Sons and Murderers

Decades of alleged parental sexual abuse ended with 15 shotgun blasts, but can the Menendez brothers convince jurors they did it in self-defense?

When you put the shotgun up against her left cheek and pulled the trigger, did you love your mother?

Yes.

That question-and-answer sequence is remarkable, partly because it is not especially bizarre or lurid. At least not by the standards of the Southern California trial it comes from. Other testimony last week moved some jurors to tears, as Lyle Menendez described how, when he was seven years old, he had been forced to perform oral sex on his father and later had been sodomized with a toothbrush. Lyle, now 24, and his brother Erik, 21, are seeking to explain why they...

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