Friday, May. 22, 2009

The Menendez Brothers

From a young age, Lyle and Erik Menendez were attached to each other in a way that seemed abnormal. Dealing with a successful business executive father who enforced rigid rules and expected nothing but the best from his sons may have made them too dependent on each other — and too willing to reinforce each other's misbehavior. They committed home burglaries together, did poorly in school and avoided contact with others. Their mother, Kitty, reeling from her husband's infidelity and both her sons' diagnosed sociopathic tendencies, kept a close eye on Lyle, 21, a Princeton student, and Erik, 18, who was UCLA bound. But not the kind of watchful eye that parents usually have — this was a woman who feared for her safety.

After watching the Billionaire Boys Club — a T.V. mini-series about a Southern California investment and social club that turned to murder after its Ponzi scheme began to unravel — Lyle and Erik decided they would rid themselves of their abusive father and save their mother the anguish of living without him by killing her too. They shot their parents to death at their Beverly Hills mansion on August 20, 1989. For seven months after the murders they went on shopping sprees, started fake businesses and lived in hotels paid for by their father's company. By the end of 1989, they had spent more than a million dollars. Police found the spending suspicious, but what actually led to the brothers' arrest was Erik's breakdown and full confession to a psychotherapist.

See pictures of crime in Middle America.