Lyle Menendez, who shotgunned parents to death with brother, plans for life after prison amid new appeal


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A California man who teamed up with his brother to massacre their parents in a Los Angeles mansion in 1989 made rare public remarks Sunday when he called into a true crime conference from prison and revealed he has aspirations for freedom despite a sentence of life without parole.

Joseph Mendendez, who goes by his middle name Lyle, and his brother Erik burst into their parents’ Beverly Hills home in 1989 with shotguns.

They unloaded on their parents, Jose and Mary “Kitty” Menendez. They fired so many shells that one of them had to get another from his car before he came back to deliver a fatal shot to their mother.

CONVICTIONS IN MENENDEZ FAMILY MURDERS IN JEOPARDY AFTER NEW LETTER, ABUSE CLAIM BOLSTER BROTHERS’ DEFENSE

Menendez family photo from the 1980s

An undated photo of the Menendez family as it appears on screen during a panel at CrimeCon 2024 in Nashville, Tennessee, on Sunday, June 2. The brothers Lyle and Erik were convicted of fatally shooting both of their parents in 1989. (Michael Ruiz/Fox News Digital)

The brothers claimed they were afraid their father would kill them after they warned him they would expose him for sexual and physical abuse. They were both convicted and ordered to serve life in prison without the possibility of parole, but are now seeking reduced sentences under a new California law.

The elder Menendez brother called in and said he’s been studying for a master’s degree and working on how he might reintegrate with society during an interview with his lawyer Mark Geragos at CrimeCon 2024 in Nashville.

PARENT-KILLING MENENDEZ BROTHERS REUNITED IN CALIFORNIA PRISON AFTER ‘CRUEL AND HEARTLESS’ SEPARATION

Lyle and Erik Menendez appear in mugshots taken in 2023

Lyle, left, and Erikare pictured in mugshots from 2023. After years apart, they were moved into the same housing unit at Richard J. Donovan Correctional Facility in San Diego in 2018, according to the New York Daily News. (California Department of Corrections)

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More than two dozen family members have signed a letter that will ask a judge to resentence them, Menendez said, as before he shared some of his aspirations for life after prison.

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“Well, I’m hoping that… I’ve had these discussions with corrections officials who are in charge of letting formerly incarcerated people return to the prisons to do good work and they are definitely open to and would like me to continue to work on this idea of transforming prison yards so that it creates living environments and communities that produce better neighbors,” he said on speakerphone in a collect call to interviewer Laura Ingle during a panel at CrimeCon 2024 in Nashville. 

Lyle and Erik Menendez wearing blue prison jumpsuits at their trial in the early 1990s

An archive photo shows Lyle and Erik Menendez wearing prison jumpsuits during their murder trial in Los Angeles. (Ted Soqui/Sygma via Getty Images)

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Then an automated voice chimed in, warning that the call was being recorded.

“So I hope to do that. And then I probably will, as a survivor of childhood sexual abuse, I’ve had talks with Rosie O’Donnell about creating a foundation where we would go and try to speak to the forums in those groups, and help in that space,” Menendez added. “It’s an area that I spend a lot of my time in.”

He said he’s currently working behind bars to form therapy groups with other inmates.

“As you’re probably aware, a lot of the prisoners had difficult childhoods and come from difficult circumstances, and so I’ve formed groups where they can more confidently talk about that,” he said. “So, I’ll probably continue those two things. That would be exciting.”

This 1992 file photo shows the Mendendez brothers and one of their lawyers

This 1992 file photo shows double murder defendants Erik, right, and Lyle Menendez during a court appearance in Los Angeles. The Menendez brothers were later found guilty of first-degree murder and sentenced to life without parole. (Mike Nelson/AFP via Getty Images)

Menendez also revealed he is about to receive a master’s degree in urban planning and hopes to use it to reenter society if he succeeds in receiving a sentence reduction.

Lastly, he thanked people who have sent letters of support to him and his brother over the three decades they’ve been incarcerated.

“I would just express gratitude to so many, an enormous number of people around the world and around the country who have written my brother and I or visited the Facebook created for victims to express themselves on through my family’s help and just express gratitude for their support, their belief that we should be given a second chance.”

The brothers’ attorneys have argued they should have been convicted of manslaughter, not murder. If they had been, they likely would already have been released from prison.

The brothers are not the only people who accused their father of abuse.

Roy Rossello, a former member of the boy band Menudo, alleged last year that Jose Menendez, then an executive at RCA records, molested him in the early 1980s.

Fox News’ Mitch Picasso and Christina Coulter contributed to this report.





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