actions in the early ’90s by claiming that they were molested for years. The first trials ended with deadlocked juries.
Their second round of trials ended on March 20, 1996, when the brothers were found guilty of first-degree murder and were both sentenced to life in prison without parole. In that second trial, judge Stanley Weisberg barred any evidence that Kitty and Jose abused their sons.
“The judge in the second trial gutted the defense,” the Menendez brothers’ lawyer, Chris Pixley, told Radar Online.
But, now a new legal loophole that allows sexual abuse as a murder defense could see both of the brothers free, or at least grant them a new trial, especially if witnesses support their claims. The two brothers have spent over 20 years in separate prisons for the double homicide of their parents. Now, 27 years later, Lyle Menendez, 48, spoke to ABC News for a two-hour special that aired on Thursday, Jan. 5.
“I am the kid that did kill his parents, and no rivers of tears has changed that,” he stated.
He has since “accepted” his prison sentence and says that their home life growing up was filled with sexual abuse from their dad as their mom looked away. Erik said that their home “prepared me surprisingly well for the chaos of prison life.”
Both brothers have since gotten married behind bars. Lyle first married model Anna Eriksson in 1996, but she later divorced him after she caught him writing letters to two other women behind her back. He then married Rebecca Sneed in 2003, who later became a defense attorney. Erik, who refused to speak to ABC News, married Tammi Saccoman at Folsom State Prison in 1999 after she noticed him on TV during his trial.
The Menendez brothers have kept their own bond “really strong” by writing letters back and forth to each other.
“It’s so painful and complicated and confusing,” he said.
“The bond [becomes] very great and intense.”
Long before the murders, Erik Menendez wrote a screenplay called Friends, which was about a young rich man who killed his parents in an attempt to inherit their money. Erik’s friend and classmate at Calabasas High School, Craig Cignarelli, spoke to ABC News about the screenplay, which they wrote together.
“I remember talking about the opening scene, in just the idea of, ‘We need to establish a crime. We need to have the protagonist gain an inheritance so he can actually fulfill his dream of creating this hunting ground for humans,'” Cignarelli said.
While the judge did not allow Erik’s Friends screenplay to be used as evidence on trial, Cignarelli testified for prosecution at both trials about Erik’s alleged confession about their father.
“Honestly, when the second jury came back with a guilty verdict, there was a part of me which just said, ‘I’m done. It’s finally over.’ And it felt like there was this sense of relief, followed by this really strange feeling of sadness,” Cignarelli said.
“Like, wow, it’s finally closed, and I actually have just lost my best friend for life. He’s going to be sitting in a jail cell for the next 50 years.”
[Featured image by Nick Ut/AP Images]