Dick Wolf will soon be adding to his repertoire a sixth crime series, Law & Order True Crime: The Menendez Brothers. The series, which depicts the movements of a Erik and Lyle that fateful evening, is expected to air on Sep 26, on NBC.
The infamous case which will be covered by Wolf, is based on the two California-native brothers. The duo killed their parents in 1989 for wealth.
Backgrounds of the Erik and Lyle Menendez
The Menendez Brothers, Erik and Lyle, were raised in the prestigious area of Princeton, New Jersey. They played competitive soccer and tennis in the prestigious Princeton Day School they attended.
They later relocated to Beverly Hills, CA. Erik and Lyle were good-looking and gifted troublemakers. At one point they stole over $100,000 in cash and jewels from two neighboring houses.
Erik once wrote a screenplay with Craig Cignarelli, his close friend from a wealthy family. The screenplay was called Friends.
Friends talked about one son who murders his own parents to get his inheritance. Lyle failed grades and was eventually suspended from the Princeton school for plagiarism.
Jose Menendez and Mary Louise “Kitty” Andersen-Menendez were the parents to Lyle and Erik. Jose was reported to be a bully to his wife to the extent that Kitty almost committed suicide.
How the Menendez Brothers Killed Their Parents
On August 20, 1989, evening time, Erik and Lyle, then 18 and 21, respectively, went to watch a James Bond movie. License to Kill was the name of the flick.
Two days before, the boys had purchased two shotguns. They used the guns to kill their parents when they got home.
Jose and Kitty were shot several times while watching TV in their house. The brothers then called 911, saying:
“Somebody killed my parents.”
The boys faked their innocence while talking to the dispatcher. They said while sobbing that they weren’t around at the time of the homicide.
Erik and Lyle tried to blame the mob for the Menendez murders. But, later the crime scene indicated otherwise. It turned out that the murders were intimate and emotionally executed.
Details of the Beverly Hills Murders
Jose was shot six times. Kitty was shot in the arm, hip, leg chest, with the final one, hitting around her face. Retired detective Dan said that he hadn’t seen such a brutal killing in his entire career.
Erik and Lyle had played the “grieving sons” roles in high school dramas. They, therefore, knew how to fake emotions. So they managed to convince police that they were innocent.
Weeks after the murder, the brothers became spend-a-holics. They spent almost $700,000 on:
- Rolex watches
- Neighboring high-end condos
In October 1989, almost 2-months after the homicide, Erik confessed to Dr. L. Jerome Oziel, his psychologist, of the murder. Lyle almost kills Oziel, after realizing he knew their secret.
Oziel’s wife, alerted authorities, five months later, citing a taped conversations between the brothers and Oziel. Lyle was arrested on March 8, 1990, prompting Erik to turn himself in.
The case hearing commenced in July 1993. The hearing attracted public attention, with the brothers hiring prominent lawyers.
By Jan.1994, the judge declared the case as a mistrial. In 1995, the brothers we retried. Erik then 26, and Lyle, 28, were found guilty in 1996 and given life without parole sentences.
Lyle is now serving his sentence in Mule Creek State Prison, California. He recently regretted having killed his parents.
He has married twice, despite California policy prohibiting conjugal rights for those given life sentences.
Erik is also serving his sentence at San Diego’s Richard J. Donovan Correctional Facility. He married a prison pen pal.
Video: Law & Order True Crime: The Menendez Murders – Law & Order’s Rich Tradition (Promo)
The video below is the official promo for Law & Order True Crime: The Menendez Murders, another Dick Wolf production.