Law & Order True Crime (2017): Season 1, Episode 6 - The Menendez Murders: Episode 6 - full transcript

The jury hears from Lyle (Miles Gaston Villanueva) and Erik (Gus Halper) for the first time when the brothers testify in court, recounting in detail the years of sexual abuse that led them ...

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You lied to me.

LYLE: Jamie, please.

You killed your parents.

It will be your job to decide
what kind of killing this is.

And we will prove that
it was done out of fear.

PAM: Based on our evidence
it will become apparent

that this murder was unjustified
and wholly premeditated.

Do you think other kids get
massages from their dad?

ANDY: I didn't really get
what he was trying to tell me.

I was too young.



JILL: What other
behavior did you notice?

All right. I'm gonna end this
line of questioning right now.

Your Honor I move for mistrial.

Motion denied.

LESLIE: Once my
boys take the stand

they will see the connection
between the abuse and the killings.

I will make them see it.

I just wish you
could say the things

and then I'll just say
yes or no. (SIGHS)

That's called leading the
witness. It's not allowed.

We don't want Grandma in
the courtroom for any of it.

She shouldn't
hear it. It'll hurt her.

She won't be there.
We talked to your aunt.

(SIGHS IN EXASPERATION)



I wish I could just write it down
instead of saying it out loud.

(SIGHS)

Oh, my God, Erik,
you are so tense.

Did you take your
Xanax this morning?

No. (SIGHS)

Erik, you made me a promise.

Did you bring any with you?

(SIGHS)

I just... I feel
nauseous, Jilly.

I feel like I'm gonna throw up.

Take some deep breaths.

And I'll get you some water.

It'll help settle your
stomach. Okay.

They are not ready.

It's show time, and
they are not ready.

LYLE: We had a puppy
at the time, when I was six,

her name was Tristesse.

I remember her and
my dad playing outside

and me running out...

Here pup, pup, pup!

(PUP BARKING)

Rawr!

LYLE: That was a good memory.

Do you have a good
memory of your mother?

Yeah. I remember her
taking care of the birds

that would hit the windows
and be like, hurt in some way.

Get him all fixed up. Oh.

She was just
amazing with the birds.

And at this point,

did sports become an
important part of your life?

Yes. They were
everything to my dad,

(sighs) that's what made him
happy and that's what I wanted to do.

JILL: Why'd you want
to make him happy?

So he would love me.

JILL: Did you love
your mom and dad?

Yes.

JILL: And on August 20th, 1989,

did you and your brother
kill your mother and father?

Yes.

What do you believe
was the originating cause

of you and your brother
ultimately shooting your parents?

Um, (SIGHS) me
telling... (SIGHS)

(SIGHS NERVOUSLY)

You telling what?

(INTENSE MUSIC PLAYING)

Me telling Lyle that...
(HESITATINGLY)

(SIGHS)

(SNIFFS)

LESLIE: Was it you telling
Lyle that something happened?

(SIGHS AND SNIFFS)

My dad... (TEARFULLY)

My dad... (SIGHS)

Your Honor can I ask
a leading question?

No, no, he's in the
process of answering.

There's no need.

Can you answer the question?

Yes. (SIGHS)

Okay, it was you
telling Lyle what?

(SIGHS)

That... (GASPS)

my dad had been molesting me.

(WEEPING)

(INDISTINCT CHATTER)

Did your dad use to have talks
with you about sex between men?

Yes. It started when I was
six, after sports practices.

All through history, men
going into battle or competitions

would have sex together,
to form a stronger bond.

Greeks, Romans, Samurais.

Do you like this special
time with your dad, Erik?

ERIK: At first it was
just legs and butt.

And then he started
massaging my penis.

And he made me
do the same to him

LESLIE: What was he
like during these sessions?

At first, he was great.

He... He had never been so
(SIGHS) caring and I loved that.

I wanted him to love me.

You said "at first."
Did that change?

(SIGHS)

If you tell
anyone, I'll kill you.

JILL: Do you
recognize the children

in these photos?

LYLE: That's me,
with the mole here.

And that's Erik.

It was around Erik's birthday.

Dad took photos of us
bending over and stuff.

Did he do other things to you?

