There are, in many cases, a decent motive linked to those who commit sinister acts of violence against the ones they love. Sometimes it can be jealousy or anger, but in this instance, it seems like money was the motive for Erik and Lyle Menendez to kill their own parents.

The Menendez brothers in a prison interview, 1996 / Picture Credit: ABC News on YouTube

The Menendez brothers in a prison interview, 1996 / Picture Credit: ABC News on YouTube

Who are the Menendez brothers?

On August 20th, 1989, Erik Menendez and his brother Lyle shot and killed their parents at their home in Beverly Hills.

During their highly-publicised trial, which began in 1993, the siblings claimed that they had committed the crime as an act of self-defence after years of physical, verbal and sexual abuse; however, this plea did not work in their favour...

Early years

Erik Galen Menendez was born on November 27th, 1970, in Blackwood, New Jersey. He was the youngest son of parents Jose and Mary ‘Kitty’ Menendez.

Jose was a Cuban immigrant, who had made himself into a successful entertainment executive; he placed a large amount of pressure on his sons to do well in life, just as he had.

Erik was a timid and quiet child, and grew up imitating his older brother Lyle. When the family moved to Southern California (CA) in 1986, the brothers fell into a troublesome crowd; Erik was caught twice for burglary in 1988.

Young Erik took an interest in screen-writing, disturbingly creating a script about wealthy parents being murdered by their son...

The murders of Jose and Kitty Menendez

On August 20th, 1989, Jose Menendez and his wife Kitty were shot and killed in their own home. Police didn’t think too much about extensively questioning Erik and Lyle the night their parents were murdered.

However, the boys began to arouse suspicion by taking advantage of the newfound fortune they acquired due to their parents’ deaths; Erik now had a personal coach to aid him in his growing tennis career.

A couple of months after the murders, Erik became increasingly laden with guilt and, in October 1989, confessed his crimes to his therapist, L. Jerome Oziel. When Lyle heard of his brother’s confession, he threatened to kill Oziel if he told anyone.

Despite this threat, Oziel confided what had happened to his girlfriend who, in turn, went to the police.

The siblings were arrested within days of one another in March 1990 and, in late December, 1992, were both indicted for first-degree murder.

Doctor Oziel’s tapes (which we can suspect were recordings of his meetings with Erik) became a subject of legal jousting over the problem of doctor-patient privilege violation but, eventually, some of the tapes were admitted as evidence.

Trial and conviction

In July of 1993, the trail for murderous brothers Erik and Lyle Menendez begun, with each defendant having a separate jury.

Since the proceedings were televised, an interested and shocked public witnessed the brothers state that they were at the receiving end of years of physical, verbal and sexual abuse.

Erik added that he believed his father would have killed him and his brother in order to prevent anyone from knowing the truth.

Both brothers were convicted of first-degree murder, and sentenced to life in prison – without parole – in 1996.

Life in prison

After being sent to California’s Folsom State Prison (later being transferred to Pleasant Valley State Prison), Erik spent years attempting to get a new trial after his conviction in 1996.

Both Erik and Lyle fought their way through the CA courts, but were (thankfully) denied at every opportunity.

In 2005, the case reached a federal appeals court, which also refused to grant the Menendez brothers a new trial.

Written by Melissa, who you can follow on Twitter @melissajournal

RELATED: Sinister Saturday: The case of Richard Speck, a brutal and unforgiving killer

Many serial killers, when we read about them, have tell-tale signs of being somewhat different; being lonely or bullied, being abused at home, and so on. Richard Speck’s story is no different; it seems the abuse suffered at an early age warranted him to kill. However, he simply could have been born to raise hell...