What happened to the Menendez brothers? Revisiting a Conviction Amidst New Evidence

In a case that captivated the nation, the Menendez brothers, Erik and Lyle, who were convicted for the shocking incident in 1989, are seeking to overturn their convictions.

The case, which gripped the nation’s attention decades ago, has resurfaced with what the brothers’ attorneys claim to be new, crucial evidence.

Erik’s Disturbing Letter Revealed

A pivotal piece of the defense’s new evidence is a letter written by Erik Menendez to his cousin, Andy Cano, dated December 1988.

The letter vividly details ongoing abuse by his father, stating, “It’s (sic) still happening, Andy, but it’s worse for me now.”

Erik expresses fear, writing, “Every night I stay up thinking he might come in… Am I a serious whimpus? I don’t know if I’ll make it through this.”

What happened to the Menendez brothers
Menendez brothers

This letter, discovered by Marta Cano, Jose Menendez’s younger sister, was shared with journalist Robert Rand in 2018 and later with Erik’s former appellate counsel, Cliff Gardner.

Surprisingly, this critical piece of correspondence was never presented in either of the brothers’ trials.

What happened to the Menendez brothers?

Erik and Lyle Menendez were convicted for the 1989 murders of their parents, Jose and Kitty Menendez. They are now seeking to overturn their convictions based on new evidence of alleged abuse.

During their initial trials, the Menendez brothers admitted to the murders but contended they acted in self-defense. They painted a picture of enduring years of abuse at the hands of their father, Jose Menendez.

However, in 1996, after a jury deadlock in their first trial, both brothers were retried and found guilty.

Allegations from a Menudo Band Member

Adding another layer to the narrative is Roy Rossello, a former member of the 1980s Latin boy band, Menudo.

Rossello alleges that Jose Menendez, an executive at RCA Records, sexually assaulted him when he was just 13 or 14 years old.

Rossello’s claims were made public in a documentary interview where he detailed the abuse and later in a sworn declaration submitted as part of the Menendez brothers’ habeas petition.

Reassessing Jose Menendez’s Character

The revelations from both Erik’s letter and Rossello’s allegations challenge the prosecution’s portrayal of Jose Menendez.

The attorneys argue that this new evidence paints a starkly different picture of the elder Menendez, countering the narrative that he was not a violent individual or capable of abusing children.

The court document emphasizes, “The new evidence not only shows that Jose Menendez was very much a violent and brutal man who would sexually abuse children but strongly suggests that he was abusing Erik Menendez as late as December 1988.”

Legal Implications and Next Steps

With this new evidence at hand, the attorneys are pressing the court for action. They are urging the court either to vacate the convictions and sentences of the Menendez brothers or to allow further discovery and an evidentiary hearing.

The goal is to present and substantiate the evidence that could potentially alter the course of this decades-old case.

The Menendez brothers’ quest to overturn their convictions underscores the evolving nature of legal battles and the critical role that new evidence can play.

As the legal proceedings unfold, the case serves as a reminder of the complexities inherent in seeking justice, especially when faced with allegations that challenge long-standing narratives.

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