It got more involved.

When I was, uh, seven,

he would put me on my knees,

and I would have
oral sex with him.

We'd have what we
call the object sessions.

He would stick a toothbrush

in my anus.

And then he used something else.

What was it?

(SIGHS)

He raped me.

JILL: Did you cry?

(WHIMPERS)

Yes. JILL: Did you bleed?

Yes.

JILL: Were you scared?

(WHIMPERS) Yes.

JILL: Did you ask him not to?

(PANTING)

I just told him I
didn't want to do this

and that it hurt me.

And he said he didn't
mean to hurt me.

That he... That he loved me.

JILL: And that was important
to you, that he loved you?

Yes.

Very.

And during this period, did you
do something to your brother?

Oh, God.

(LYLE PANTING)

I took him out to the woods,

I took a toothbrush (WHIMPERS)

and, oh, God,

I played with him
in the same way.

(SIGHS) Oh. Oh,
God. Erik, I'm so sorry.

I'm so sorry. I'm so...
I'm so sorry. I'm so sorry.

God. (SIGHS)

JILL: Do you remember
telling anyone about the abuse?

Mom? Dad's touching me
and doing things down there.

I want him to stop.

Don't exaggerate, honey.

Your father's just
punishing you.

That's what fathers do.

Mom, I want Dad to stop it.

Don't let you father
see you like that.

Put some drops in your
eyes and don't cry at dinner.

ERIK: When I was eleven,

he had anal sex with me.

What was he like
during those encounters?

(SIGHS)

He was still nice at that point.

He would stop if I
said he was hurting me.

LESLIE: Did he stay "nice"?

No. (SNIFFS)

When I was twelve, (SIGHS)

he wanted me to be in pain.

He (SIGHS) would stick
needles into my legs and butt.

(YOUNG ERIK WHIMPERS)

(CRYING)

LYLE: My father
stopped when I was ten.

(ERIK SCREAMS)

Was that the end of your
sexual abuse in the home?

No.

(SIGHS)

Right there.

Can you press a little harder?

LYLE: My mother was very
loving when I touched her.

But when I was thirteen, I
stopped going into her bed.

JILL: How did she respond?

She turned on me. She
started picking on me, verbally.

Wishing I was dead.

Were you aware of any other
abuse going on in your home?

I thought my father
was abusing Erik.

JILL: Did you decide to
do something about it?

I decided to confront my dad.

Dad. I... I know what's
going on with you and Erik.

I heard noises. And I want
you to leave him alone.

Erik makes up things sometimes,

but okay, it'll stop.

You tell anyone, I'll kill
you. You understand?

(DOOR OPENS)

(GASPS)

If you talk to Lyle
about this again,

I will tie you to a chair
and beat you to death.

Ah!

ERIK: But he didn't
stop. He just got worse.

He was doing all
kinds of sex to me.

Over the years, did you give those
different types of behavior names?

Yes.

(SNIFFS)

Oral sex was "Knees."

There was "nice
sex" and "rough sex."

And... and then there
was just "sex." (SIGHS)

LESLIE: And that was
some form of intercourse?

ERIK: Yes.

I felt sick all the time.

And when I was seventeen,
I just didn't want it anymore.

I just was in a
bad state that day.

And he walked into
my room and I said no.

And he threw me on the
bed and went to get a knife

(GULPS)

and he put it at my throat

and... and he raped me.

Before your father
died in August of 1989

when was the last incidence
of what you called "sex"?

In May of 1989.

LESLIE: And the last
incidence of "knees"?

In August. (SIGHS)
1989. In my bedroom.

I used to have this
"rescue" fantasy.

But no one ever
came to rescue me.

No one except my brother Lyle.

WEISBERG: We'll
take a short recess.

Witness can step down.

And that's how
murderers are made.

All of this squeezing
and patting,

lawyers are not nursemaids
or surrogate mothers.

If you wanted to
engage in that conduct,

you should have gone
into another line of work.

Another line of work?
Because I'm a woman?

That makes no difference to me.

But if you're gonna represent
your gender in my courtroom,

you'll do so by my rules.

I don't represent
anyone but my clients.

But fine, I will take
the Court's cue.

Good. Proceed.

