After spending over 20 years separated behind bars, brothers Lyle and Erik Menendez, convicted of killing their parents after notorious trials in the 1990s, are finally being housed at the same prison — and their reunion was an emotional one.
Until this week, the last time Lyle and Erik Menendez saw each other was Sept. 10, 1996, said Robert Rand, a journalist who has covered the case since 1989 and was a consultant for NBC’s 2017 TV series on the brothers.
That day in 1996, the brothers could see each other across prison a yard but couldn’t talk to each other; they had hoped to be placed in the same prison but were put in separate vans, which took them to separate facilities, Rand told ABC News.
While in separate prisons, they couldn’t talk on the phone, but they did write letters to each other and would play chess by sending moves to each other through snail mail, Rand said. And while behind bars both brothers found wives: Erik has been married for 20 years and Lyle for 14, Rand said.
This Wednesday, after decades apart, the brothers finally came face to face at R.J. Donovan Correctional Facility in San Diego.
Rand, who is still in touch with the Menendez family, said a family member told him that as guards led Lyle down a hallway to see Erik, Lyle “was surprised he wasn’t feeling more emotional.”
But once the guard opened the door and Lyle saw his brother, both Lyle and Erik “burst into tears immediately,” Rand said.
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SOURCE: ABC News, Emily Shapiro, Muriel Pearson and Lauren Effron