Lyle Menendez Says Abuse Stories Gave Him ‘Courage’ to Testify

From prison, Lyle Menendez tells NBC4 he had no intention of ever taking the stand and testifying during his 1993 murder trial. 

"My plan was to sit there silently at trial and not say anything," he said.

In 1993, as a single camera rolled and the world watched, Lyle Menendez made the difference.

"The most dramatic moment of the first Menendez trial was the day Lyle Menendez took the witness stand," said reporter Robert Rand. "It was just extremely powerful testimony" 

Lyle’s rape allegations influenced a changed point of view for some of those following the trial.

He said he tried to convince his brother, Erik Menendez, not to reveal that they were allegedly molested, but then Lyle had a change of heart.

"I started to get so many letters from people who had had similar experiences that gave me some courage and some feeling like I needed to do this, I needed to talk about it," Lyle Menendez said. 

Both brothers decided to testify and many in the courtroom became emotional.

"There were family members crying, there were reporters crying, there were jurors," Rand said.

Lyle said he never considered what he said in court would be a game-changer.

"In the end you’re going to be convicted, this is not going to amount to anything at all. That’s how I felt early on," he said.

It was hearing from so many others that began to change the way he felt about the crimes he had committed. Lyle Menendez said it gave him courage.

On the witness stand, Lyle didn’t reveal what he carried in his pocket. It was a letter from a woman in San Diego. It was one of the many he received from those who shared their own stories of abuse.

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