LESLIE: Now, Erik, (SIGHS)

over the summer of 1989,

did you have any hope or dream
for an improvement in your life?

I was going to college.

I applied to something
like thirteen colleges.

LESLIE: Did you get
accepted to any of them?

Uh, Brown was interested.

I'd get a tennis scholarship.

Uh, it... it was all
I thought about.

It was everything in my life.

LESLIE: And what happened?

Dad said he wouldn't pay for
Brown or any schools out of state.

And then I got
accepted at U.C.L.A.

And I wanted to live
on campus in a dorm...

You can have a dorm room,

but I want you home four nights
a week, so I can review your work.

But I can go back
to the dorm to sleep.

No.

You'll sleep here. Four nights a
week. Or I'm not paying for this.

I knew for sure, then.

The sex. It was never gonna end.

And I felt the hope
that I had was gone.

Did you contemplate
any other plan?

Um, I planned to kill myself.

I... I thought I was a coward.

I hated myself for it

and I got a razor blade
and held it against my wrist

But I didn't have
the guts. (SIGHS)

How long before your
dad died did this happen?

It was about ten days before.

Did you consider talking to
anyone about your situation?

To Doctor Oziel?

ERIK: No. He would
just tell my parents.

Uh, no, I thought
of telling Lyle.

I thought... I thought
I couldn't do that.

I thought it would be too
embarrassing to admit it.

And did anything happen to
change your attitude about that?

Yes.

LYLE: Mom, please.
KITTY: You don't need it.

I need it. I don't
care what you want.

But you're not having it.

Please, Mommy, I need
it. It's not that big of a deal.

No, it's important to me.

KITTY: Who do you think you are?

You don't need a
goddamn hairpiece! Ow!

Look. See, you look fine.

You don't need a hairpiece.

ERIK: I was shocked. I didn't
know Lyle's hair wasn't real.

It made me feel I could tell
him about the stuff with Dad.

It made him more approachable.

(PANTS)

Lyle. What?

Lyle, I need to talk to you.

What do you want?

I... (SIGHS)

What?

Lyle, um, (SIGHS)

that stuff with Dad
is still going on.

(INTENSE MUSIC PLAYING)

Do you like it?

Of course, I don't like it!

I hate it! I want to
kill myself! (SIGHS)

Whoa, whoa. Okay. Okay. (COUGHS)

I believe you. All right?

Hey. Hey.

We'll figure something out.

We decided that I'd talk to
our father and I'd make a deal.

I told Erik, you know,
we hold all the cards.

We could ruin him with this.

I know what's going on
with Erik and it needs to end.

You listen to me.

What I do with my son
is none of your business.

Just stay out of it.

Don't throw your life away

(INTENSE MUSIC PLAYING)

Go back to Princeton and we'll forget
this conversation took place. Hmm?

You're a sick person.
You're not touching Erik again.

I'll tell everyone!

(SIGHS AND GRUNTS)

We all make choices in life.

Erik made his.

And now you've made yours.

LYLE: I thought Dad had
no choice, that he'd kill us.

Hey, what's wrong?

(GRUNTS)

You betrayed me. (GASPING)

Lyle thinks he can ruin me.

It's never gonna happen.

(SIGHS)

(ERIK PANTING)

Mom. Mom!

Dad is still doing things
to me. He's molesting me.

(SNIFFS)

I've always known.

Do you think I'm stupid?

(EERIE MUSIC PLAYING)

Dad just tried to attack me.

He said he's not
gonna let you ruin him.

I think they're gonna kill us.

Lyle. Mom bought
another rifle this summer.

They have two rifles
in their bedroom.

We need to get out of the house.

And go where? I don't know.

I'm not gonna just run away
and let Dad find me and kill me.

That's crazy.

Why?

Dad is powerful. Look
who he is, look who Mom is,

there's nowhere we can go where they're
not gonna just find us and kill us. Lyle.

Let's just go to
the police then.

The Beverly Hills police? Yes.

You think they're gonna
believe us over him?

Dad is a rich guy
with a lot of power.

I'm nothing.

They're not gonna protect us.

No one's gonna protect us.

Jesus. They're gonna kill us.

Look at him...

