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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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Street Vendor By The Name Of Lorenzo Pérez Murdered Execution Style — “The person who killed my dad took away a part of me”

Things That Matter

Street Vendor By The Name Of Lorenzo Pérez Murdered Execution Style — “The person who killed my dad took away a part of me”

Like many street vendors, 45-year-old Lorenzo Pérez sold food to support his family.

Married and the father of four children ages 15, 13, 9, and 1, Perez is described by friends and family as being well known amongst neighborhood residents. He was often seen working alongside his daughter who helped him on occasion. Now, the community and family who knew Perez well are in mourning, after he was shot in broad daylight while doing his job.

Perez died after he being shot in the head in southeast Fresno on Sunday afternoon.

Fresno Police were called to the scene of a possible robbery at Alta and Pierce Avenues, near Kings Canyon and Willow around 4:30 p.m. on Sunday. On the way to the scene, the police officers learned that a street vendor had been shot once in the head.

According to reports, Perez was rushed to Community Regional Medical Center where he ultimately died.

Witnesses of the murder told officers that a man had beckoned Perez to come over to him in a way that suggested he was going to purchase something from him.

According to police reports, when Perez walked up to the suspect, the man pulled out a gun and shot the vendor. He then stole a few items, which have not been identified, and flew the scene. Witnesses told police officers that they’d seen the man loitering around the area before the shooting.

A local news station reported that “Officers are now looking into surveillance footage from the area to try and identify the shooter… Through a statement, Fresno City Council President Luis Chavez announced that he will be offering a $5000 reward for information leading to the shooter’s arrest.”

“The coward that murdered our food vendor, turn yourself in and face the consequences. You’ve brought tremendous pain to a family and our city,” Chavez exclaimed in the statement.

To help the Perez family, Councilmember Esmeralda Soria set up a GoFundMe account which has already raised $141,780 out of its $125,000 goal.

Perez’s son, Isai, described his father in a recent interview as a “great man.”

“My father was a great man. He was a great father, a great husband, a great friend,” he said in an interview. “He spread love and kindness. He was about fairness, he wanted to share his happiness. He meant no harm. He didn’t deserve to go like this. The person who killed my dad took away a part of me. My dad went through everything for us. He took away my father. He took away the opportunity of me being with him in his last moments and it’s heartbreaking. I hope they find the murderer soon.”

If you have any information on the shooting please call Valley Crime Stoppers at (559) 498-STOP.

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Retired Detective Rafael Tovar Recalls Working John Wayne Gacy Case In New Peacock Docuseries

Entertainment

Retired Detective Rafael Tovar Recalls Working John Wayne Gacy Case In New Peacock Docuseries

John Wayne Gacy shocked the world with is violent and terrifying crimes. The serial killer operated in the Chicago suburbs and killed at least 33 people. “John Wayne Gacy: Devil in Disguise” digs deep into the story that true crime enthusiasts think they know.

Peacock is releasing a new true-crime docuseries “John Wayne Gacy: Devil in Disguise.”

NBC News Studios is bringing a new true-crime docuseries to the streaming world with “John Wayne Gacy: Devil in Disguise.” The documentary promises to take even those who know the story of John Wayne Gacy through parts of the case and serial killer that few know.

The docuseries relies on interviews from law enforcement, neighbors, victims, and family members affected by the murders. Retired Detective Rafael Tovar and Executive Producer Alexa Danner spoke with mitú about working the the case and creating the docuseries.

Tovar was the first Spanish-speaking police officer in the Chicago suburbs in 1970. Eight years later, Tovar was helping to unravel the horrific murders committed by John Wayne Gacy.

“It was a phase into the case because when we first started, we were working on a missing person report for one person, never figuring that it was going to turn out to be what it turned out to be,” Tovar recalls about the case. “It was something new every day until we started digging that’s when everything broke loose, and it became the case of a lifetime for a police officer.”

The former Des Plaines detective remembers the moment that case was going to be much more than anticipated. Around December 21, when the officers executed a second warrant on John Wayne Gacy’s suburban home, Tovar and other authorities made gruesome discoveries. Tovar remembers digging under the house with an evidence technician when they discover three left femurs. The bones were too decayed to belong to the last victim, Robert Piest.

“The John Wayne Gacy story has certainly been told multiple times over the year and I think that there is a sense that there’s a narrative out there that is known and accepted,” Alexa Danner, an executive producer on the docuseries says. “What we really found as we began to produce this documentary was that there are a lot of questions that remain about the case. There’s a lot of mystery still surrounding it.”

Danner promises that even those who think they know the John Wayne Gacy story well will learn new things about the crimes. “John Wayne Gacy: Devil in Disguise” talks to people never interviewed before and takes a hard look at the case like never before.

The investigation into John Wayne Gacy changed law enforcement practices drastically. Procedures were adjusted to better assist with missing persons reports, especially children. Tovar also shared that John Wayne Gacy himself claimed to have had other victims.

“I was transferring him from our police lockup to the county lockup. Just in conversation, I asked him, ‘John. There are a lot of numbers going around. How many people did you kill?’ and he said, ‘Well, I’ve said this, I’ve said that, but 45 sounds like a good number.’ So I asked him, ‘Well, where are they?’ He said, ‘No. That’s your job to find out,’” Tovar recalls about that conversation. “He was the type of guy that knew that you knew something or that you were going to find out, he’d be totally honest with you. If he didn’t think that you were going to find out, he liked to play mind games with you. I believe him. Everything else he told me was true, so I believe that there are more out there.”

The show will take people through Gacy’s life before the violent attacks he became known for after his arrest. It will show people the life he had in Iowa that might have been a warning sign of things to come. The docuseries explores lingering questions about his mother’s ignorance about her son’s dealings and questions about the real body count.

Danner recalls a psychiatric report done on Gacy after his arrest that should have given everyone pause.

“It essentially said that this man would not stop behaving like this. There’s no known way to stop his behavior or change it,” Danner says. “To look back ten years before he’s arrested for all of these killing and know that he was already being assessed that way or diagnosed that way is really troubling and horrible.”

“John Wayne Gacy: Devil in Disguise” will be available for streaming March 25 on Peacock.

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

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