On the night of August 20, 1989, entertainment industry executive Jose Menendez and his wife Kitty were brutally gunned down inside their Beverly Hills home. The murders sent shock waves through the usually serene neighborhood, but even more stunning was the police investigation, which revealed their two sons, Lyle and Erik Menendez, as the prime suspects. The ensuing murder trial, televised by Court TV, sparked a media frenzy and made celebrities of the young men and their defense teams. In a startling move, the pair took the stand and recounted lurid tales of years of abuse they allegedly suffered at the hands of their parents.
Their testimony, coupled with the prosecution's disturbing revelations surrounding the savageness of the crime, left the juries, as well as the nation, sharply divided on the young men's fate. On January 13, 1994, nearly five years after the murders, the judge was forced to declare a mistrial when both juries were unable to reach decisions on manslaughter or murder charges. Their retrial in 1996 found both Lyle and Erik guilty of first-degree murder, and the two are now serving life sentences in prison with no possibility of parole.