Transcript for Lyle and Erik Menendez Start Getting into Trouble: Part 2
My fellow Americans, I have spoken to you from this historic office -- For 20 years, the Menendez family had been living in princeton, New Jersey. And then Jose became an executive with carolco pictures and live entertainment, and the family moved to California in 1987. Initially, the Menendez family lived in the Los Angeles suburb of calabasas. And they were really, really proud to have this house that they had found there, and they were remodeling it. There was tennis courts and everything else available there, and this is just the most beautiful setting. I think the cheapest property in here is probably 2 million, and it goes all the way up to 20, 22 million. Frankie Avalon raised his six children here, Robert Blake lived here. Bruce Jenner, when he was Bruce Jenner, had a house here. There are helicopter sports, so that people can come from Hollywood where they're doing a movie, and come right out by helicopter to their house. Very spoiled, a lot of the kids. A lot of kids got involved with drugs. This is Mulholland highway just starting into calabasas. 25 years ago, this was all open land. Erik and I used to come up here all the time, this is about eight to nine minutes from our high school. And we used to do some writing up here and look out over the valley. Erik and I, we just hit it off from the beginning. We both were chess players, we were both thinkers, we were both kind of outside the box in school. We were in our rebellious phase and independent phase of 16, 17 years old. And we just had something that clicked. He was a little bit different, he was pretty ostentatious and he was flamboyant, but well-liked. He would do things like walk into a store and if somebody wouldn't immediately help him, he would jump up on a table and start throwing shoes and say, "I'm here to buy something." He made himself known and he was a presence. And he wanted what he wanted and found a way to get it. Erik and Lyle Menendez kept screwing up. They were hanging out with a group of friends that began doing what was called hot prowls, in which they would sneak into a house when nobody was there and think about committing a burglary. But it was just a group of suburban kids that were, you know, dreaming about the fantasy of committing a crime. At one point, Lyle Menendez actually committed a burglary with several of his friends. Lyle had taken some things from a girlfriend's house and showed his little brother that he had done this crime. And his little brother said, "Well, I can do the same thing." And Erik went in and stole something, but then wanted to put it back before anybody knew. He just wanted to show his older brother that it could be done. The initial victims were the parents of some of their friends. And in the first burglary, over $100,000 of items were taken out of the house, including cash and jewelry taken from a safe. Now, it was my understanding that their burglaries consisted of backing up a moving van to a house that was empty, and cleaning out the house, which is different from breaking into a house and stealing the family's silver. What's that about? I think they were practicing to be criminals. I think they thought being criminals would be a fun way to earn a living. They just got bored with life and they wanted excitement. They wanted challenges. And robbing houses was a challenge. Something they tried to get away with, and they didn't think they'd be caught. They wind up getting arrested, and Jose, in his inimitable way, decided that he was going to quickly put it to rest. He didn't want it in the newspapers, and he went out and he visited every one of the homes that had been robbed. And he asked them what the value was of anything that was missing. And they gave him a number, a price, of what they felt that it was worth. He apologized, and his son apologized, and he wrote them a check right on the spot. Joe, when he found out that the children had been arrested for the things they had done in calabasas, he was upset that they had gotten caught. The main message was, "How stupid of you to get caught. You're like sheep that follow. You're not leaders." And he was ashamed by them getting caught. Because I think Jose thought that life was about winning. And probably it was not as important how you got there. I think the parents lost control of them, in part because they were in a culture where money can buy you anything, not just the BMW or the designer jeans. It can buy you a free pass out of trouble. When poor kids do a burglary, like they go to their neighbor's house and take the big screen TV, they go to juvenile court or they go on probation or something like that. When rich kids do it, they go to the psychiatrist. So, I'm fairly certain that that was part of their court-ordered treatment for their burglary problem. All I know is that they both got probation. They gave the stuff back and I think it was shortly thereafter, they moved down to Beverly hills and left the calabasas area, and Jose kind of said, "Let's distance ourselves from the calabasas crowd." There are people, a great number of people, who think that you two are spoiled brats. What do you say to them? I don't know that there's anything that I can say to them. Because I came from a family of weal wealth, it doesn't make me spoiled. I'm just a Normal kid. Oh, Erik, you're a Normal kid who killed your parents. Yeah, I know. And you still say you're a Normal kid? Well, I didn't have Normal experiences, but I am. I did that and there's not a day that goes by that I don't think about what happened and wish that I could -- I could take that moment back. Is it hard for you, Lyle? It is. It is difficult to be -- your whole 28 years, defined by a day. Lyle Menendez was the alpha male of these two brothers. He was the one with the charisma, with a kind of sinister intelligence, high-functioning but cunning. And more than anything, he had a willpower, like his father, who mastered Hollywood by being ruthless and cunning and capable of destroying adversaries in business. I think the Menendez brothers were close, because they were fighting the common enemy, which was their father. He believed that life is like war and that anything do to achieve your end is fine, including, it turns out, killing your parents.
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