Another Menendez Miracle occurred last week. We don’t get much news in the past 27 years since Erik and Lyle Menendez were sentenced to life without the possibility of parole. (This was after having already been behind bars for 6 years, for a total thus far of 33 years and counting). As they say, the wheels of justice turn slowly.
CATEGORY: It’s my blog and I can write what I want to. 😉
Why am I writing about the Menendez brothers?
Once upon a time (as many of you already know), I spent seven months as a juror on the first Menendez murder trial in Van Nuys California and wrote a book about it. This was the 1993-4 trial where both juries (one for each brother) were hung because most of the men voted for murder and most of the women (including me) voted for manslaughter.
The Story of Juror #9
Hung Jury: The Diary of a Menendez Juror
Enough is Enough: The Menendez Tapestry (a legal poem) Please read this if nothing else! It’s the best, and shortest (and prettiest) summary of the case I’ve managed to write thus far. It explains why the murder convictions were unjust.
So, what’s happened now, three decades later?
Set your DVRs — On May 2, 2023, a new 3-part docuseries, Menendez + Menudo: Boys Betrayed, is scheduled to premiere simultaneously on Peacock (NBC’s streaming service, for English speakers) and Tplus (Telemundo’s streaming service, for Spanish speakers). It will be one of the few documentaries I can recommend. (I know this because I know the producers — including my partner in true crime, journalist Robert Rand, but I’m not in this one, as some of you will be wondering.) All the rest are prosecution-biased rehashes of the old, false, ‘90’s greedy-rich-kids narrative. The docuseries was announced April 18, 2023 on the TODAY show. On the same day an article in the New York Times was released with the headline: Former Menudo band member alleges he was raped by Menendez brothers’ slain father. (There have since been additional claims.)
In the series we will learn about Roy Rossello, a former Menudo boy-band pop singer, who was allegedly raped in the mid-80s by Jose Menendez, the head of RCA records at that time.
That’s the miracle: This is the first time anyone besides the Menendez brothers has come forward who claims to have also experienced abuse at the hands of their father.
Hazel’s Top Media Picks = the best Menendez books, documentaries, dramatizations, podcasts, videos, and websites
And what are The Menendez Miracles?
Once in a while something happens, against all odds, that benefits the Menendez brothers and encourages those who support them. A few years ago, I created a chart called “The Menendez Miracle”, a Venn diagram showing what it would take for them to get a new trial, pardon, or commuted sentence.
But really, there have already been several Menendez Miracles worth celebrating. Only time will tell whether or not this new information will benefit the brothers legally. Meanwhile, it’s a miracle in its own right: Corroboration.
I could write a whole post about each one, but this list will have to suffice. Most are also listed under News, with links to supporting articles.
Menendez Miracle #1: Law & Order True Crime
On August 3, 2017, producer Dick Wolf revealed his point of view for Law & Order True Crime by publicly stating that he thought the Menendez brothers received too harsh a punishment and that there was collusion in the second trial between the judge and the DA to ensure murder convictions! The 8-episode series was a revelation to viewers who were being introduced to the case for the first time, and those who had previously been exposed only to prosecution-biased dramatizations and documentaries perpetuating the erroneous “greedy rich kids” narrative.
Menendez Miracle #2: The Reunion
On April 4, 2018, Lyle & Erik were reunited in prison after being separated for 22 years!
Menendez Miracle #3: The Resurrected First Trial Videos
On June 20, 2020, Court TV released the complete first trial courtroom video footage on their website for all to watch for themselves!
Menendez Miracle #4: The New Menendez Supporter Movement
On Feb 9, 2021, the New York Times published an article about the new tidal wave of young people who support the brothers! Subsequent articles and TV shows featured TikTok creators, survivors, and others involved in the movement.
Menendez Miracle #5: Corroboration Day
On April 18, 2023, the New York Times announced: “Former Menudo band member alleges he was raped by Menendez brothers’ slain father”. This happened in the ’80s, while Jose Menendez was the head of RCA records. The same day, the Today Show announced a new documentary, “Menendez + Menudo: Boys Betrayed” to air on May 2 on Peacock and Telemundo.
