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Metropolitan Digest / LOS ANGELES COUNTY NEWS IN BRIEF

VAN NUYS : Menendezes' Bid to Suppress Taped Confession Rejected

November 02, 1994

Rejecting a bid by Lyle and Erik Menendez to block the most direct evidence against them, a state appellate court has ruled that prosecutors may present the audiotape in which the brothers confess to their psychologist that they killed their parents.

The 2nd District Court of Appeal turned down a defense claim that the 61-minute tape, recorded on Dec. 11, 1989, was once again secret under the rules of confidentiality between a therapist and patient--although it was played at the brothers' first trial. The defense bid was based on technicalities.

Any secrecy, the court said in a unanimous ruling Monday, evaporated because the brothers made their mental state the central issue in the first trial. Leslie Abramson, Erik Menendez's chief attorney, vowed Tuesday to appeal to the state Supreme Court.

On the tape, the brothers tell psychologist L. Jerome Oziel that they killed their mother to put her "out of her misery" and that their father's infidelity caused her despair. Lyle Menendez also comments that while he missed his parents, he also missed "not having my dog around."

At their first trial, Lyle Menendez, now 26, and Erik Menendez, 23, admitted to the Aug. 20, 1989, shotgun slayings of their wealthy parents but testified that they fired in fear after years of abuse. Prosecutors contended that the brothers killed out of hatred and greed.

That trial ended in January with separate juries deadlocked between murder and manslaughter charges. Their retrial is set March 13.

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