Menendez Brothers: What you want to know

Posted at 1:26 PM, April 19, 2023 and last updated 1:26 PM, April 19, 2023


Erik and Lyle Menendez were found guilty of brutally murdering their parents on March 20, 1996. Months later, they were sentenced to life in prison without the possibility of parole. In the decades since, their case has continued to transfix the true-crime world.

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)

Here’s a look at some of the most asked questions about the brothers, 33 years after their arrest.

Are the Menendez brothers still alive? Where are they now?

Yes. As of April 2023, 55-year-old Lyle Menendez and 52-year-old Erik Menendez are both alive and currently incarcerated at California’s RJ Donovan Correctional Facility, according to the Calif. Department of Corrections.

The brothers were reunited in April 2018 after spending over 20 years apart behind bars. Before they were moved to the same facility, the last time they reportedly saw each other was Sept. 10, 1996, according to ABC News.

When will the Menendez brothers be released?

Likely never. The Menendez brothers are serving life sentences without the possibility of parole. Court TV anchor Ted Rowlands explains, “They will never get out unless something dramatic surfaces involving their case, which is highly unlikely. Even if they were eligible for parole, they would likely never get out because of politics. A parole board would have to recommend release, but in California, the governor must sign off on it, and they rarely do. Especially in high-profile cases.”

Rowlands says one of the most recent examples is Gov. Gavin Newsom blocking parole for Charles Manson followers Patricia Krenwinkel and Leslie Van Houten, despite a parole board recommending their release.

Why did the Menendez brothers kill their parents?

During their first trial in 1993, both brothers testified they killed their parents because they feared for their lives after suffering years of sexual abuse at the hands of Jose and Kitty Menendez. Prosecutors argued they killed their parents to gain access to their $14 million inheritance.

Court TV’s Trial Archives: CA v. Menendez (1993)

How did the Menendez brothers get caught?

The prosecution’s smoking-gun at the center of the case was Erik Menendez’s therapist, Dr. Jerome Oziel, and his audio tapes of their sessions. Dr. Oziel began recording their sessions at the haste of his lover, Judalon Smyth, who said they needed the recordings to protect themselves. At trial, the jury heard Erik’s Dec. 11, 1989 confession to Dr. Oziel.

READ MORE:  The Menendez Brothers Murder Trial 30 years later

Are the Menendez brothers married?

Since their incarceration, both brothers have married. Erik Menendez married Tammi Menendez in 1999. In an 2005 interview with People, Erik said his first contact with Tammi was during his 1993 trial when she wrote him a letter, but they didn’t meet in person until 1997. Tammi released a book about their relationship in 2005, and the couple is still married.

Lyle Menendez married his first wife, Anna Eriksson, months after his murder conviction in 1996. The pair divorced five years later. He later married Rebecca Sneed in 2003, reported People.

Why did Erik Menendez put lemon on his food?

The TikTok obsession with the Menendez brothers has spurred viewers to research specific moments of their 1993 trial. In particular, Erik Menendez’s testimony about putting lemon on his food. While testifying about the alleged sexual abuse he suffered from his father, Erik said he would pour lemon on his food to diminish his sense of taste.

WATCH: CA v. Menendez: Erik Menendez PT2 (specific reference begins at 3:08:53)