Erik and Lyle Menendez shot their parents to death in August 1989 and were convicted during a highly publicized trial. The sentence: life in prison.
Sixteen years later, for the first time, Erik fills in some of the details of that warm August night in Beverly Hills during a candid phone interview with Pat O'Brien of "The Insider." Erik was speaking from Pleasant Valley State Prison in California.
Asked if he now regrets killing his parents, Erik answers directly, "Immensely so. Not a day doesn't go by when I wish I couldn't undue this and get my life back.
"I experience panic attacks, like every prisoner in here."
Despite his dark days, his saving grace has been his wife, Tammi, whose controversial new book is called, "They Said We'd Never Make It."
Growing up, says O'Brien, it seemed Erik and Lyle had it all: good-looking, athletic, popular. Bit all that came to an end when they gunned down their parents.
Soon afterward, Erik tells O'Brien, "There was literally like a bursting inside of me. I was terrified. I thought I was going to die that night, and I reacted in this panic. And, right afterwards, I'm thinking in my mind, 'I just can't believe they're dead.' "
Erik and Lyle testified they killed their parents out of fear, after suffering years of physical and sexual abuse at the hands of their father. But the jury didn't believe them.
"I still get letters," Erik says, "from people who say they were molested and they wish they'd done what I did and I say to them, 'No, you don't. It's never the right thing to take a life under any circumstances.'
"Now, I strongly believe it's the worst, the most tragic end possible. It's my real prison."
O'Brien says Erik's candor surprised him: "And don't forget, during our interview, prison officials and guards were most likely listening. Not to mention, a national television audience that will once again be stunned" when the interview airs on "The Insider."
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