New evidence could mean a long shot at freedom for the Menendez brothers, who are serving life sentences after being convicted in 1996 of murdering their parents.
An upcoming Peacock docuseries titled “Menendez + Menudo: Boys Betrayed” looks back on the infamous case, revealing new sexual assault allegations against the Menendez brothers’ father.
Lyle and Erik Menendez were convicted of murdering their parents, José and Mary Louise, known as “Kitty”, at their Beverly Hills mansion in 1989. The defense argued the brothers killed out of fear after they threatened to expose their father for years. abuse.
The sexual abuse testimony was ruled inadmissible at the climactic trial, with the judge citing irrelevance. The brothers, following two hung juries and a mistrial, were convicted of first degree murder and sentenced to life in prison.
Roy Rosselló, a former member of 1980s Puerto Rican boy band Menudo, alleged in a clip from the docuseries airing Tuesday on “Today” that he was raped as a teenager by José Menendez, who linked up with Menudo when he signed them for RCA Records, where he was an executive.
Rosselló said he was also sexually abused by the band’s founder and former manager, Edgardo Diaz, and it was through Diaz that he met José Menendez. Rosselló said Diaz once brought him to the Menendez house, where he said José Menendez drugged and raped him.
“This is the man here who raped me,” he says in the clip, pointing to a photo of José Menendez. ” This guy. He’s the pedophile.
Menudo was founded in 1977 and caused a stir around the world as a boy band for decades, following a rule established by Diaz that once a member of the band reached the age of 16, they were replaced.
Rosello has already made accusations against Diaz, the former manager. In 2014, he alleged during an appearance on the Brazilian show “Domingo Espectacular” that he and fellow Menudo member, singer Ricky Martin, were sexually abused by Diaz. In a 2022 HBO documentary, “Menudo: Forever Young,” other former band members made similar accusations.
Diaz has denied the allegations made against him. Martin has never publicly commented on the allegations made by his former bandmates.
Rosselló’s allegations were relayed by phone to the Menendez brothers, both of whom are incarcerated at the Richard J. Donovan Correctional Center in San Diego.
“I feel horrible,” Erik Menendez said. “It’s sad to know that there has been another victim of my father. I always hoped and believed that one day the truth about my father would come out. But I never wanted it to come out like this is the result of a trauma that another child suffered, and that makes me very sad.
“It was pretty overwhelming to hear that,” Lyle Menendez said. “We’ve heard rumors that something might have happened with Menudo over the years. It’s a remarkable thing to happen so many decades later… Of course you know it would have made a difference in the Certainly, it would have made a huge difference because the whole trial was centered on belief about these events.”
In August 1989, José was shot six times and Kitty 10 times with a 12-gauge shotgun in the den of their house. At the time of the murders, Lyle, a student at Princeton, and Erik, an aspiring professional tennis player, denied any involvement. The brothers came under intense scrutiny when they started spending lavishly after their parents died, with prosecutors later claiming they were seeking access to the family’s $14million estate .
The trial became a Court TV sensation.
Alan Jackson, a criminal defense attorney, told NBC News the new allegations gave a “glimmer of hope” to the release of the Menendez brothers. Jackson said they would have to file a motion to be reviewed by a Superior Court judge, who must grant a new trial which the defense must then win.
“I hope it makes a difference. You’d think it would in a fair world,” Lyle Menendez said in the docuseries, which airs May 2. “If we really live in this fair world, I guess we will find out.”
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