Menendez brothers’ attorneys say new evidence could overturn life sentences

Posted at 2:43 PM, May 8, 2023 and last updated 6:52 AM, May 11, 2023


Attorneys for the Menendez brothers want their clients’ convictions and life sentences overturned based on new evidence, according to recent court documents obtained by Court TV from their attorneys.

Menendez brothers mugshots

An Oct. 31, 2016 photo provided by the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation shows Erik Menendez, left, and a Feb. 22, 2018 photo provided by the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation shows Lyle Menendez.  (California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation via AP)

The habeas petition, filed May 3, cites a letter Erik Menendez sent his cousin eight months before the murders of their parents and new rape allegations against Jose Menendez from ex-Menudo member Roy Rossello.

RELATED: Former Menudo member claims he was raped by father of Menendez brothers

In Erik’s Dec. 1988 letter, he tells his cousin Andres (Andy) Cano, “I’ve been trying to avoid dad. It’s still happening Andy but it’s worse.” He later writes, “Every night I stay up thinking he might come in.”

The letter, which was not offered as evidence at either trial, was discovered in 2018 by Marta Cano, Jose Menendez’s younger sister. She ultimately provided a copy of the letter to journalist Robert Rand that year.

The motion also references Cano’s testimony during the brothers’ 1993 trial, in which he testifies that a 13-year-old Erik “told him that Jose Menendez was massaging his genitals, and asked if Andy’s father did the same.” The motion also states Andy Cano died in 2003.

WATCH: Andres Cano testifies in Menendez brothers trial

Ex-Menudo member Roy Rossello also provides details of the alleged sexual abuse he suffered from Jose Menendez in the 1980s. In the motion, Rossello claims he was drugged and raped at the Menendez family’s New Jersey home and on two other occasions during his time with the band.

During their 1993 trial, the Menendez brothers testified they killed their parents in self-defense after suffering years of sexual abuse and feared they would be killed. Their first trial ended in two hung juries.

READ MORE: Menendez Brothers: What you want to know

During their second trial, Judge Stanley M. Weisberg ruled no testimony of the sexual abuse allegations could be heard by the jury. The Menendez brothers were convicted of double murder in March 1996 and sentenced to life in prison without the possibility of parole.