Why did Lyle and Erik Menendez kill their parents?

LYLE Menendez and younger brother Erik are serving life sentences for the 1989 murder of their parents.

The brothers, featured on ABC's 20/20 in April of 2021, have a new generation of defenders – on Instagram and TikTok.

Why did Lyle and Erik Menendez kill their parents?

The legal team for Lyle and Erik Menendez argued that they were sexually abused by their father.

The brothers claimed the fatal shooting of Jose and Kitty Menendez in their Beverly Hills home was a form of "imperfect self-defense," according to The New York Times.

Lyle was 21 and Erik was 18 at the time of the double murder.

They believed, "honestly though mistakenly," according to the newspaper, that their parents were going to kill them if they did not act.

The brothers were initially tried separately, but both juries were deadlocked.

"I think it was the emotional pull of the defense that caused a mistrial," Deputy District Attorney Pamela Bozanich, who prosecuted Lyle, told The Times.

"It was similar to a situation where you have pro-life and pro-choice people and put them in an argument together."

The brothers were then tried together and were found guilty in 1996.

What are people saying about the Menendez brothers now?

Young people who were not alive at the time of the 1989 murders have been speaking out about the case, thanks in part to social media.

Jordan Whynn, who is 24, watched the trial on YouTube while in coronavirus lockdown and launched an Instagram account called @MenendezSupporter.


A post shared by menendez supporter (@menendezsupporter)

“When I saw a clip of Erik testifying about the molestation by his father, I was shocked to say the least,” Whynn told The Times in an email.

He added that he became “disgusted with the way the media at the time and in subsequent years downplayed the brothers’ abuse.”

The Instagram account features a profile photo of the young brothers and has 238 followers.

A post on the account in April 2021 read: "If Kitty and Jose acted differently, if they loved, cared for, and protected their sons the way they should have, their sons would've never felt the need to protect themselves."

The comment has accumulated 33 likes in three days.

Fabienne Bersching, who is 20 and lives in Germany, also launched an Instagram page about the brothers, according to The Times.

She became interested in the case after seeing footage of TikTok.

“Of course, there are people from America, but I also met people from Hungary, and from France,” she told the newspaper.

She said everyone she talks to all have the same goal.

“Get them out of prison,” she told The Times.

“31 years are enough.”

She added: “My mom is a person that says like, ‘You know, they killed their parents, and that’s wrong.'

"I’m always like, ‘Yeah, it is wrong.’ I’m not supporting the fact that they killed their parents, and I never will.

"But it’s the background story that’s so much more important to me.”

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