In the summer of 1989, two affluent California brothers gripped the nation’s headlines when they murdered their parents in their Beverly Hills mansion. The ensuing case quickly became pop culture fodder, and the world watched as the men were immortalized as some of America’s most notorious parricidal killers. Many will recognize this story as that of the Menendez brothers, who shot their parents and, after a lengthy, much-publicized trial, were later sentenced to lives in prison without the possibility of parole. Nearly three decades later, some may be wondering what the Menendez brothers look like now. ABC will rehash their tale for Truth and Lies: The Menéndez Brothers — American Sons, American Murderers on Jan. 5, but photos of Erik and Lyle Menendez post-conviction have been few and far between.
A quick Google search reveals a slew of pictures from around the time of the crimes, when Lyle was 21 and Erik was 18. According to People magazine, initially, investigators labeled the murders as a mafia hit, but after their confessions to both an ex-girlfriend and a psychologist, the brothers were arrested and charged with killing their parents. Both siblings alleged they had suffered years of abuse at the hands of their parents, and claimed their father had sexually assaulted them for years. (Several friends and relatives of the parents have denied that the brothers' claims of abuse are true, according to Vanity Fair.) Still, two deadlocked juries were unable to return a verdict and the case resulted in a mistrial. Two year later, the brothers were convicted of both murders during a second, less-publicized trial, and sentenced to life in prison without parole, according to the Chicago Tribune.
When the first trial began in 1993, it was broadcast on Court TV, and fast escalated into a national sensation. Its time in the limelight gave way to a wealth of images and videos, including a trove of family memorabilia from the Menendez brothers lives before the murder. Naturally, shots of the men behind bars have been rare. Occasionally mug shots have been released of the pair over the years.
Erik’s two date back to 2002 (left) and 2000 (right), while Lyle’s is from 2003.
Another mugshot of Lyle was released in 2005, where he looked almost identical to his 2003 mugshot.
Though photos of the siblings today are unlikely — ABC’s special promises only a phone interview with Lyle — the brothers have been open about their lives in prison. According to ABC News, in 1999, Erik married longtime pen pal Tammi Menendez (neé Saccoman), who self-published a book about their unconventional relationship, They Said We’d Never Make It: My Life With Erik Menéndez, in 2005. Lyle, too, has been married: from 1996 to 2001 to former model Anna Ericksson, and from 2003 and onwards to magazine editor Rebecca Sneed, according to ABC News.
Mounting interest in true crime cases like Steven Avery's (Making A Murderer), O.J. Simpson's (American Crime Story: The People V. O.J. Simpson), and JonBenét Ramsey's (The Case Of, JonBenét: An American Murder Mystery, etc.) has re-shone the spotlight on the Menendez brothers, and they’ve recently spoken out in the press. Erik recently sat down with People in September 2016 for his first face-to-face interview since his conviction, discussing falling in love with Tammi, coming to terms with his crimes, and what he’s learned in the years since. Earlier that month, a Today interview with journalist Robert Rand, who’s writing a book on the case, revealed that Erik and Lyle still write letters to one another, and have even started playing a chess game via mail. The two are imprisoned in separate penitentiaries and haven’t seen each other in roughly 10 years.
ABC's Truth and Lies, a 120-minute documentary, follows Oxygen’s Snapped special about the case from October. According to ABC’s website, its take “uncovers the hidden clues of the Menendez family’s descent into hell including never-before-seen home movies and photos from the family vault and the testimony from members of the Menendez inner circle.” The program will also feature interviews with the brothers’ best friends and neighbors, the lead detectives, lawyers, and jurors on the case, and the aforementioned jailhouse interview with Lyle. It’s doubtful that it will provide a visual peek at the Menendez brothers’ worlds behind bars, but it will certainly dive into their lives they once led outside of them.
Truth and Lies: The Menéndez Brothers — American Sons, American Murderers airs Thursday, Jan. 5 at 9 p.m. ET on ABC.