AP Photo/Nick Ut
AP Photo/Nick Ut
He's been behind bars for the brutal murder of his parents for the last 27 years, and now, almost 20 years since being convicted of first-degree murder, Lyle Menendez is speaking about the heinous events that put him there.
"I am the kid that did kill his parents, and no river of tears has changed that and no amount of regret has changed it," Menendez told ABC News during a recent phone interview, which will be featured in the upcoming special Truth and Lies: The Menendez Brothers. "I accept that. You are often defined by a few moments of your life, but that's not who you are in your life, you know. Your life is your totality of it… You can't change it. You just, you're stuck with the decisions you made."
Menendez, along with his brother Eric, hasn't spoken publicly since a sit-down with Barbara Walters shortly after their 1996 conviction, opened fire on his wealthy parents Jose and Mary "Kitty" Menendez as they slept in the den of their Beverly Hills mansion on the night of August 20, 1989. Something of a precursor to the O.J. Simpson trial, the Menendez brothers' murder trial captivated the nation, with millions of Americans tuning in to CourtTV. Their initial trial ended in 1994 with a mistrial, as jurors were deadlocked on what to charge the brothers with. A second trial began in 1995, without the prying eyes of TV cameras, and the brothers were convicted a year later.
(Eric declined to be interviewed for the new special.)
"It's shocking to think...that I could have been involved in taking anyone's life—and my parents' life...it seems unimaginable because it seems so far removed from who I am," Menendez admitted. "But I found that my own childhood prepared me surprisingly well for the chaos of prison life."
To see the whole story unfold, be sure to check out Truth and Lies: The Menendez Brothers – American Sons, American Murderers when it premieres Thursday, Jan. 5 at 9 p.m. on ABC.