May 4, 2023 | 11:06 p.m.
The Menendez brothers – who were found guilty of murdering their parents at their Beverly Hills mansion – say new evidence leaves no doubt their father sexually abused them before his horrific murder.
Erik, 52, and Lyle Menendez, 55, asked the court to overturn their 1996 convictions after an NBC documentary series revealed allegations that their father assaulted an underage former member of the Puerto Rican boy band the 1980s “Menudo”, according to the Los Angeles Times.
The file also includes a recently found letter Erik sent to a cousin eight months before the murders, suggesting he was abused by his father.
“The new evidence not only shows that Jose Menendez was a very violent and brutal man who sexually abused children, but it strongly suggests that in fact he was still abusing Erik Menendez as late as 1988,” the filing obtained by the Los Angeles Times.
The brothers were convicted of shooting and killing their parents, Jose and Kitty, in 1989.
They claimed their mother and father physically and sexually abused them for years, and in their first trials jurors were unable to reach a verdict.
But both men were convicted at their second trial in 1996 and sentenced to life terms.
The legal filing obtained by the LA Times includes a handwritten note from Erik to cousin Andy Cano who allegedly died in 2003.
“I tried to avoid dad. It keeps happening Andy but it’s worse for me now. I can’t explain it,” read part of the note. “He’s so overweight that I can’t bear to see him. I never know when it’s going to happen and it drives me crazy.
“Every night I lay awake thinking he might come in. I have to get him out of my mind,” the note also reads, with Erik concluding that his dad told him to “tell anyone about it.”
Boy band member Roy Rossello claimed he was drugged and raped when he was 13 or 14 by Jose Menendez, who was a senior RCA executive in the 1980s, according to court documents.
Peacock’s docuseries “Menendez + Menudo: Boys Betrayed” first addressed Rossello’s allegations which examined accusations that members of the Latin band were abused by the band’s creator, Edgardo Diaz, the LA reported. Times.
During a trip to New York in 1983 or 1984, Diaz asked Rossello to join Jose Menendez in a limo that took them to a house in New Jersey, according to legal filing. Inside the house, Rossello was given wine by Menendez and then was anally raped, the brothers’ legal team claims.
Rossello signed a statement detailing those charges, according to the legal filing.
“If the jurors had seen the letter Erik Menendez wrote to Andy Cano and learned that Jose Menendez had orally raped and orally copulated a 13- or 14-year-old boy in 1984, the prosecutor could not have said that “the abuse never happened”, pleads the court file.
The brothers’ previous appeals were dismissed by the courts, the LA Times reported.
The brothers’ legal team is pushing for an evidentiary hearing or for the convictions to be overturned.
The defense at the first trial presented numerous abuse allegations against the slain parents, but the second trial limited the abuse charges that could be brought, the filing said.
Prosecutors dismissed the idea that the Menendez brothers had been abused by their parents before the murders, according to the legal filing.