Brothers Erik and Lyle Menendez, who were convicted of the 1989 murder of their parents, are now seeking to have their convictions and life sentences overturned based on new evidence, according to court documents filed by their attorneys on Wednesday.
The high-profile trials of the Menendez brothers garnered significant attention as they did not deny killing their parents, but argued that they acted in self-defense due to enduring a lifetime of abuse by their father.
In the habeas petition filed in Los Angeles Superior Court, the attorneys present new evidence, including a letter written by Erik Menendez to his cousin eight months before the murders, in which he shares details of his father’s abuse.
The letter, discovered by Jose Menendez’s younger sister, Marta Cano, and shared with journalist Robert Rand, describes the ongoing abuse and Erik’s fear of his father.
Surprisingly, the document also includes testimony from Roy Rossello, a former member of the Latin boy band Menudo, who alleges that he was raped by Jose Menendez when he was 13 or 14 years old.
The attorneys argue that this newly presented evidence contradicts the prosecution’s narrative that Jose Menendez was not a violent person or someone who would abuse children.
They contend that the evidence demonstrates that Jose Menendez was a violent and brutal man who sexually abused children, including his own sons.
The Los Angeles County District Attorney’s office has acknowledged the receipt of the habeas petition and stated that it is currently under review. The attorneys are requesting the court to either vacate the convictions and sentences against the Menendez brothers or allow for further discovery and an evidentiary hearing to present additional proof.
The new evidence presented in the court documents raises significant questions about the original trial and the validity of the convictions. The Menendez brothers’ defense has long maintained that they were victims of abuse and acted in self-defense. As the case continues to unfold, it remains to be seen how the court will assess the new evidence and its potential impact on the brothers’ convictions.