Erik going to college

Erik Menendez was scheduled to begin his first semester at the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA) in the fall of 1989.

UCLA was not the only college Erik was accepted into. Erik applied to 13-15 schools. He was accepted by all the UC campuses. Erik testified that, “I was accepted into Berkeley first, and my mother was very excited that I was accepted into Berkeley. She wanted me to go to Berkeley. My dad was happy that I was accepted into Berkeley, but told me that he was trying to get me into UCLA, and pretty much assured me that I would be getting into UCLA.”

Carlos Baralt testified that Jose and Kitty wanted Erik to go to UCLA. “They would like to have him close to home.”

Casey Whalen testified that, “I knew he didn’t particularly want to go to UCLA…. He said more or less that his father was making him go to school there.”

Erik testified he wanted to go to Brown University in Rhode Island because a friend of his was going to Brown. According to Erik, Jose said Erik couldn’t go to Brown.
According to Robert Rand’s “The Menendez Murders” book (page 330), Marta Cano went through Jose’s files sometime after the killings and “discovered Erik’s application to Brown in a drawer in Jose’s office. The paperwork was completely filled out but had never been mailed.”

Edward Fenno lived with the Menendez family for several months. He was present the day when Erik received the acceptance from Berkeley in January of 1989. Fenno testified:
“What happened was the night he got into Berkeley, he kind of pulled me aside afterwards, and he said, you know, I think I’d like to go to UCLA, and he said it was because he has — he has friends around here, and so he wanted to be near them.”
Fenno also said that Erik told him that he “thought UCLA had a better tennis team.”

Fenno testified that both Jose and Kitty were “pleased” that Erik was accepted into Berkeley. Fenno said that he “wasn’t there when he (Erik) turned down Berkeley.” Fenno said he never saw Jose being “upset” that Erik turned down Berkeley, but admitted that he “may have” told Detective Les Zoeller in May of 1993 that Jose was upset that Erik turned down Berkeley.

Detective Les Zoeller testified that he and prosecutors Pamela Bozanich and Lester Kuriyama interviewed Edward Fenno on May 24, 1993. Fenno was asked whether to his knowledge Erik was looking forward to going to UCLA. Fenno replied, “Yes, he was really looking forward to going to UCLA because they had a great tennis team.” Fenno also told Zoeller and the prosecutors that Jose “was upset with Erik because Erik turned down or decided not to go to Berkeley.”

Erik testified that going away to college was all he thought about, “because it would end the sex.” (“Sex” referring to the sexual abuse Erik claims he suffered at the hands of his father.)

Erik testified that on Sunday, August 13, 1989, he had a discussion with his father in the study of the Beverly Hills house. During this conversation Jose Menendez discussed with Erik what was going to happen with respect to Erik going to UCLA in the upcoming semester.
There is good reason to question whether this discussion ever actually took place. There are no witnesses who can confirm that it did. It comes down to the claim of Erik Menendez. In any event, Here’s what Erik claims that Jose, in part, told him during the discussion:
“He told me that my bedroom was going to be maintained and that I was still going to be living in my bedroom; that I would be coming home several nights a week to eat dinner so that we could discuss how school was going, so that he could help me with my work and make sure that the grades were staying up, that I was going to be sleeping at my bedroom during those nights.”

Erik testified to his reaction:
“I was shocked. I was — I was completely surprised at that, and, I mean, it had always been a dream and a hope and an expectation to — that I would be going away and not sleeping at home, and I was stunned.”

What this meant to Erik was, “That the sex would continue.”
“I just felt very lost. I was in complete shock. I mean, it was as if — I just felt shattered. A lot of my dreams, all of my hopes. I didn’t know what to say. I didn’t know how to respond. I just kept asking what do you mean? What do you mean? He kept explaining further and I would say what do you mean? My world was falling away and crumbling at that point, and I didn’t want to be in the room with him anymore. I didn’t cry and I didn’t get up, but he finished and I went to my bedroom.”

On cross-examination, prosecutor David Conn grilled Erik as to why he thought the abuse would end when he went to college. Read the testimony (partial transcript of cross-examination, December 18, 1995: pp. 75-80) and decide for yourself whether Erik’s explanation makes sense.