Mendez murderers ?
Mendez murderers ?
Detective Les Zoeller and his partner detective Tim Linehan headed the investigation into the Menendez murders. It was a momentous task, spanning opposite coasts of America, involving countless interviews, numerous suspects and various theories as to who had committed the crime and for what reason.
Adding to police suspicions about Lyle and Erik’s involvement in the murders was the fact that they had begun a spending spree days after their parents’ death and had continued to lead extravagant lives of luxury ever since. In addition, it emerged that on 31 August 1989, Lyle had hired the services of Glen Stevens, a computer expert, to erase files on Kitty’s computer. Lyle told Stevens that he had deleted the latest version of José and Kitty’s will and instructed him to ensure that no trace of it could be found. This was to ensure they would benefit from the older will which bequeathed the entire Menendez fortune to Lyle and Erik.
The investigation team finally found a link between the Menendez brothers and two Mossberg 12-gauge shotguns, bought on 18 August 1989. The receipt for the sale of the shotguns had been signed Donovan Jay Goodreau and listed to an address in San Diego. Goodreau, a friend of Lyle’s, proved that he was at work in New York City at the time of purchase, that the signature did not even resemble his own and that the address given was false. Police finally had physical evidence in the case against the Menendez boys.
Ideally, police would have arrested the brothers at the same time but on 7 March 1990, Lyle and some friends flew from New Jersey to Los Angeles. Police believed Lyle was not planning on staying long and would shortly be returning to New Jersey. At that time, Erik was playing in a tennis tournament in Israel, so they decided to go ahead and arrest Lyle first.
On 8 March 1990, at around 1pm Lyle was arrested at the south end of Elm Drive, whilst driving with some friends to a restaurant for lunch. He and his friends were taken to the West Hollywood Sheriff’s station, where Lyle was booked and transferred to the Los Angeles County Men’s Jail.
Erik learned of Lyle’s arrest whilst still in Israel and immediately called his uncle for advice. He was told the most sensible thing to do would be to turn himself in. On 11 March 1990 detectives Zoeller and Linehan met Erik at Los Angeles International Airport, where they arrested him and took him to the Los Angeles County Men’s Jail.
On 26 March 1990, supported by friends and relatives, the brothers were arraigned for the first-degree murder of their parents with special circumstances, in Judge Judith Stein’s courtroom at the Beverly Hills Municipal Court. Smirking and behaving as if they had nothing to worry about, they both pleaded not guilty. They were held without bail, pending trial, at Los Angeles County Men’s Jail. Lyle and Erik were in the prison’s 7,000 section, which has also held OJ Simpson and Richard Ramirez, ‘The Nightstalker’.