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Here’s The Story Of The Menendez Brothers Who Murdered Their Parents In Their Beverly Hills Home

On the night of August 20, 1989, a series of shotgun blasts shattered the silence in Beverly Hills. Moments later, the Beverly Hills Police Department received a call from a hysterical Lyle Menendez crying about the murder of his parents at 722 North Elm Drive.

When police arrived at the scene, the lifeless bodies of Jose E. Menendez and Mary Louise “Kitty” Menendez appeared to have sustained numerous gunshot wounds. As police investigated the case, the facts became more and more unfathomable as what appeared to be a random murder was actually something much more sinister and horrifying.

This is the story of the Menendez murders that shook Beverly Hills and the nation to its core.

Jose and Mary Louise “Kitty” Menendez met when they were students at Southern Illinois University in Carbondale, Ill.

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Jose was a Cuban refugee from a well-to-do family. He moved to the U.S. in 1960 when he was 16 years old and lived with family in Pennsylvania, according to the LA Times. By 1963, he had met and married Kitty, and the two moved to New York so Jose could pursue an accounting degree from Queens College.

Their two sons, Lyle and Erik, were born on Jan. 10, 1968, and Nov. 27, 1970, respectively. By 1986, the Menendez family was living in Beverly Hills and led a seemingly perfect life. According to relatives and friends who spoke to the LA Times at the time of the murder, Jose ran the house like a typical Latino household. He was a dominant figure in the home, but there appeared to be no evidence of abuse.

While their sons, Lyle and Erik, managed to avoid suspicion at the beginning of the murder investigation, their extravagant spending after their parents’ death thrust them to the top of the list of suspects.

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Tom Edmonds, who was on the investigative team at the time, told Good Morning America that the brothers were not suspects that first night because they were believed to be victims.

But the brothers spent millions of dollars on cars, watches and a business investment. By March 1990, they were arrested in connection to their parents’ murder.

According to police, Jose and Kitty were brutally gunned down in the Beverly Hills mansion by their two sons, Erik and Lyle.

Lyle was 21 and Erik was 18 when they took two shotguns and killed their parents in the TV room of their Beverly Hills mansion. Jose was shot five times, while Kitty received 10 shots, according to The New York Times. Police arrived after Lyle called to report that someone killed his parents.

After the brothers were arrested, their court case dragged for years, capturing the attention of Americans who watched the proceedings on television and earning the title of “the trial of the century,” though the O.J Simpson case would soon seize that title.

Each brother had their own jury that would deliberate their own fate. The first trial ended in a mistrial.

A major part of the brothers’ defense was a claim of self-defense in response to years of alleged sexual and psychological abuse by their parents, according to the New York Times. Lyle, the oldest brother, claimed that he had been molested by his father at a young age and, as a result, molested Erik. However, the LA Times reported that child abuse did not justify murder in self-defense under California law at the time.

The first trial ended in January 1994, almost five years after Jose and Kitty were murdered. Court documents show that the juries for each case were split down the middle, with neither coming to a decision on their guilt. The televised trial ended with the prosecution vowing to bring the brothers back to court to be retried for the murder of their parents.

The retrial began in 1995, with proceedings going in a new direction this time around.

This time there was only one jury to oversee the trial of both Lyle and Erik, and there were no cameras in the courtroom. The brothers were also not allowed to testify during the retrial so the jury could solely focus on evidence in the case. The attorney for the Menendez brothers reminded the jury that they would need to decide between manslaughter and first-degree murder.

In March of 1996, the brothers were found guilty of first-degree murder and were sentenced to life in prison without the possibility of parole.

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They’re each serving their sentence in different prisons in California, and have already spent more than 20 years behind bars. Both have married while incarcerated.

Lyle married Rebecca Sneed, his second wife since going to prison, in 2003 in a ceremony at the Mule Creek State Penitentiary, while Erik married Tammi Saccoman via speaker phone from Folsom State Prison. California does not allow conjugal visits for persons sentenced in murder cases or with life in prison sentences.

A series on the Menendez murders and trials titled “Law & Order True Crime: The Menendez Brothers” is currently airing on NBC. It stars Edie Falco as Leslie Abramson, Gus Halper as Erik Menendez and Miles Gaston Villanueva as Lyle Menendez.

The series has brought renewed interest in the case and trial. Lyle recently spoke to Today about the show, the case and whether he regrets murdering his parents. The brothers have not seen each other in 17 years.


