Menendez Miracles

Who could have guessed there would be a resurgence of interest in this case almost 3 decades later?

It’s a never-ending story, and this page will be updated as events continue to unfold!

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Miracle #1: The Reveal

On August 3, 2017, 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 series itself was a revelation to many watchers who had only previously been exposed to the prosecution-biased media.

Miracle #2: The Reunion

Lyle & Erik were reunited on April 4, 2018. (See News below.)

Miracle #3: The Release

Erik & Lyle walking free after 30 years? Why not? Miracles happen every day!


December 2020: A new documentary explores how the media affected the Menendez trials. I was interviewed COVID-style, and audio-only, with me in Albuquerque, and my interviewers in London. The Crimes That Changed Us (episode 4) — ID Investigation Discovery.

July 2020: Court TV has uploaded the complete first trial courtroom video footage to their website. It is conveniently separated into 121 segments. So now, at long last, if you are so inclined, you can see for yourself what happened in court. There is also a new Court TV 6-part podcast, featuring soundbites from me.

March 13, 2020: Menendez brothers deserve a second chance (by Chandra Bozelko, for Daily Press)

March 8, 2020: Lyle and Erik have spent a full 30 years behind bars, with no possibility of parole. After being separated for 22 years, they have spent the last 2 years together at the same prison in San Diego. Had they been sentenced to manslaughter, instead of murder, they would have both served a maximum of 22 years and been free now for 8 years. #JusticeforErikandLyle

February 14, 2020: 10News Article + Video — Menendez brothers help paint massive mural as part of innovative prison program. Lyle and Erik have made it their mission (for years now) to improve the lives of their fellow inmates.

August 20, 2019 marks 30 years since Lyle and Erik killed their parents Jose and Kitty Menendez in their Beverly Hills mansion. It was a family tragedy that continues to this day. If the brothers had been convicted of manslaughter, instead of murder, they would have served a maximum sentence of 22 years. Instead, they’ve been behind bars for nearly 30 years despite changes in California law and improved psychological and societal understanding of domestic abuse. Click here to read #Menendez30.

June 2019: Read Robert Rand’s blog post: A day in the life of Lyle Menendez at the Richard J. Donovan Correctional Facility

January 2019: 25th anniversary of two hung juries, one for Erik, one for Lyle, after the first trial. My #Menendez25 “25 Years Ago Today” Facebook and Twitter campaign spanned the 7 months from jury selection in June 2018 to the two deadlocked juries in January 2019.

Sept 2018: Release of journalist Robert Rand’s long-awaited book, The Menendez Murders. The manuscript for this book was the primary source material for NBC’s 2017 Law & Order True Crime: The Menendez Murders 8-part series. Click here to learn more about The Juror & The Journalist.

April 2018: After a cruel and unnecessary 22-year separation, 6 years of petitioning, and 28 years behind bars, Erik & Lyle were reunited on April 4 at Richard J. Donovan Correctional Facility in San Diego. They are both now living in the experimental Echo Yard, where they get to see each other every day. I call it Miracle #2.

Upcoming Events

  •  None at this time. Updated Feb.23, 2020.


Q: Out of all the 30 years worth of Menendez books, documentaries, dramatizations, podcasts, etc., which ones do you recommend?

A: Hazel’s Top Menendez Picks

Q: Did you base your book on your courtroom notes?

A: No. Although they did let us keep our courtroom notebooks at the end, we had to turn them in at the end of each day during the trial. It was because the judge admonished us on a daily basis to not talk to anyone about the trial that I went home each evening and wrote about what I’d seen and heard. Just the highlights and the things that impressed me one way or another. To relieve the stress of the trial. So I could sleep at night. The diary is the diary. No more and no less. The first publisher wanted me to add gory details, and gossip about my fellow jurors. I said no, I don’t care if you want it or not. But if you do want it, you have to take it as it is. (Plus commentaries, prefaces, postscripts, chronologies, etc.)

Q: How many times have you been summoned to jury duty?

A: 7 times thus far:

1. CA — Selected for a gang rape trial that settled out of court before it began. I like to think the defendants (assuming they were guilty) took one look at me (and heard what I had to say in voir dire) and decided they had no chance. I was the only one who admitted to ever having seen a movie about gang rape (in particular, The Accused, 1988, Jodie Foster).
2. 1993 CA — Selected for 1st Menendez brothers murder trial. Served 7 months and wrote a book: Hung Jury: The Diary of a Menendez Juror. The 2nd, unjust, trial resulted in 1st degree murder convictions. They have been behind bars since 3/8/90.
3. 1994 CA — Summoned just weeks after Menendez 1 ended. (Asked for and received a deferral.)
4. CA — Selected for a civil case involving a black man who robbed someone on the street and ran down an alley. Seemed to me (and others) that he did it, but the black jurors felt there was too great a chance he was mistaken for another black man. (Hung jury.)
5. CA — Civil case involving spray paint. Voir dire question: Have you ever read the directions on a can of spray paint? My answer: You mean the part where you’re not supposed to spray it in your eyes? (Dismissed, lol!)
6. 2016 NM — Biggest Case in NM state history. Or so I heard. James Boyd homeless man shooting in the Sandia foothills by two police officers. (Dismissed…eventually…)
7. 2018 NM — Not selected for first two trials I was in void dire for, but still on call for a few more days. First day: The clerk called dozens of names before he called mine. I said, “Here,” like everyone else did, and he replied, “Welcome back Ms. Thornton.” !!!!! Turns out he remembered me from the James Boyd trial (from which I was dismissed), which had a pool of HUNDREDS of jurors. I asked if he remembered anything else about me. He thought for a moment and said, “You were on another trial….in another state…” When pressed, he did NOT remember which trial, LOL! This is not a story about me, it’s a story about him and his amazing memory!

Q: Was it “thrilling” to be on Oprah? And to “corner” her?

A: No. Here’s why…

Q: It must have been a pay cut for you, taking time off from being an engineer to getting your $5 a day as a juror…?

A: No! The court was careful to not choose any jurors to whom it would be a financial hardship to serve for 7 months. My company at the time, Pacific Bell, paid my entire salary the entire time.


NOTE: If you have a question, please contact me.


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