LYLE: My brother felt that no matter
what we did, Dad was too powerful.

Erik was never gonna leave.

And I wasn't gonna
leave without him.

So we decided to
protect ourselves.

ERIK: We needed a driver's
license to get the guns.

Uh, Lyle had his
suspended in May,

and I didn't have mine with me

so I used one Lyle
gave me to get into clubs.

It was his roommate's.

I put mine in my
room, under my bed.

Did you speak to your parents
when you got home that Friday?

Yes, Mom right away came
and said that Dad wanted us

to go on this fishing trip
with them the next day.

And what conclusion
did you draw from this?

Uh, (SIGHS) uh, we thought that
they were gonna kill us on the boat.

I felt less and
less in control of it,

that Erik was gonna do something
to bring it to a confrontation.

So, Saturday we
drove around all day.

The plan was to get home too late
that they would have to go without us.

LYLE: But they waited for us.

We had no choice. We had to go.

ERIK: The whole time we
stayed at the front of the boat,

away from our parents.

And I... I was terrified.

I... I thought we might die.

I thought my Dad could
do it, like he said he would,

and nobody would stop him.

And when you returned home that
night, did you talk to your parents?

Yes.

If you'd kept your mouth shut,

things would've
worked out in this family.

ERIK: I thought she meant
we were over as a family.

That Lyle and I
were gonna be killed.

She'd given that away.

I went right to my room.

(PANTING IN FEAR)

(DOORKNOB RATTLING)

(KNOCK AT DOOR)

JOSE: Open the damn door!

Open, this damn door Erik!

(CONTINUES BANGING DOOR)

Erik, open this door! Now!

Okay. But you're gonna have to
come out of this room tomorrow.

(PANTS)

LYLE: The next day, Sunday, I
woke up and went into the house.

Hello.

I decided I'd go in and try to sort of
see what the atmosphere was like.

Hey, uh, Dad, do you...
Do you have that number

to the Anand Amritraj tennis
camp in Marina Del Rey?

I was thinking I might go

What does it matter anymore?

SPORTS ANNOUNCER: He's
been working the back base

line all day long.

(CROWD CHEERING)

(INDISTINCT ANNOUNCEMENT)

I thought it was his sarcastic
way of saying, you know,

no point talking about tennis
because you'll be dead by then.

Did you have any other conversations
with your parents that Sunday?

Yeah. My brother and I tried
to go to a movie that night.

We're going, Mom.

You're not going out.

Why not? Because I said so.

Shut up, Kitty.
You're not going out.

Erik, go up to your room.
I'll be there in a minute.

(INTENSE MUSIC PLAYING)

No! You're not touching my
little brother. Not ever again.

I do what I want in this family!

Erik is going to his room and
you're not leaving this house.

You ruined this family.

Come on. Come on,
don't waste your time.

They'd never closed
the doors before.

And there was no reason to
make us stay home that night.

And I... I thought it was
happening right then.

I thought they were armed.

(SIGHS) I thought they had made a
plan and were in the process of killing us.

And we got our guns,
we went out to the car...

(PANTS)

(INTENSE MUSIC PLAYING)

(BREATHING HEAVILY)

ERIK: We thought they would come
out of the den with guns any second.

(SNIFFS)

(INTENSE MUSIC CONTINUES)

LYLE: We just burst
through the doors.

(ENTHRALLING MUSIC PLAYING)

(GUN FIRING)

DISPATCHER:
Beverly Hills emergency.

LYLE: Uh, yeah, yeah.
Somebody's, uh, uh...

ERIK: No!

DISPATCHER: What's the problem?

LYLE: Uh, (PANTS).

DISPATCHER: What's the problem?

LYLE: Somebody
killed my parents!

DISPATCHER: What? Who?

Are they still...

On the 911 tape, are you crying?

Yes.

And were you also
lying on that call?

I was.

So you're capable of crying
and lying at the same time?

Your car at the time
was a Ford Escort.

Did you buy a brand-new
Jeep after killing your parents?

I did, but...

So is it fair to say
that killing your parents

made it possible for you
to achieve certain lifestyle.

We thought we were disinherited.

We were concerned that we
would get nothing if our parents died.

Nothing? It never
occurred to you to get a job?