READ: ‘Law & Order True Crime: The Menendez Brothers’ Trailer Is Here And It’s Intense

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Florida Teen Nicole Martinez Who Was Kidnapped By Ex-Con is Found Safe in Virginia

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Florida Teen Nicole Martinez Who Was Kidnapped By Ex-Con is Found Safe in Virginia

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The public has been informed of a happy ending to a story that could have ended tragically. Authorities have revealed that the Florida teen who was abducted by gunpoint on Sunday morning has been found safely in Virginia.

According to police, 18-year-old Nicole Martinez was found unharmed with her kidnapper, 37-year-old Jaddier Sanchez.

Florida authorities revealed that Sanchez abducted Martinez and her parents by gunpoint from their home in Pembroke Pines shortly after midnight on Sunday. He forced Martinez and her parents into their Dodge Ram pickup truck and drove the family around, forcing them to withdraw cash at various ATM machines.

He drove the car to Palm Beach, at which point he told the parents to “get out”. He then drove off with Nicole still in the car, against her will. Martinez’s parents were found wandering at the side of the road by authorities around 5:30 am on Sunday.

The Virginia authorities were able to locate Sanchez around 1 a.m. Monday morning, driving on the Interstate 95 near Springfield in the stolen vehicle.

According to police reports, he was arrested “without incident”. A preliminary search of the car turned up crack cocaine as well as a loaded firearm.

Per the police, Martinez was not gravely harmed, but she was nonetheless taken to a Virginia hospital for minor injuries. Authorities are not giving any other update on her physical condition.

In Virgina, Sanchez faced a judge for three weapons charges, a drug charge and a traffic offense. In Florida, he faces a myriad of other legal troubles. Florida police have yet to formally charge Sanchez, but the Florida man is facing charges of armed robbery, three counts of kidnapping, and grand theft of a vehicle.

According to Martinez’s parents, the family was acquainted with the kidnapper through their daughter.

Police have since revealed that 37-year-old Sanchez was in a “romantic relationship” with the 18-year-old. No further details have been given.

Since his arrest, reports have come out the at Sanchez has spent most of his adult life in and out of prison.

According to the South Florida Sun Sentinel, since he was 18-years-old, Sanchez has been charged with shoplifting, burglary, larceny, aggravated stalking, trespassing, aggravated battery, armed robbery with a deadly weapon, kidnapping, and domestic violence with intent to kill.

Sanchez had been behind bars since 2006, but was released in late 2020. It didn’t take much time for him to get in trouble with the law again, however.

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New Netflix Docuseries Explores The Summer The Night Stalker Terrorized Los Angeles

Entertainment

New Netflix Docuseries Explores The Summer The Night Stalker Terrorized Los Angeles

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Richard Ramirez, a.k.a. The Night Stalker, spent the summer of 1985 terrorizing Los Angeles. Ramirez murdered 13 people during his reign of terror in Southern California. Netflix’s new docuseries is exploring the crime by interviewing law enforcement and family of the victims.

“Night Stalker: The Hunt For a Serial” killer is now streaming on Netflix.

“Night Stalker: The Hunt For a Serial Killer” is the latest Netflix docuseries diving into the true crimes that have shaped American society. Richard Ramirez is one of the most prolific serial killers of all time and single-handedly terrorized Los Angeles during the summer of 1985.

Ramirez fundamentally changed Los Angeles and the people who live there. The serial killer was an opportunistic killer. He would break into homes using unlocked doors and opened windows. Once inside, he would rape, murder, rob, and assault the people inside the home.

The documentary series explores just how Ramirez was able to keep law enforcement at bay for so long. The killer did not have a standard modus operandi. His victims ran the gamut of gender, age, and race. There was no indicator as to who could be next. He also rarely used the same weapon when killing his victims. Some people were stabbed to death while others were strangled and others still were bludgeoned.

While not the first telling of Ramirez’s story, it is the most terrifying account to date.

“Victims ranged in age from 6 to 82,” director Tiller Russell told PEOPLE. “Men, women, and children. The murder weapons were wildly different. There were guns, knives, hammers, and tire irons. There was this sort of feeling that whoever you were, that anybody could be a victim and anybody could be next.”

Family members of the various victims speak in the documentary series about learning of the horror committed to them. People remember grandparents and neighbors killed by Ramirez. All the while, police followed every lead to make sure they left no stone unturned.

“Night Stalker: The Hunt For a Serial Killer” is now streaming on Netflix.

READ: Here’s How An East LA Neighborhood Brought Down One Of America’s Most Notorious Serial Killers

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