The resurgence of the Menendez brothers case


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Today’s social media users are weighing in on the Menendez brother’s trial verdict.

The infamous case of the murderous Menendez brothers has made its way back into the public eye after being re-ignited by the current generation through popular social media apps like TikTok. 

If you are familiar with the case, it is public knowledge that Erik and Lyle Menendez, sons of an affluent family, were convicted and are currently serving life sentences for the murder of their parents in their California home back in 1989.

The brothers’ behavior after the shooting was quite incriminating as they partied, gambled and went on luxurious shopping sprees after hinting to the authorities that this may have been a Mafia hit against their father. 

It took approximately seven years and three trials for Erik and Lyle Menendez to be found guilty for their parents’ murder.

TikTok has served as the vehicle by which many young people have been introduced to true crime stories such as this one. Teens on the app have shared their new found interest in this case. The spark in this new interest appears to be purely superficial, as images of the then handsome young men are being used for the visual content of passionate music. Others appear to have genuine interest in the case and seem to be trying to investigate it. 

The majority of young people interested in this story appear to be defending the brothers and are even advocating for them to get out of prison after 31 years. It seems as though many are sympathetic towards the Menendez brothers, due to the supposed molestation allegation against Jose Menendez, their father. 

The brothers professed that their prime motive for murder was to stop this assumed sexual assault that their own father was inflicting upon them since childhood. With that said, some people think their life sentencing in prison is unjust. 

People who are opposing the defenders of the Menendez brothers believe that there is no justifying their actions. To counteract the ideas of the defenders, they argue that sexual assault is not a viable scapegoat for murder. The opposing side states that the brothers’ sentences should not be altered to accommodate the alleged trauma they endured in their youth. 

Many believed that these murders could have been avoided altogether, considering that the brothers were adults at the time of the murders. They were each sportsmen. They had busy social lives and plans on leaving for college to live their lives independent of their parents. 

In contrast, the defense wanted the jury to believe that they were helpless and referred to them as “The Boys.” This approach is evident in the way they advised them to dress for court appearances, as well using pastel colored knits. 

The facts led prosecutors to believe that the brothers murdered their parents in hopes of gaining the family fortune ahead of time. Later on in the case, as evidence was compiled, this assumption was supported and enough to convict Erik and Lyle Menendez for the murders of Jose and Kitty Menendez. At the end of the trial, the murders were what the brothers did not deny the murders. The abuse that may have occurred in the family was not why they were on trial.

In sum, it’s a great that the upcoming generation is taking an interest in court cases or “true crime.” However, we must keep in mind that we will never really know what led these two to their fate no matter how much one studies a case. We also tend to want to opine on matters with what we know about society in our time, not considering the collective mindset of society in the early 1990’s.

The legal system is extremely complicated where trials are often seen as who can tell a better story to justify crimes, rather than seeking justice and protecting society from those that don’t play by the rules. 

If you’re interested in more information you can watch ABC’s 20/20, Inside the Menendez Movement to learn more about how the current public’s fascination is bringing attention to this case.