Did Brothers Lyle and Erik Menendez Deserve Their Sentence?

Grace Kane, Reporter

“Sentenced to a lifetime in jail. First-degree murder. Life without parole.

How would you feel if you heard those words as you felt the coldness of metal handcuffs tighten against your skin? Would you think, “I deserved this.” Or would you think, “No matter the crime, no one deserves to be in jail for a lifetime.”

Those exact thoughts crossed the minds of brothers Lyle and Erik Menendez in 1994. The Menendez brothers from Beverly Hills, California, were convicted of the murder by shotgun of their wealthy parents, José and Mary Menendez in 1989. José Menendez was told to have taken his sons out of his will due to “behavior problems and attitude” from the boys. Most say they killed them for the money, but some believe the story they told and know it was because of the alleged physical and sexual abuse.

In the popular show Law and Order, Lyle and Erik, portrayed by Miles Gaston Villanueva and Gus Halper, shared some secrets about the case we never knew. The first trial ended with two deadlocked juries. Soon after, the Los Angeles County District Attorney announced that the brothers would be retried. But, there are some things we will never know about the second trail due to the Judge Weisberg banning cameras in the courtroom. During this trial, Weisberg did not play fairly. He didn’t allow much of the defense to testify about the sexual abuse claims, and also wouldn’t let the jury vote on manslaughter charges rather than murder charges.

Between Weisberg’s feelings towards this case, the stereotype that the brothers are snotty rich boys, the fact that the case has been going on for over 8 years and many other reasons, the trial did not go in favor of the Menendez brothers. Even though they did kill their parents, no one deserves to rot in jail for the rest of their lives. They killed their parents with a motive, they aren’t mass murders who did it for fun. They made a mistake and owned up to it. So did they deserve what they got?