Sunday, June 16, 2024

Erik Menendez Letter Written Months Before Parents’ Murders Spurs Bombshell Court Order

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Los Angeles Superior Court Judge William C. Ryan is demanding answers from L.A. County District Attorney George Gascón about explosive evidence of sexual abuse that was kept from a jury deciding the fate of two of California’s most notorious killers—Erik and Lyle Menendez—at the brothers’ 1996 retrial.

The Menendez brothers have steadfastly maintained that they shot their father Jose Menendez and their mother, Kitty Menendez to death in their Beverly Hills mansion on August 20, 1989 in a desperate act of self-defense after a lifetime of sexual and physical abuse. Prosecutors argued against that theory—characterizing the approach as the “abuse excuse”—by insisting that the brothers were greedy, spoiled monsters who slaughtered their parents in cold blood and then went on a spending spree.

Now the superior court judge wants answers about what was excluded from the jury.

The judge issued an order Wednesday requesting Gascón, whose office prosecuted the Menendez brothers in two different trials (the first ended in a hung jury), explain whether his lawyers exercised due diligence in pursuing evidence that father Jose was in fact abusive. The judge points to a letter uncovered by the brothers’ lawyers and written by Erik Menendez to his cousin eight months before the sensational killings detailing horrific abuse.

“I’ve been trying to avoid dad. It’s still happening Andy but it’s worse for me now. I can’t explain it. He so overweight that I can’t stand to see him. I never know. When it’s going to happen and it’s driving me crazy. Every night, I stay up thinking he might come,” Erik wrote in the chilling hand-scrawled cry for help.  “I don’t know I’ll make it through this.”

The recipient of the letter, Andrew Cano, testified in the 1996 trial, but prosecutors called him a liar and continued to argue that “the abuse never happened.” The team would repeatedly tell juries that Jose Menendez was not the “kind of man that would” abuse children, insisting he was “not a violent and brutal man.” The judge wants Gascón to explain how diligently his office dug into the claims of abuse, or Jose Menendez’s behavior at the time of the killings.

“Much of the evidence of abuse was excluded,” the judge wrote in the order filed Wednesday.

Now Gascón has 30 days to file a response. “We received the court’s order today and the assigned DDA is in the process of reviewing all of the case files and transcripts to specifically address the questions posed by the court,” Gascón’s spokesman told Los Angeles.

Gascón’s office has not responded to a writ of habeaus corpus filed by the Menendez brothers’ lawyers, Mark Geragos (co-owner of Engine Vision Media, parent company of Los Angeles) and Cliff Gardner, in early May.

The writ also details the claim from “Roy” Rossello Diaz, a former member of the iconic boy band Menudo, that Jose Menendez anally raped him. Rossello told the producers of the new Peacock documentary Menendez + Menudo: Boys Betrayed that he shared a limousine with Menendez after a concert in New York City when he was 14 that took them to a mansion in New Jersey were “he was given wine,” and “then lost consciousness and woke up back in his hotel. He was bleeding from the anus. He was in unbearable pain for a week.”

The judicial order is a stunning reversal of fortune that moves the Menendez brothers case closer to a possible retrial, and their possible release after decades behind bars.

Read the Court Order

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