If your TikTok feed is full of true crime stories and cases that may not have seen the light of day in decades, then you might have noticed a renewed interest in the Menendez brothers. In case you need a refresher, in 1996, Lyle and Erik Menendez were convicted of two counts of first-degree murder, and of conspiracy to commit murder, in the deaths of their parents.
Now, the brothers are serving out their life sentences in prison. The case — which included accusations of child abuse from the men, who were 21 and 18 at the times of the murders — was one that rocked the media. These were young men from a well-to-do family and they appeared to be confident wealthy boys in court. Then, the accusations against their parents began, and the story got more complicated.
Who were the Menendez brothers' parents?
José Menendez met Mary "Kitty" Menendez while they were in college. And, for all intents and purposes, they had a fairly normal romance. They were married and eventually had two children together. But, according to rumors, José was arrogant, hard to deal with, and had several mistresses during the time he was married to Kitty.
Because of that, their marriage suffered, but they were still together at the time of their deaths, when Lyle and Erik Menendez entered the family's home and shot both of them in the living room. The brothers alleged in court that the crimes were brought on after years of sexual and emotional abuse from their father.
There is a “Free the Menendez Brothers” movement on TikTok and I just CANNOT. I’m laughing too hard.— Nate. (@nathanwinston18) April 2, 2021
The Menendez brothers' dad had a lucrative job.
Despite being a reputed difficult man and abusive husband and father, José Menendez had built a cushy life for himself and his family. He worked as an executive for RCA Records at one point, and later got a job with the film company LIVE Entertainment. It's unclear what Lyle and Erik Menendez received as an inheritance from their parents, if anything at all, but they were awarded a $650,000 insurance policy, which they spent in full.
What was the Menendez brothers' dad accused of doing to them?
While the brothers have denied that they killed their parents in some kind of revenge plot, they have also been open about the alleged molestation they faced at the hands of their father for years. Lyle Menendez claimed he had been molested by their dad from the age of six to eight.
Erik Menendez, on the other hand, claimed to have been forced to perform oral sex on their father until he was 18, and also alleged that their father raped him once.
The claims from the brothers elicited sympathy from those who followed the case at the time. And, now, internet and armchair sleuths continue to dissect the murders and the brothers' possible motives for killing both of their parents.
Whether these wannabe true crime experts' opinions will lead to any changes in the brothers' convictions remains to be seen, but is highly unlikely.