Video: Erik Menendez Prison Interview

msnbc.com
updated 12/22/2005 10:34:44 AM ET 2005-12-22T15:34:44

After a decade behind bars, Erik Menendez is now speaking out about the horrific murder of his own parents, which he committed with his older brother, Lyle. 

In a rare jailhouse interview that aired Wednesday on ‘Rita Cosby, Live and Direct,’ he told the host why he now regrets the murders. 

The two also talked about his years behind bars and his claims that he deserves now a second chance. 

Erik‘s side of the story is being told in a brand-new book, written by his wife, Tammi, called, “They Said We‘d Never Make It.” 

To read an excerpt from their conversation, continue to the text below. To watch the video, click on the “Launch” button to the right.

RITA COSBY: (Introduction) I started by asking Erik about his older brother and former co-defendant, Lyle.  I wanted to know how much of a relationship that they have now, since they‘re both locked up for life. 

ERIK MENENDEZ, CONVICTED OF KILLING PARENTS:  We have not seen each other or actually spoken to each other in 10 years. 

COSBY:  And why is that, 10 years? 

E. MENENDEZ:  They will not—the prison system is keeping us apart. 

We fought to be together, and we are not allowed to be together.  And they won‘t tell us why. 

The last time I saw him was at 3:00 in the morning when they chained us up and put us in separate vans.  And they didn‘t even tell us they were going to separate us.  And the next thing I knew, I never saw him again. 

COSBY:  What would you say to your brother, if you could see him after 10 years? 

E. MENENDEZ:  That I love him, and that I miss him, and that our bond that we‘ve shared will never diminish, will never go away, no matter the passage of time.  Even if I never see him again, I will always love him. 

COSBY:  Why did you kill your parents? 

E. MENENDEZ:  I was terrified.  I thought I was going to die.  I mean, it wasn‘t a little bit of fear.  I‘ve never been so scared in my life.  And it may sound nuts now, even 15 years later.  But I remember the horror I felt at that moment.  And I‘ll never forget the sense of dread that I was about to die. 

COSBY:  Why did you think you were about to die? 

E. MENENDEZ:  Because of everything my father had told me in my life. 

I mean, my father, he would sit me down and describe to me what the inside of my head would look like after he finished killing me. 

I remember one time I was almost 13 and I—my dad found me after I tried to run away.  And he slammed me up against the tree and told me the next time I even tried, that he would kill me. 

And I don‘t know if it‘s possible be to describe the fear you feel when someone has molested you.  It‘s this sense of panic.  And it was—there was a sense of dread that I—it‘s almost impossible to translate to you unless you‘ve experienced it. 

COSBY:  How bad was the sexual abuse that you say you experienced? 

E. MENENDEZ:  It was—I was raped.  I was raped many times in my life by him.  And, you know, it‘s something that I‘ve been able to talk about more after the trials, since the trials, with Tammi.  She‘s really been my inspiration and being able to be open with her. 

But before the actual trials and getting arrested, you know, I told one person, Andy, my closest friend, my first cousin.  But other than that, I had never spoke about it, because of the humiliation and shame.  I thought that I‘d brought it on myself. 

COSBY:  How much do you regret killing your own parents? 

E. MENENDEZ:  It‘s something—it‘s my real prison.  People think that, you know, the prison is my punishment.  Whether I was in prison now or not in prison now, I live with it every day of my life. 

It‘s not something that you ever get over and you ever deal with, emotionally, killing two people that you love, that I loved.  I mean, these are my parents.  I loved them. 

No matter what happened to me, it‘s something that‘s innate.  The child loves his parents.  And I certainly did.  And it‘s something that I would go—I‘d give anything to be able to go back in time and undo it.  And when I die, it‘s almost going to be a relief that I don‘t have to live with it anymore. 

COSBY:  Erik, how tough is it, because people are always going to remember you as one of those two boys who killed their parents? 

E. MENENDEZ:  It makes me sad.  It‘s something that I‘m going to have to live with.  But it makes me sad because, ultimately, who I am is much more than that. 

And it‘s not an act that I condone.  And I wish that I could undo it.  I still get letters from people saying that they were molested, they wished they had done that.  And I write to them and say, “No, you don‘t.  This is the worst possible thing you could do.  And you‘re so lucky that you don‘t act out in your—you know, in your rage or your fear or your panic, that you held back and, hopefully, went on to heal in life.”

COSBY:  Erik, what do you think about this book written by your wife? 

E. MENENDEZ: It‘s the only book that‘s ever told the true, untold story about me, what I did, and really the secrets I‘ve never talked about in my childhood and prison.  And I‘m proud of Tammi for standing up for people and standing up for me. 

COSBY:  What do you think is the biggest secret in the book that‘s coming out that people are learning about you? 

E. MENENDEZ:  I think who I am is probably the biggest secret in the book.  There‘s been so much misconception in the media about who I am, my personality, just my beliefs, who I‘ve developed into as a person, and my childhood, and how I feel about what I did.  And this book exposes the truth for the first time. 

COSBY:  Why do you think you deserve another chance?  I know you filed for appeals before. 

E. MENENDEZ:  I‘m not a killer.  I never was.  It‘s not who I am. 

COSBY:  But you killed your parents? 

E. MENENDEZ:  That‘s true, but I‘m not a murderer.  You know, it‘s— I didn‘t do this crime because I‘m a bad person or for whatever reasons that have been put out there.  I panicked and I reacted in the worst imaginable way. 

And that‘s true, but I‘m no murderer.  I think that life‘s sacred, especially because of for what I did.  I now hold life as ultimately sacred.  And I would never, ever harm anyone or anything ever again. 

Watch 'Rita Cosby Live & Direct' each night at 9 p.m. ET on MSNBC.

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