He's speaking out about the past. Brothers Lyle and Erik Menendez made national headlines for killing their sleeping parents, Jose and Kitty Menendez, in their Beverly Hills mansion in August 1989, and the crime is the focus of a new ABC special, airing on Thursday, January 5. Watch the promo above.
The program, entitled Truth and Lies: The Menendez Brothers, features an interview with Lyle, who has spent the past 26 years behind bars after he and Erik — who were 21 and 18, respectively, when their parents died — were convicted of first-degree murder in March 1996, and sentenced to two consecutive life-prison terms without parole. The conviction came in the case's second trial, after the first highly publicized one — which was broadcast on Court TV in 1993 — ended in a mistrial.
"It’s shocking to think … that I could have been involved in taking anyone’s life — and my parents’ life," says Lyle, 48. "It seems unimaginable because it seems so far removed from who I am."
"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," he continues. "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."
Lyle — who has married twice while in prison, including to second wife Rebecca Sneed in 2003 — says he is "more at peace" now than he was in the outside world.
He and Erik are in different prisons and have not seen each other in years, although Lyle says they write letters to each other and that their "bond is really strong." (The brothers' defense team alleged during the trials that their parents were abusive, but the jury ultimately believed that the brothers sought their parents' wealth.)
"My life is a struggle not to be defined by what happened," Lyle says. "I’m at peace with my life growing up. I’m at peace with it because I’ve just sort of accepted [that] it’s OK not to understand."
Truth and Lies: The Menendez Brothers airs on ABC Thursday, January 5, at 9 p.m. ET.
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