What The Menendez Brothers Have Been Up To All These Years

The following article includes allegations of child abuse and sexual assault.

The Menendez brothers' murder case was infamous for its brutality as well as its posh nature. Erik and Lyle Menendez, then 18 and 21, allegedly murdered their parents, entertainment executive Jose Menendez and Mary Ruth "Kitty" Menendez, on August 20, 1989. Jose was shot one time from point blank range in the back of the head. Kitty tried to flee and was shot multiple times, leaving her corpse almost unrecognizable.

The brothers initially denied involvement in the murders, but their subsequent behavior was suspect: Vanity Fair reports that the young men began spending their parents' fortunes lavishly, buying Rolexes, Porsches, properties, even businesses. In fact, sources say the brothers spent close to $1 million in just their first six months as orphans. It wasn't until Erik reportedly confessed the killings to his psychologist that the brothers' scheme began to unravel. Lyle threatened the psychologist, whose mistress overheard the conversation and reported everything to the police.

After their arrest in 1990 and a second trial in 1996, the Menendez brothers became notorious media sensations. During the trials, they claimed their father routinely administered physical and sexual abuse while their mother enabled him. The Menendez brothers were eventually convicted and sentenced to consecutive life sentences in separate prisons. So, what have the infamous Beverly Hills murderers been up to since? Let's find out.

If you or someone you know may be the victim of child abuse, please contact the Childhelp National Child Abuse Hotline at 1-800-4-A-Child (1-800-422-4453) or contact their live chat services.

If you or anyone you know has been a victim of sexual assault, help is available. Visit the Rape, Abuse & Incest National Network website or contact RAINN's National Helpline at 1-800-656-HOPE (4673).

The Menendez Brothers made a lot of pen pals

The Menendez brothers, despite being convicted murderers, were apparently a real catch for lonely women. Erik and Lyle received massive amounts of letters in prison from ladies who thought they were just misunderstood. News.com.au reports that many women who write to men behind bars, including the Menendez brothers, want to "mother" their pen pals. In terms of inmates, the Menendez brothers were appealing because they were handsome, rich, and infamous. They received so much mail that the brothers actually found love through their letters.

So, how do women fall in love with convicted murderers? Dr. Tony Clarke, a criminal profiler and psychologist, claimed to News.com.au that the Menendez brothers might be targeting specific types of women. "There are two groups of women who get involved with prisoners," he began. "The self-selected group who write to men in jail and then there's the women who work in jails." Clarke added that some women operate under the belief that the inmate has changed as a person.

"[The women who work in jails] then become accomplices who help smuggle things into jail or help them escape," Clarke continued. "Psychopaths in jail are expert at manipulating people and they specialize with people who have low self esteem. Psychopaths test [these people's] vulnerability extremely quickly and then exploit them to get what they want ... for sex, money or boredom. It's boring in jail."

Erik Menendez found a wife

Erik met wife Tammi Menendez (nee Saccoman) through letters in prison. She told Dan Abrams of MSNBC in 2005, "We did get very close through letters and then you know the relationship moved forward when I did meet him. But it was the correspondence that he became a really good friend of mine and understood what I was going through and I understood what he was going through. ... After I met him, things ... got more and more intense."

Tammi admitted that since Erik isn't allowed conjugal visits, actually consummating their marriage may be impossible, but that they're still allowed to be physically affectionate. "[We're used to] holding hands, and when you're taking pictures you can have physical contact," she said. "You can kiss when you come in to the visiting room and when you leave."

Erik got down on one knee during a visit, and the pair married in a telephone ceremony in a prison visiting room in 1998. Erik told People, "Tammi is what gets me through. I can't think about the sentence. When I do, I do it with a great sadness and a primal fear. I break into a cold sweat. It's so frightening I just haven't come to terms with it."

Lyle Menendez has been married twice

Lyle Menendez met several women behind bars through correspondence, including former Playboy Playmate, Anna Eriksson, who began writing him in 1995. According to News.com.au, Eriksson divorced the elder Menendez brother in 2001 after she discovered he was writing to another woman. Lyle wasn't lonely for long. After his split from Eriksson, he married lawyer Rebecca Sneed in 2003 during ceremony in the maximum security facility visiting area. She has since become a defense attorney (via Rolling Stone).

During a 2017 interview with ABC News, Lyle discussed what his marriage was like since his life sentence without parole bans him from conjugal visits under California law. He stated that "physical comfort is much less important than your connection with the people around you" and claimed that he has discovered the secret to a successful union considering his circumstances. "I've found I can have a healthy marriage that is complicated and built around conversation and finding creative ways to communicate, sharing, without all the props that are normally there in marriage in terms of going out to dinner and having as much intimate time together and so on," Lyle said.

"My life is a struggle [to] not to be defined by what happened," he added. "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 okay not to understand."

