On August 20, 1989, Erik and Lyle Menendez brutally murdered their parents, Jose and Kitty Menendez, with two 12-gauge shotguns. While Lyle has been telling his side of the story in numerous interviews -- including many this year -- Erik has remained silent since 2005.
Speaking from inside the walls of the Donovan Correctional Facility, the other brother has been detailing his personal account on A&E's new documentary series, "The Menendez Murders: Erik Tells All."
While the first two hours of the show focused on the events leading up to and the night of the murder, Thursday's second installment highlighted Erik's arrest and the beginning of the brothers' trial.
Here's everything we learned:
Erik's Last Moments of Freedom
Lyle was arrested on March 8, 1990, three days before his brother. Why the lag? Erik was in Israel playing in a tennis tournament when it all went down.
"My thought was, at that point, was I gotta get back to Lyle," he said of learning about the arrest. "It never crossed my mind to run away. I could have."
He flew from Israel to Miami, then to L.A., in what he recognizes as his last moments of freedom. "I knew that I was going to be arrested and sent to jail. There was a firestorm in Los Angeles," he said, "they were waiting for me and I knew that I would no longer be in control of what happened."
After his arrest, Erik reported to Los Angeles County Jail. According to his account, the police who brought him to the facility told him they "regretted" he had to go there because "they were worried I wouldn't make it to trial."
"The Los Angeles County jail was packed with some of the most violent criminals of the day. When you first enter it, it actually looks like a dark nightmare," he said. "It's dirty, it smells like urine. At night, rats come out, they take over. Then you hear screams. You hear screams echoing through the halls of people being beaten, you hear people being tortured or raped. In quiet, you'll hear people just start crying. My first week there, the guy 3 cells down from me hung himself."
In June, 1990, Erik started seeing psychiatrist Dr. Vicary.
"Many of my thoughts were simply suicide. Emotionally, I was collapsing," Menendez said in the special.
Vicary echoed that sentiment. "He was so distraught, he was so emotional, he was so depressed, he would break down and start sobbing at any discussion about his family that even involved me asking simple background questions about his parents," he explained. "My impression of Erik was, boy, this kid is a mess."
Vicary added that for months Erik would talk about how "wonderful" his parents were, before any talk of molestation came out.
The case grabbed the national spotlight, thanks to Jose's connection to Hollywood and the idea of two rich boys committing patricide. For Erik, it was a lot to take in, saying the media explosion left him in "shock."
One of the most chilling images from the trial came during the arraignment, when Erik entered the court with a smile on his face. "I was so nervous, I walked out there and Leslie made a joke and it was so nerve wracking I smiled, it was a defense mechanism," he said, looking back. "On the cameras from then until the rest of eternity had me smiling as if the whole thing was a joke. Ironically, it was exactly the opposite of how I felt because behind the scenes I can't stop crying. I'm on massive doses of antidepressants and I just want to die."
"If you could imagine the worst moment of your life, the one moment you want to undo and would give your own life to go back in time and change suddenly becoming the center of a media storm, it was horrifying," he added. "I had to get used to being the villain and there was nothing I could do about it."
His Wife Speaks
With media scrutiny also came fan mail, and that led to an unlikely romance.
"I started receiving letters from people and there would be people outside the court room with signs, either for me or against me," he said of the fans. "It was too much for me to cope with in my brain."
Tammi Menendez, Erik's wife since 1999, appeared on the show to talk about the beginning of their relationship.
"I wrote one letter to Erik, generally the letter was I support you, I feel sorry for what you're doing through, I believe in your testimony," she explained. "We started a communication through letter writing through the trial. He was telling me how they put him on Xanax and how stressed he was going through the trial."
Her appearance Thursday night was brief, but hopefully there will be more from her in the weeks to come. Though still married today, they've never spent time together outside prison walls.
During the trail, Erik was defended by Leslie Abramson, a feisty blond lawyer who definitely didn't bite her tongue in court or in the media. Lyle would be represented by Jill Lansing.
"I remember when Leslie came in, she's a whirlwind, high energy, eccentric personality, very smart, talking a mile a minute," Erik said of his former lawyer. "It became very clear, just meeting her for 5 minutes, this is someone who will fight for you. She was very nurturing, she was very compassionate, but she's also very tough. She's got a huge heart, but she's very strong."
He also called her a "tough mother bear."
The Doctor Whose Mistress Brought Him Down
After killing parents Kitty and Jose Menendez, Erik Menendez first confessed to his therapist, Dr. Jerome Oziel. Oziel was accused of sharing the confession with his mistress at the time, a woman named Judalon Smyth. It was Smyth who reported the intel about the brothers to authorities after she and Oziel broke up. Oziel denied sharing any information at the time.
"Seeing Dr. Oziel, I was falling apart and I needed extensive help and therapy. I had huge, huge waves of guilt and remorse and I just broke down and I told him what I had done," Menendez explained.
"When I went to him, he was married with children but he was having an affair with this woman Judalon Smyth and he would tell her things his clients talked to him about," says Erik. "Because he told Judalon Smyth, he was facing disbarment if he didn't specifically say he was afraid of Lyle and I," Menendez continues. "There was a clause in the law that says if he claims that he was afraid, then he could legally divulge that to another person."
According to Erik's POV, however, "[Oziel] was never ever afraid or threatened" and only said he was so he wouldn't be disbarred.
The rest of the episode focused on Erik sharing his first hand account of alleged molestation he suffered at the hands of his father and brother. WARNING: Graphic descriptions of abuse follow.
"When I was first molested it was by Lyle. He would take me out to the woods and he would have me bend over and he would stick things in me," Erik explained. "He was an abuser, a bullier and he hurt me." During his testimony, Lyle said this was behavior he learned from his father first doing it to him.
Erik said his father started molesting him when he was six. "At the time, I saw it as a way of my dad expressing that he loved me," Menendez said. "I believe he was a brilliant man and a sick man. I loved him and I hated him."
Menendez said things progressed from massages and touching to oral copulation. "He forced himself in my mouth and I got scared. I remember that moment because that was the first time I really remember feeling fear," he explained. "I remember afterwards that he rubbed my head and I said I was a good boy."
When he was 11, he said there was a particularly horrifying experience that left him with the realization that what they were doing was not out of love. "I could hear him coming up the stairs, he opened the door, he slammed the door and he made me get down my knees and he made me perform oral sex on him," Menendez alleged. "I remember afterwards he pushed me away and I started crying. He said, 'Why can't you be more like your brother, why do you have to cry all the time?' Then he said, 'You'll get used to it.' There was no more this is something we're doing because I love you. That was no longer a part of what was happening."
The boy's cousin, Diane Vandermolen Hernandez, also recalled a moment from their childhood when Erik told her he was being touched. When she told Kitty what happened, Diane said the Menendez matriarch brought Erik to his room and "that was it."
"The Menendez Murders: Erik Tells All" airs Thursdays on A&E.