Oh, objection, Your Honor.

My client wasn't asked if
he had intended to get a job.

Overruled.

Really? Really.

(CLEARS THROAT)

PAM: Did you love your mother?

Yes.

And when you put the gun to
her cheek and fired, was that love?

It was confusion. And fear.

(SIGHS)

And you almost got away with it.

Object...

You know, you characterize it
that way and you think it's funny.

But my brother's
and my life were very

miserable for six months
before we got arrested,

and our lives aren't good now.

They never really
have been great.

In some ways, getting arrested,

for my brother, was a relief.

We may go off to
prison, but you know,

some good things
have come of it.

(SIGHS)

(INDISTINCT CHATTERING)

REPORTER 1: Pam, what
did you think of their testimony?

I thought their testimony
was compelling,

just like I think watching Sir
Laurence Olivier act is compelling.

I don't think the general public
listening to this will agree with Pam.

Anyone in the community who's
been impacted by sexual abuse

will have a very
different take than hers.

CONTE: People who've been
psychologically traumatized,

by sex abuse for example,

have a faster biological
response to fear than

someone who's never
been traumatized.

They also exhibit something
called "hyper vigilance,"

where they're constantly
searching their own environment

for anything that
might be dangerous.

Did you find those
traits in Lyle Menendez?

CONTE: Yes.

And can these traits lead
someone to have a sincere

but unreasonable belief that
their life is in imminent danger?

Yes.

Thank you. Nothing further.

Approach, Your Honor?

Your Honor, since the defense put
the defendants' mental state at issue,

the People request the Court
unseal the December 1989 tape

of the defendants'
session with Doctor Oziel.

The California Supreme Court
ruled that tape was inadmissible

due to patient-therapist
privilege.

That no longer applies.

Your clients waived
confidentiality

when they tendered
their mental condition

as the centerpiece
of their defense.

The tape is in.

Your Honor, you can't overrule
the California Supreme Court.

Just watch me.

I'll be unsealing the tape.

It'll be an issue for appeal.

It's too late.

Have you heard
those tapes lately?

Oziel, the Great Satan,

leading our boys into saying
whatever it is he wants them to say,

so he can blackmail them.

Well, they both sounded,
especially Lyle, so cold-blooded.

I know. (SIGHS)

Even though there's a
reason for it, it is bad.

REPORTER: Halloween revelers
dressing up as the infamous

Menendez Brothers,
some to show their support.

The Menendez brothers
are survivors, man.

That's all they're guilty of.

MAN: Yeah.

Anyone who's ever
been raped or abused...

MAN: It's my day. (LAUGHING) ...knows
that Erik and Lyle are the real victims.

(ALL CHEERING)

Well, at least we have the
support of one community.

Screw Weisberg.

We win by being honest,

by not turning
away from the truth.

Miss Abramson,
what are you doing?

If the tape is in, it's in,
Your Honor. (SIGHS)

But the defense will
present it to the jury.

Your Honor, objection.

It is my prerogative,
Your Honor.

Overruled, Miss
Bozanich. Proceed.

This tape was recorded
on December 11th, 1989

by Doctor Jerome Oziel.

On it, you will hear his voice,

along with the voices of
Erik and Lyle Menendez.

(RECORDER CLICKS)

OZIEL: How much did you
feel that you were killing your dad

because of what he
was doing to you each

and how much did you
feel you were killing your dad

in part because of what
he did to your mom?

LYLE: My father
should be killed.

There was no question, based
on what he was doing to my...

To my mother.

OZIEL: Erik. Lyle's
doing all the talking.

Do you have anything
to say on this?

ERIK: My father and mother
were two people I loved.

It doesn't matter what
they actually were.

I would've taken any
other choice. (SIGHS)

I may not have had a choice at
the time, but, um, I regret it now.

LYLE: I think Erik's biggest pain is that
you miss having these people around.

I miss not having my dog around,
if I can make such a gross analogy.

No emotion. Might as well
have been cutting steak.

Let's get Mama out of here.

She knows what she heard.

Mama knows more than you think.

LESLIE: You're right, Jill,

the tape doesn't mention abuse.

But it also didn't say
that they killed for money.