The Menendez brothers inspired TV shows

Variety reported in 2016 that a new true crime series was in development, aptly named "Law & Order: True Crime." The first installment of the series would be based on the Menendez brothers case. "We've been talking with Dick [Wolff, "Law & Order" creator] about how to create an event series coming out of the 'Law & Order' ripped-from-the-headlines brand," NBC Entertainment president Jennifer Salke said. "This case captured the public's attention like nothing before it as it examined taboo issues such as patricide and matricide in gruesome detail, all against a backdrop of privilege and wealth. We will re-create the cultural and societal surroundings of both the murders and trials when people were not only obsessed with the case but examining how and why these brothers committed these heinous crimes."

The series premiered a year later, but it wouldn't be the first time that Lyle and Erik Menendez inspired television crime shows: The pair had a CBS miniseries based on the case, "Menendez: A Killing In Beverly Hills" (1994), as well as a Fox TV movie, "Honor Thy Father And Mother: The True Story Of The Menendez Murders" (1994).

Lyle Menendez has an active Facebook page

Although the Menendez brothers aren't allowed to have Internet access, Lyle posts on Facebook with the help of relatives who administer his page. At the time of this writing, the last post was published on April 12, 2020. "I thank my family for helping me with this page. I don't have internet access so this site depends on them. I have been told that setting up this page will open me up to ridicule and criticism," Lyle wrote. "That's probably true, but it's something I'm already used to. It is very hard to accept that sexual assault can be the punchline of jokes or the subject of ridicule, but it has occurred — to me — and to many others."

The elder Menendez brother went on to say that the purpose of the page "is to provide a safe place for people to talk about their similar experiences and find comfort in others who have suffered in silence in the same way." Lyle added, "Those of us who have suffered abuse understand the healing power of sharing our experiences. This page's platform is to oppose all forms of child abuse: physical, sexual, and emotional abuse perpetrated by anyone including but not limited to parents, a teacher, a coach, a priest, and the government. We also oppose all forms of domestic violence, and sexual assault."

If you or someone you know may be the victim of child abuse, please contact the Childhelp National Child Abuse Hotline at 1-800-4-A-Child (1-800-422-4453) or contact their live chat services.

If you or someone you know is dealing with domestic abuse, you can call the National Domestic Violence Hotline at 1−800−799−7233. You can also find more information, resources, and support at their website.

If you or anyone you know has been a victim of sexual assault, help is available. Visit the Rape, Abuse & Incest National Network website or contact RAINN's National Helpline at 1-800-656-HOPE (4673).

The Menendez brothers reunited after 22 years

In 2018, the Menendez brothers were reunited for the first time in 22 years, when Lyle was transferred to Erik's unit in San Diego's R.J. Donovan Correctional Facility. "The prison officials allowed them to meet together in a room for about an hour," true crime author of "The Menendez Murders," Robert Rand, told Today. "And both brothers immediately became very emotional. They hugged each other. And they are so excited to be reunited after all these years."

The Menendez brothers had not seen each other since September 1996, and their relatives claimed the reunion was long overdue, with the publication revealing that Lyle had applied for a transfer six times before it being granted. "I think it's an answer to prayer," their aunt, Marta Menendez Cano, said. "I've been praying for many, many years that this would happen."

In a now-deleted Facebook post (via Today), Lyle wrote about the reunion with his brother, Erik, saying, "There really are no words to describe what occurred today." Lyle added, "Thank you to everyone for the amazing outpouring of joy and happiness over the reunion. It means so much!"

Erik and Lyle Menendez have fans on TikTok

The Menendez brothers have more recently found new fame on social media thanks to TikTok users who are calling for the siblings to be released and exonerated. A 2021 article published by The New York Times revealed that Lyle and Erik are subjects of "hundreds of fan accounts across social media," who are taking it upon themselves to defend the brothers.

One of their staunch defenders, Jordan Whynn, a 24-year-old paramedic science student in London, said he was "disgusted" by the way the media brushed over the brothers' claims of abuse. "When I saw a clip of Erik testifying about the molestation by his father, I was shocked to say the least," Whynn said. Several of the TikTok videos even cast the Menendez brothers as sex symbols — to the dismay of some Menendez defenders. "I want people to stop sexualizing them and actually focus on the case, because their looks have nothing to do with it," Zoe Patterson, 17, of Australia said. She hoped the brothers never see "those sexualization edits, considering they're both married and have suffered a traumatic childhood."

According to Los Angeles Magazine, an Instagram user also "organized a letter-writing campaign urging Governor Newsom to commute their sentences." And at the time of this writing, a Change.org petition demanding an appeal for the Menendez brothers has over 100,000 signatures.

If you or someone you know may be the victim of child abuse, please contact the Childhelp National Child Abuse Hotline at 1-800-4-A-Child (1-800-422-4453) or contact their live chat services.