As Lyle Menéndez creates a Facebook page about the case against him and his brother Erik, a juror contacts ‘The Steeple Times’ and brands their conviction for killing their wealthy parents “imperfect self-defence”
Renewed interest in the 1989 murders of the multi-millionaires José and Mary ‘Kitty’ Menéndez by their sons, Erik and Lyle, has accompanied NBC’s screening of their fascinating new eight-part Law & Order True Crime: The Menendez Murders.
Consequently discussion has intensified and aside from Lyle Menéndez creating a Facebook page this month where interested parties can read about the slayings and the alleged abuse he and his brother were subjected to, a juror in the first trial contacted The Steeple Times to share her thoughts on the eventual outcome.
We were given the choice of:
– First degree murder (what the men wanted)
– Second degree murder
– Voluntary manslaughter (what the women wanted)
– Involuntary manslaughter
It was widely reported that the women were 1) in love with the M brothers, 2) enamored with defense attorney Leslie Abramson (that part is true; I consider her to be a hero and am thrilled that LOTC [Law & Order True Crime] Menendez is focused on her character), 3) voting emotionally, not logically, and 4) too stupid to understand the jury instructions.
Also, that we wanted to let them go free. No one voted to acquit. Acquittal was not on the table. We didn’t even vote for Involuntary manslaughter.
But we did think the defense was strong enough that it may have happened exactly as they said –that they were in fear of their lives, rightly or wrongly, at the very moment of the killings. It’s called ‘imperfect self-defense’.
Elsewhere in today’s The Steeple Times, we interview Zach Tinker – the actor who plays Erik Menéndez’s classmate, Craig Cignarelli.
Law & Order True Crime: The Menendez Murders is available to watch in the UK on Sky Living and below an unedited Facebook post from Lyle Menéndez follows:
I thank my family for helping me with this page. I don’t have internet access so this site depends on them. I have been told that setting up this page will open me up to ridicule and criticism. That’s probably true, but it’s something I’m already used to. It is very hard to accept that sexual assault can be the punchline of jokes or the subject of ridicule, but it has occurred–to me–and to many others. If I am mocked for this page, the shame of that belongs on the mocker and not on me or anyone who shares their story here. There is, quite simply, nothing funny about child rape or other abuse.
The purpose of this page is not to debate the clearly wrong actions that I took. The purpose is to provide a safe place for people to talk about their similar experiences and find comfort in others who have suffered in silence in the same way. Those of us who have suffered abuse understand the healing power of sharing our experiences.
I have received thousands of letters from people all over the world who have heard about my experiences and connected with them or simply had empathy for me and my brother. When I first started to receive the letters, I answered every one. But, eventually, I became overwhelmed. Still – whether I answered them or not – I read all the letters and my heart ached for each person brave enough to share, and I was inspired by the strength it took every person to take pen to paper and pour out their hearts.
In fact, I testified every day at my trial in 1993 with a letter of an abuse survivor in my pants pocket to give me courage. The letters I receive to this day continue to give me courage and strength.
With the resurgence of interest in our case and the prevalence of social media, I’m now in a better position to be able to create a place for those of you who want to reach out to me. Even more, this format gives us all the opportunity to create a community of compassion, empathy, inspiration and strength. I hope you will share your stories here and that we can build something positive from something so negative. I hope that we can all be survivors, lift each other up when we need it, and show everyone that by supporting each other, we can not just survive but thrive.
If you write to me here, I will be read your posts, through my family, and I will respond sometimes. We can help each other. But this page is less about me and more about all of us helping each other. There is a community here. But please keep in mind that neither I nor anyone in my family is a professional counselor, therapist, or any type of professional equipped to deal with the psychological and/or emotional issues that child abuse causes. I will be offering my support and advice as a fellow sufferer and survivor and not as any type of expert.
Like I said, I do not have the internet. This site depends on my family. If you see an “-a” after a comment that means that the administrator is the one commenting. And many conversations will be started by the administrator.
One final note: I have heard that social media can be the opposite of what I just described. Please know that hateful posts will not be approved and hurtful/hateful comments will be deleted by an administrator. Let’s make this a safe space.
For more information Hung Jury: The Diary of a Menendez Juror about by Hazel Thornton, click here.