When you think about infamous killers, especially in more recent years, names like O.J. Simpson and Scott Peterson are two that easily come to mind. But depending upon your age, the Menendez brothers may also sound familiar. Not because their case was so back and forth that there are a lot who believe them innocent, but because of the gruesome deaths of their parents, Jose and Kitty, which they were held responsible for. But how did Jose and Kitty Menendez die?
Their deaths at the hands of their sons, Lyle and Erik, were both gruesome and awful and were followed by months of the brothers reaping the financial benefits of both of their parents being deceased. And yes, the murders were very much premeditated. In the upcoming ABC documentary Truth and Lies: The Menendez Brothers – American Sons, American Murderers on Jan. 5 at 9 p.m. EST, the story will be revisited once again.
According to Time magazine, there was a total of 15 gunshot wounds between both of their parents, the first being to the back of Jose’s head, which killed him instantly. But Kitty tried to get up and flee the scene, which only meant that she would inadvertently get it much worse. In addition to the shots in the knees that both parents got in an attempt to make their murders seem like mod hits, Kitty suffered at the hands of her children the longest.
Kitty was shot in the arm, chest, and face, but that isn't the worst part of it. During the time when Erik and Lyle were shooting her, they actually had to go back outside to their car to refill their guns, then came back into the house and finished the job. Afterward, the brothers allegedly cleaned up, fled the scene, and got tickets to a movie to use as their alibi. What followed was several months of frivolous spending on a restaurant, vacations, Rolexes, and expensive cars, but it all came to a screeching halt when Erik admitted to his psychologist, Dr. L. Jerome, that he and Lyle had killed their parents. It turned out that the doctor regularly recorded their sessions and had shown this particular tape to his girlfriend, who eventually took it to the cops. And soon after, the boys were arrested and their trials began.
Although during the trial, the Menendez brothers claimed sexual abuse from Jose and described in detail their alleged stories of receiving unwanted massages from their overbearing father while being forced to perform sex acts on him, their allegations didn’t hold up as strong as their defense had expected, so the claims were never proven. Both Erik and Lyle were sentenced in 1999 to life sentences in separate prisons without the possibility of parole for either of them.