The Menendez Brothers Sure Liked To Spend Money

After Lyle and Erik Menéndez murdered their parents in August of 1989, they were not initially considered as suspects. They had constructed an alibi (attending a movie and later going out with friends) and the police felt their grief at discovering their parents' bodies was so convincing they didn't even test the brothers' hands for gunshot residue. However, while at first they appeared to be reacting like any bereaved sons would, soon enough their ostentatious spending began to raise suspicions. But what did the Menéndez brothers buy after their parents' deaths?

The price tag of their post-murder spending spree was estimated to be around $500K to $700K – and that's back in early '90s. That would be in the ballpark of $900K to $1 million today, and they were throwing around all of this cash fairly soon after the deaths of their parents. They both moved into luxurious condos in Marina Del Rey and purchased expensive cars (a Porsche for Lyle and a Jeep Wrangler for Erik), as well as Rolexes and clothes. Lyle purchased a buffalo wings restaurant near Princeton, which he had briefly attended. Erik poured money into a professional tennis career he was trying to get off the ground: a coach that cost $50K a year, as well as the money it cost to travel to matches abroad. He also invested $40K in a rock concert at the Palladium.

Lyle and Erik would have inherited millions after their parents' deaths (and did collect a $650K insurance payout), which was put forth by the prosecution as the motive for the crime. The brothers denied that; they claimed that they had been abused by both parents sexually, physically, and verbally for years and that they feared for their lives. The murders, in which they shot their parents fifteen times total, were, in their claims, an act of self-defense. However, the claims were never able to be proven and their excessive spending made it difficult for some to believe that money had no part of things.

Their spending also extended to less flashy purchases than clothes and cars. They had to pay the mortgages on two houses (the one in Beverly Hills where the murders were committed, and one in Calabasas where their grandmother lived) and had taxes to take care of, not to mention a great deal of debt from the trials. Their legal fees ended up costing over a million dollars. An LA Times article from 1994 claimed that, "A variety of other fees and expenses brings the total spent [of the estate] to $10,771,199."


By the time Lyle and Erik's trials were over and they were convicted, there was essentially no money left. So, basically, one way or another, they had spent it all.