Truth and Lies: The Menendez Brothers: Watch the first trailer for ABC's documentary
As the final summer of the 1980s was coming to its end, two affluent brothers made headlines around the world after committing a grisly act of parricide that gripped an entire nation, morphing them both into tabloid and pop culture fodder and landing them behind bars, each with life sentences and zero possibility for freedom.
Those who’re able to recall the early 1990s will surely remember the names Erik and Lyle Menéndez. In a matter of weeks, the tale of the Beverly Hills party boys who murdered their wealthy parents will be retold during an all-new, 120-minute documentary special entitled Truth and Lies: The Menéndez Brothers – American Sons, American Murderers.
ABC promises that the special “uncovers the hidden clues of the Menéndez family’s descent into hell including never-before-seen home movies and photos from the family vault and the testimony from members of the Menéndez inner circle.”
Additionally, the program will boast interviews with “the brothers’ best friends and neighbors, the lead detectives, lawyers and jurors on the case,” according to a press release. Also, several family members “profile the intimate details of the Menendez family, including Erik’s secret life.” The special even features a jailhouse phone interview with Lyle Menéndez.
Lyle and Erik — who were 21 and 18, respectively, at the time of their crimes — entered the den of the family’s Spanish-style mansion the night of Aug. 20, 1989, snuck up on their sleeping parents, and — armed with a 12-gauge shotgun — shot their film executive father, Jose Menéndez, point-blank in the back of the head. Her husband’s murder woke the boys’ mother, Mary “Kitty” Menéndez, who fled for a nearby hallway, only to be cut down when a slug caught one of her legs.
As they stood over their mother, who begged for her life from a pool of her own blood, the Menéndez brothers killed her, shooting her several times in the chest, arms, and face, leaving her unidentifiable.
The shocking murders — and Court TV’s ensuing coverage of the killer sons’ trial — kept true crime fanatics well sated. It was perhaps America’s most notorious court case until O.J. Simpson’s 1995 murder trial overshadowed it.
The murders were initially and inaccurately labeled a mafia hit, but investigators grew suspicious of the brothers, who lavishly spent their parents’ money in the weeks after the double-murder. After confessions to both an ex-girlfriend and a psychologist, Lyle and Eric were arrested and charged with killing their parents.
At trial, the Menéndez brothers alleged that they suffered years of abuse at the hands of their allegedly drug- and alcohol-imbibing parents. Both defendants further claimed their father was a pedophile who’d allegedly sexually assaulted them for years.
But after two deadlocked juries were unable to return a verdict, the brothers faced trial yet again, and were convicted in the cold-blooded killings of their parents.
Truth and Lies: The Menéndez Brothers — American Sons, American Murderers airs Thursday, Jan. 5 on ABC.