Erik and Lyle Menendez, the two brothers serving life sentences for the 1989 murders of their parents, Jose and Kitty Menendez, had been at the same prison for two months before they came face to face with one another for the first time since September 10, 1996. Robert Rand, the journalist who has followed the Menendez brothers since 1989, told ABC News that the brothers had hoped to be housed in the same prison after they were convicted, but they were immediately separated. Erik and Lyle have spent the last 22 years writing letters to one another and playing chess through the mail. On April 4, 2018, the brothers reunited at R.J. Donovan Correctional Facility in San Diego, CA, and it was an emotional reunion, according to a family member.
Upon seeing one another, the brothers broke down into tears and hugged one another silently for a few minutes. Guards then allowed them to spend an hour together. And now that Erik and Lyle are housed at the same facility, that won’t be the only time they can communicate. The brothers, who were convicted in 1996 of first-degree murder and sentenced to two consecutive life terms without the possibility of parole, can now see one another every day while in the exercise yard and at meals.
Lyle Menendez told ABC News in January of 2017 that he accepted that he killed his parents and that no amount of tears would change that. The older brother of Erik, Lyle continued to maintain that he and his brother were sexually abused by their father and that their mother did nothing to help them. He said he and Erik believed their father would have killed them to keep the family secret. Though the alleged abuse was allowed as evidence in the first trial in 1994 which ended in a mistrial, the judge did not allow the defense’s evidence or the supporting testimony of several family members to be entered at the second trial in 1995. That trial ended in the brothers’ conviction for first-degree murder. Kitty Menendez’s brother, Brian Anderson, denied that any abuse had taken place, saying there was no evidence. He believed the brothers murdered their parents for money.
Lyle also told ABC News that he and Erik have “almost never talked about the murders” because “it’s just too overwhelming,” but he said he is at peace with his childhood and that he doesn’t live for the future. He lives for each day.