August 20, 1989: This notorious case needs no citations. Lyle and Erik Menéndez murder their parents at the family home in Beverly Hills. Their father Jose was a Cuban immigrant who had lived the American dream, becoming extremely wealthy. There is no doubt that he was a hard taskmaster, that he pressurised his sons to succeed, and that he was an authoritarian, but he and his wife, the brothers’ mother, were murdered purely for money.
The brothers were not arrested until seven months after the crime, and their trial did not begin until 1993, by which time, realising the evidence against them was overwhelming, they decided to admit their guilt but claim self-defense. For real. When they took the stand they each demonised both their parents, claiming they had been subjected to years of sexual abuse when they were young in addition to physical and psychological abuse.
Their first trial resulted in a hung jury - two hung juries actually, because although they were tried together, there was a jury for each defendant (something I’ve never heard of before). There was an immediate retrial resulting in their convictions; they were both sentenced to life without parole. As might be expected, they launched a series of appeals, but spoilt rich kids like this have no appeal to anyone; what may well be their last appeal was dismissed in September 2005. Obviously this can only be filed under PRETEXT FOR MURDER.
Ann Burgess testified for the defense at their first trial. Check out the entry for rape trauma syndrome to see how she made a fool of herself, albeit a well remunerated one.
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