Erik goes into shocking detail in a new interview about the night he and his brother, Lyle, killed their parents. Erik talks about the moment he opened fire and how he ‘collapsed emotionally’ after the murders.
In one of his first interviews in over a decade, Erik Menendez, now 47, is revealing how he felt as brutally murdered his parents, Jose and Kitty, alongside his brother, Lyle, now 49, on Aug. 20, 1989. “I remember firing and firing, and I couldn’t see anything,” Erik says over the phone in the premiere of A&E’s The Menendez Murders: Erik Tells All. “It was just fire and darkness and this booming, exploding sound. It was terrible.”
Erik and Lyle used 12-gauge shotguns to kill their parents inside their family home. After the murders, Erik confesses that he ran out of the room and “collapsed” on the stairs and “started to cry.” He admits that he felt like he was “going to throw up.” Shocked that the police hadn’t shown up yet, Erik and Lyle then left the house and attempted to “create an alibi.” They got rid of their guns on Mulholland Drive. The brothers eventually returned to their home, the scene of the horrific crime they had committed.
“When we got home it was just silence,” Erik reveals. “Still, there was nobody there. Nobody had called the police. Nobody had shown up. It was just quiet. I just had this need to go to the room. I had this need to be with mom and dad just to see them, to be there. I couldn’t stop myself. When I saw them, I just broke down. It was so wrong. This should have been me. And seeing them dead, it was like hell. It was horrible. I started screaming. Lyle came and pulled me out of the room and said, ‘Don’t go in there.’ And he went to call the police. But I couldn’t stop myself. I just had to go back to the room. It was the only place in the world that I could be, because I felt like what I had done was just… I just wanted to undo it. I just wanted to go back in time. I didn’t want this moment to be real. I just collapsed emotionally.”
Erik and Lyle were adamant during their trials that they acted in self-defense after years of alleged sexual abuse from their father. They were both sentenced to life in prison without the possibility of parole. Erik is currently serving a life sentence at the Donovan Correctional Facility in San Diego, California. Lyle is at Mule Creek State Prison in Ione, California. Erik and Lyle have not seen each other since they were imprisoned, but they do keep in touch through letters.
“My only hope in speaking out is that people may have a more complete understanding of the events that led up to my actions on the night of August 20, and really a fuller picture of what really happened in my life,” Erik says about the timing of his interview. “All I can hope for is that people will come to realize that the truth is not a simple, one-line explanation that many people have tried to make it out to be. That really, that my life was unfolding of a complicated life that I lived that had all of these things that came into being and that led up to my involvement and responsibility for what is an ongoing and enduring family tragedy. That tragedy didn’t end on that night, as devastating as that night was. It didn’t end there for my family, and it continues on to this day, and that sadness is something that I am trying to make up for with them and with my parents for the rest of my life. It will never end.”
The Menendez Murders: Erik Tells All will airs Thursdays at 10 p.m. ET on A&E.
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