They were trying very hard
not to tell Oziel about the abuse.

Oh, that's... I
think that's the call.

(PHONE BEEPS)

Uh, hello. Uh,
yes, this is Leslie...

Uh, yes, we'll be right there.

(SIGHS IN RELIEF)

Oh. I want to see him so badly.

We have to wait till
she signs the papers.

Oh. (SIGHS)

Would you like to
meet your new son?

Yes. (LAUGHS)

LYLE: Oh, my God.
MARTA: Ay, mira.

He's so handsome.

He took seven hours to come out.

Oh, he's beautiful.

LYLE: Oh, Leslie,
he's so precious.

His name is Aidan.

MARTA: Oh, that
is such a nice name.

This is my baby.

COURT CLERK: All rise.

OZIEL: Judalon, there was
fourteen million involved in this.

But you did what you did,
and that's what you did.

(RECORDER CLICKS)

LESLIE: (SIGHS) And what
did you think Doctor Oziel meant?

No. Shut up.

JUDALON: That the brothers
were very rich, and that Jerry,

Doctor Oziel,

was in the position to get
a lotta money outta them.

Shut up. Shut up. Shut up. And now
he wasn't because they'd been arrested.

Thank you. Nothing more.

Miss Smyth, you stated earlier
that you went to Doctor Oziel

wanting to be married
and to have children.

Hasn't it been your
primary motive in all of this,

to strong-arm Doctor
Oziel into marrying you?

Incorrect.

You did testify that you
wanted marriage and children.

I did not want children
who looked like Doctor Oziel.

(CROWD LAUGHING)

You bitch!

Our children would've
been gorgeous!

KURIYAMA: Miss Pisarcik,

is there anything you'd
like to say concerning

Erik's testimony about
his brother's hairpiece?

Erik knew about Lyle's
toupee long before the murders.

We laughed about it in the
spring or early summer of 1989,

when I visited Lyle in L.A.

Let me take you now to the months
after Lyle Menendez's arrest in 1990.

Did he ask you to do
some research for him

at the Santa Monica courthouse.

Yes, he asked me
to look up law cases,

he gave me the names and
numbers of cases with child molestation

where the kids had killed
their parents and gotten off.

It was at that point that I
began to doubt Lyle's innocence.

Thank you. Nothing further.

What months would you
consider spring and early summer?

JAMIE: I'd say
March through June.

You were waitressing in New
Jersey during those months, correct?

Yes, but I visited Lyle in L.A.

See, I have here
your time cards.

You worked six days a week.

When did you find time
to fly to Los Angeles

and joke with Erik
about Lyle's toupee?

I'm not sure.

LESLIE: All right, I'll move on.

When you did legal research for
Lyle at the Santa Monica courthouse,

what books did you use?

I'm not sure I remember.

Uh, was it a book like this?

With, uh, cases and
judge's opinions?

Yeah. Just like that one.

How many published
cases did you find

in which molested children were
acquitted of killing their parents?

Maybe three.

(INTENSE MUSIC PLAYING)

Now you see,
that's not possible.

Did you know that only convictions
are published in these books?

Not acquittals.

(PHONE RINGING)

Hello Lansing residence. Oh, hi!

Who's there? Orange who?

(LAUGHS)

That's funny. Mommy...

Mmm-hmm. It's Lyle.

You telling Lila
knock-knock jokes again?

(LAUGHS)

The summation is going well.

I'm halfway through
the third draft...

I like that. I'll
try to work it in.

But Lyle, please get some sleep.

I need you relaxed
tomorrow, okay?

Goodnight.

Dominick Dunne
has lost his mind.

(SHUSHING)

Listen to this.

"If Jose did stick
needles and tacks

"into his son's
thighs and buttocks..."

(SHUSHING) "didn't Erik bleed?

"Didn't he have scabs?

"I tried sticking a
thumbtack into my buttocks

"and I bled."

Dominick Dunne sticking
a tack in his scrawny butt.

That's a lovely image.

(BABY GURGLES)

He's the best.

He reminds me why I do this.

(MELLOW MUSIC PLAYING)

(BABY GURGLING)

Tsk, tsk, tsk...

(SIGHS)

This is why we're here.

