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Are the Menendez Brothers Still in Prison?

June 24, 2020
4 min read

Joseph Lyle Menendez and Erik Galen Menendez attained unprecedented degrees of notoriety for killing their parents, José Menéndez, the LIVE Entertainment executive, and his wife Mary or ‘Kitty.’ The murders took place on August 20th, 1989. Kitty and Jose, who were extremely wealthy, were at their mansion at 722 North Elm Drive in Beverly Hills. Initially, there were rumors that the mob was involved in the murders. The brothers were finally arrested in 1990 because a guilt-ridden Erik had confessed to a therapist.

Long before they were suspects, the brothers went on a spree, spending nearly $700,000 on cars, clothes, and expensive watches. Their behavior didn’t seem appropriate for grieving children. When they were indicted in 1992 and finally went on trial in 1993, the brothers stated they killed their parents out of self-defense and not greed. A story of physical and sexual abuse came to light, which led to a second trial. Here, the brothers were sentenced to life in prison in 1996. So, where are the Menendez brothers now?

Are the Menendez Brothers Still in Jail? Where are they Now?

Picture Courtesy: Nick Ut/AP Photo

Yes, the Menendez brothers are still in jail since they are serving life sentences. The last time the Menendez brothers saw each other was on September 10, 1996. Although they were across from each other in a prison yard, they couldn’t talk to one another. They’d hoped to be in the same prison but were taken to separate facilities, which marked the start of 20 years of separation behind bars.

Although they couldn’t talk on the phone the brothers sent letters and played chess by sending moves to each other. While behind bars, both brothers also got married. Erik married Tammi Saccoman, his prison pen pal. Tammi’s husband had died by suicide and although inmates serving life sentences are not allowed conjugal visits by the state of California, Erik and Tammi’s romance blossomed. They have been married for nearly 20 years now.

Lyle has been married twice. He tied the knot with Anna Erickson, a model, in 1996, and then married Rebecca Snead in 2003, despite not being allowed conjugal visits. On April 4, 2018, Erik and Lyle finally reunited. The latter was initially at the Mule Creek State Prison in Northern California before being moved to the Richard J. Donovan Correctional Facility, where Erik was being held. However, even then, the brothers were in different housing units until April 2018. They shared a teary reunion.

While at Mule, Lyle ran a support group for inmates who have suffered sexual abuse. Erik works with terminally ill and physically challenged inmates. Currently, both brothers are serving life sentences without the possibility of parole at the RJ Donovan Correctional Facility. Erik is 49 years old, and you can check out his prison record here. Lyle is 52 years old currently. Here’s his prison record.

Although the brothers maintain that they’ve been abused by their parents, they have expressed deep regret over their actions. Lyle told ABC News “If I could take my consciousness now and go back, I would have gone to the police and taken my chances in exposing what was happening.” Erik, who is more press-shy than Lyle, has expressed similar sentiments to People, saying “The way I reacted was so destructive to all. It was the most awful devastation. I killed the two people I loved the most.”

Despite all the contrition, somewhere inside Erik does believe that their prison sentences are a bit harsh. He’s said that although his actions are not justifiable, anyone else in his shoes might have done the same thing. Sentiments aside, the brothers have moved on with their lives behind prison and are trying to do good. They are also united finally, which is wonderful for them. In fact, a 2016 California law has given grounds to the brothers to appeal their case again.

The law states that those who have been convicted after being forbidden from offering evidence of sexual abuse can appeal. The Menendez brothers’ second trial prevented them from using sexual abuse allegations, giving them new grounds for an appeal. It remains to be seen if the brothers do take the matter to court once again. [Feature Image Courtesy: Kevork Djansezian /AP Shutterstock]

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