Future Menendez Miracle? — The Release
Erik and Lyle walking free after 30+ years? Why not? It will take a miracle, but miracles happen every day!
Menendez Miracles, News & FAQ
Are you a Menendez supporter?
If you are, great! Please leave a comment, and help spread the word by sharing this blog post with others you think may be interested.
If you aren’t, please refrain from commenting. I’ve endured enough criticism in the past 30 years to last me a lifetime, thank you very much!
If you’re just not sure, you’re definitely not alone! I’m not sure what I would have thought, either, had I not been subjected to five months of witness testimony from both sides (prosecution and defense). Please click some of the links I have provided and educate yourself. And feel free to ask questions.
Again, if you read nothing else please read this: Enough is Enough: The Menendez Tapestry (a legal poem) It’s the best, and shortest (and prettiest) summary of the case I’ve managed to write thus far. It explains why the murder convictions were unjust.
Finally, here are two downloadable charts: “What’s Your Verdict?” — and — “Pressure to Convict”. They might help you decide!
Thank you for reading this far!
The Juror & The Journalist
- Copyright 2023 by Hazel Thornton, Organized for Life and Beyond
- Hazel is an author, genealogist, and retired home and office organizer.
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This is indeed an exciting development. Unfortunately, it doesn’t look like we Canadians will be able to watch the new series, at least not yet.
I hear you can get Peacock through Amazon Prime. That’s probably only helpful if you already have Amazon Prime.
Hazel, miracles do happen. I’m interested to watch the series on Peacock and will let you know what I think.
Great — thanks, Diane! I’ll probably report back here as well.
Fascinating development, Hazel. I remember the first hearing, but the news media in my area did not explain. They implied that the kids were spoiled. I’m glad there are revelations that happened over the years, and you and others are sharing them. I am finding out that lots of stories that were shared on new media at that time were biased and only showed one part of the story. And at that time, I didn’t have the opportunity to research the entire story.
Thanks for having an open mind, Sabrina!
I don’t know enough about this, but I am impressed by how you’ve kept the thread going all these years. And here’s to miracles continuing to happen.
Thanks, Linda! I didn’t talk about it for 20 years because my book was out of print (until it was reprinted) and nothing was happening. It was too hard to talk about, and no point. But things are different now!
Thank you so much for sharing this, Hazel. One thing I know for sure is that any story I’m receiving strictly through the media is suspect. Everyone has a worldview and an agenda, and it can’t help but impact reporting.
Having someone who was on the inside, who heard all the testimony, advocate for these boys is quite compelling. Regardless of what happened, I can’t help but feel sad about the many years that have been spent in prison. This doesn’t feel helpful to anyone, in any way.
It is helpful, though — to their prison community! (And to their respective communities before they were reunited in the same prison in 2018, after being separated — cruelly and unnecessarily — for 22 years.) They are both involved in programs (not just participating, but creating and leading) that benefit their fellow prisoners greatly. Google “Echo Yard” + Menendez if you want to learn more. Also, they’re both in their 50s now!
I have no educated opinion as to what the verdict should have been, as I never watched any of the courtroom coverage or the dramatizations; everything I knew about the brothers came from the brief updates on NBC News in the early 90s as I’d be eating dinner and what I saw on the covers of supermarket tabloids. However, over the years I’ve known you, Hazel, I’ve had my eyes opened and you’ve laid out fascinating information time and again. I always believe that justice should be done, so whatever comes of new information, corroborating testimony, etc., I hope it brings everything closer to justice. Thank you for educating us!
Thanks for having an open mind, Julie!
I did not know you were on the jury but very interesting to find out by just reading NAPO Point and clicking over here. I have followed this trial in the background all along. I saw some special a few years ago, maybe one of the ones you mentioned, and I feel nobody kills their parent for no reason…I’m sure bad things happened to them so this is a new development. Always wonder why it takes people a long time to come forward. Thanks for letting us know and I always enjoy your Point posts.
Thanks, Stacia! I didn’t talk about my jury experience for 20 years! The events of the past several years changed all that. But it still doesn’t come up naturally in many NAPO conversations. 😉