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Prosecutor Calls Brothers “Cold Blooded Killers″

February 22, 1996

LOS ANGELES (AP) _ A prosecutor bitterly denounced Lyle and Erik Menendez as ``cold-blooded killers″ who asked a witness to lie and spent their parents’ money soon after killing them.

``Lyle’s lifelong ambition was to have a Rolex watch,″ Deputy District Attorney David Conn told jurors Wednesday. ``He got it by putting a hole in the back of his father’s head.″

Conn, in a lengthy final argument that was to continue today, tried to convince jurors that the brothers shot their parents to death to acquire the family fortune. And he said they’re defense that they were molested by their millionaire father is nothing but a sham.

``When it comes down to real sexual abuse there’s no corroboration,″ Conn said.

Conn lauded the elder Menendez as a Cuban immigrant who came to the United States without money, carved out his own financial empire as a show business executive and drove his sons hard to succeed.

In so doing, the prosecutor suggested, the elder Menendez may have inadvertently programmed his boys to kill.

``The reason they could do what they did was because Jose Menendez taught them to be strong, to be ruthless,″ Conn said.

The defense maintains the brothers suffered a lifetime of emotional and sexual abuse from their parents.

Lyle, 28, and Erik, 25, are charged with murdering their parents, Jose and Kitty Menendez, in their Beverly Hills mansion in 1989. The brothers’ first trial ended two years ago when two separate juries deadlocked. Only one panel is hearing the second trial.

Conn asked jurors to convict both brothers of premeditated first-degree murder, conspiracy and the special circumstance of lying in wait, which could bring them the death penalty.

``They are cold-blooded killers,″ he said.

In the retrial, Erik testified but Lyle did not. Conn focused on documents written by Lyle _ one in which he urged a friend to lie on the witness stand and another in which he was apparently planning a jail escape.

In the latter document seized from his cell, he wrote of going to Lebanon, London or a number of other destinations and noted: ``Change name, change appearance, plastic surgery.″

``This is as carefully planned as the crime,″ Conn said. ``Lyle Menendez was actively involved in fabricating a false defense in this case.″

The prosecutor acknowledged that some jurors may accept the defense argument that the elder Menendez was ``a cold monster.″

``Even if that was true,″ the prosecutor said, ``it was no excuse for murder.″

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