On August 20, 1989, Lyle and Erik Menendez shot their parents in their bedroom, firing away at Mom and Dad with shotguns they purchased just days prior to the killings.
In court, they admitted to the crime and claimed that their father had abused them for years, arguing for self-defense.
The siblings were convicted and are serving consecutive life terms in prison.
On Thursday night, however, ABC aired a two-hour special titled "Truth And Lies: The Menendez Brothers."
It featured an interview with Lyle (from Mule Creek State Prison in Ione, California) and the following revelations about the brothers; their grisly crime; and what life has been like for them ever since.
Here is what we learned:
Prior to the Murders...
Lyle and Erik committed many home robberies when they lived in Calabasas. According to ex-family frind Karen Ferrell, who was interview for the special, the teenagers "were bored.… Robbing houses was a challenge.… They didn’t think they’d be caught."
After the Murder...
A jury believed that the brothers showed no remorse for the actions, one of the main reasons they were convicted. Five weeks after the murder, Erik and Lyle received $400,000 in life insurance money and used it to go on a spending spree. ABC journalist Terry Morgan recalled: They were having a grand ole time spending the money of a dead man." They purchased Rolexes and a Porsche, among other items.
Lyle Felt Pressure from His Dad
Jose Menendez was a successful businessman, and his influence and attitude affected his kids: "My father was like a force of nature and you look up to that," Lyle told ABC. "You are expected to be competitive to a fault. He began to sort of try to groom me to be hypercompetitive and succeed."
He's Not in Denial About What Happened, But...
"I'm a more fully formed adult now. Of course looking back it's shocking to think about that that happened. That I could have been involved in taking anyone's life and my parents' life... It seems unimaginable because it seems so far removed from who I am and who I was."
How Was This an Act of Self-Defense?
Lyle and Erik shot their defenseless parents in their bedroom, yet said in court they acted in self-defense. We learned in the documentary that Lyle said back at the time: "I thought they were going ahead with their plan to kill us." (The jury did not believe this line of defense, of course.)
What is the Relationship Between the Brothers Now?
They have not seen each other since 1996. They keep in touch via letters and even play chess, one move at a time, through the mail.
Wait! There's more Lyle Menendez: 9 Things We Learned About the Parent Killer! Just click "Next" below: