As the Menendez brothers case goes viral courtesy of their newfound TikTok supporters, it is time for their case to be reassessed and their convictions reduced to manslaughter suggests Matthew Steeples
Brothers Erik and Lyle Menendez were imprisoned in 1996 for the murders of their parents on 20th August 1989 after two trials and in spite of the fact that their relatives testified to the sexual and emotional abuse they suffered.
Featured today on the Fox 11 channel in a 6:11-minute segment, news that this shocking story – which was brought back to public attention primarily by the crusading work of the journalist Robert Rand and the juror Hazel Thornton – has once again gone viral is illustration of the power of the ‘TikTok generation,’ who have in recent months shared thousands of posts, footage and photos relating to the case on social media.
Calling themselves ‘Menendez Defenders,’ these TikTok using youngsters – many of whom were not even born at the time that the brothers shot their decidedly deviant parents – have lobbied amongst others the Governor of California, Gavin Newsom, to claim that the justice system “got it wrong” and all the brothers wanted was for the “abuse to stop.”
Speaking to Fox 11 of two brothers cruelly kept apart for 22 years until 2018, Robert Rand remarked:
“Erik Menendez wrote a paragraph in a letter to his cousin Andy Kano, that his father was still molesting him at the age of 17 and that he didn’t know what to do about it. And he said in this letter that he was afraid every night when he heard his father coming down the hallway.”
“I think in the 27 years since the Menendez brothers’ trials, society has evolved and changed so much. And if the Menendez trial was held today in 2021, I absolutely believe the resolution would have been manslaughter and not murder, and that is the way this case should have ended.”
Previously, on Instagram in February this year, Rand stated:
“Any announcement about the filing of a new appeal will be coming from the brothers themselves and their appeal attorneys.”
“In an online chat on the Justice Watchdog YouTube channel on 27th December 2020, Erik Menendez said the brothers would be ‘filing a new appeal in 2021.’”
“One threshold for reopening an appeal is to make a filing that includes new evidence that was not included in the 1990s trials. An example of this type of evidence could be the letter Erik Menendez wrote to Andy Cano in December 1988. The Andy Cano letter has NEVER been part of any court proceedings before.”
“I remain hopeful that Erik and Lyle Menendez will file a new appeal in the future.”
“Even if a new appeal is filed in 2021, it’s unlikely that there would be any quick resolution of the case or the appeal filing. Court proceedings are frequently slow paced.”
“After 31 years, we’d all like to see Erik and Lyle Menendez released from prison and sent home to their families.”
“The reality is that the appeal process is more a marathon than a sprint. We’re all going to have to hang in there and keep supporting the brothers.”
Going further in reply to a question asked by another Instagram user, he subsequently added:
“I am 100% certain that any new potential new Menendez appeal will be filed on behalf of BOTH brothers. Even though Erik mentioned he’s filing a new appeal in 2021, the timing of the filing will be determined by the brothers’ appeal attorneys.”
“I understand you are all anxious to learn more about the appeal, but please remember that this is a highly sensitive and time consuming legal process that will remain confidential until it is filed.”
Today, yet again, I join those calling for a reexamination of the convictions of Erik and Lyle Menendez and call upon Gavin Newsom and others to do the decent thing: Help set these victims of abuse back on the path to the freedom they deserve after 25 years of incarceration.