We're not here to try Jose and
Kitty Menendez for being bad parents.

Or Jose Menendez for being
an alleged child molester.

And we're certainly not here in
the malpractice trial of Doctor Oziel.

We're here because the
defendants did this to their parents.

In 1989, these brothers
were not intimidated children,

but selfish, greedy,
arrogant men.

Erik was afraid, all right.

Afraid he'd have to get off his
butt and work, like all the rest of us.

Even if you believe
in the child abuse,

it doesn't mean Lyle Menendez is not
guilty of cold-blooded first-degree murder.

Put yourself in that room.

Think about what
it smelled like,

felt like in that darkened den.

Only one verdict is possible.

Erik Menendez is guilty of two
counts of first-degree murder.

The defense isn't asking you to say
that what these brothers did was right,

or even reasonable.

But if you believe they
were genuinely afraid,

the crime they're guilty
of is Manslaughter.

These crimes weren't planned.

They used the loudest
guns they could buy,

on a summer's night when their
neighbors had their windows open.

They made no plan to dispose of
the guns and the bloody clothing.

And they left shotgun shells in the car
and parked the car in front of their house

when they went
to call the police.

After a lifetime of terror,
these children were terrorized.

After a lifetime of threats,
they felt threatened.

It may be hard for you to
believe that these parents,

Jose and Kitty Menendez,
would have killed their sons.

But is it so hard to understand

why these children would believe
that their parents would kill them?

These photographs,
tragic as they are,

were put here by the
prosecution for no other reason

but to so inflame you
against the defendants

that you would forget to ask
the most important question,

"Why did this happen?"

I look at these
photos and I ask,

where are the photos

of Jose Menendez bending
his twelve year-old son

over the bed so that
he can go all the way

in spite of Erik's screams?

There is such a picture.

Unfortunately, it only
exists in Erik's mind.

I cannot show you the photos of the crimes
Jose Menendez committed against Erik.

But you heard some of the
things he liked to do to his little boy,

and one of them was to take tacks
like this and stick them in his thighs

and his butt

and to run needles
along his penis.

There is one issue
facing the jury.

Viewed through his entire life,

based on what
happened that week,

is it possible Erik and his
brother honestly believed

that their parents
were going to kill them?

I don't ask you to pity Erik.

But I do ask you to
understand how his childhood

put him on a collision
course with violence.

I want to tell you a story
(SIGHS) from my life.

When I was a child, my mother
hit me with a wooden coat hanger.

I was so mad, I hit her back.

It was the scariest thing I
have ever done in my life.

But it happened in an instant

from a wellspring
of panic and fear.

Like this. Panic and fear.

Lyle protected
his little brother.

If he had protected his
little sister named Erika,

would it make a
difference to you?

It shouldn't.

I ask you not to turn
away from the pain,

and to see it for what it was
and what it did to Lyle Menendez.

I ask you to return a verdict
of involuntary manslaughter.

I apologize if I (SIGHS) can't
just wind it up and sit down.

I don't want to let go of Erik.

I have had him in my hands all this
time and now I have to give him up to you.

You know, if people
were to ask me,

after three and a half years of
thinking about Erik every single day,

what it is I want out of this?

I want to see him
walk down a street,

not in chains or shackles.

To fulfill my dream,

you would have to come
in with a verdict of not guilty.

(SIGHS IN EXASPERATION)

And if you don't
feel you can do that,

I would ask that you come in

with a verdict of
involuntary manslaughter,

because I believe that's
what the evidence shows.

(WHISPERS) Thank you.

You've had him a long
time. How about I take over?

Tonight? No?

Not a chance.

It's been six hours, we
haven't heard a peep.

You don't really expect
a quick verdict, do you?

Your friend in the
Deputy's office,

maybe he heard something
from his buddies in Van Nuys...

Les, you gotta at
least take this night off.

It's outta your hands.

(SIGHS)

I know how you hate that.

Yeah...

(GURGLES)

Oh, look, Aidan,

we have five stars out tonight.

That's almost a record for L.A.

Oh. (SIGHS)

Let's you and me say a
little prayer together, okay?

(SIGHS)

(SIGHS)

(THEME MUSIC PLAYING)

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