The Confession

On October 31, 1989, Erik Menendez confessed to Dr. Jerome Oziel that he and Lyle had killed their parents.
What took place in the October 31 session, and a subsequent session on November 2, 1989, was the subject of extensive testimony in the first trial.

I will post links to trial vidoes, and also post summaries of the testimony. Although I believe the summaries contain accurate information, they do not contain everything that was said by the witness, so I recommend watching the testimony in full.

Jerome Oziel
Oziel’s account of Erik’s confession and what transpired in the two sessions is found in his direct examination testimony. See trial video 19 at 49:35 – 2:15:55. You can also read comprehensive notes of the direct examination of Oziel:
Oziel direct examination – Erik’s jury
Oziel direct examination – both juries
Oziel direct examination – Lyle’s jury

Lyle Menendez
Lyle testified for an hour and a half on direct examination about the two sessions. See trial video 52 at 1:00:32 – 2:31:20.

Briefly summarized – Lyle received a phone call from Oziel on October 31, 1989. Oziel said that Erik was in his office and had told him “everything.” Lyle asked what Oziel meant, but Oziel didn’t want to talk about it on the phone.
Lyle drove to Oziel’s office. Lyle didn’t trust Oziel. Lyle was “very upset” with Erik. When he entered Oziel’s office, Lyle sat down and Oziel seemed “very nervous,” and Erik seemed “even more nervous.” Oziel wanted to tell Lyle what had been said. Lyle said he didn’t want to hear whatever Erik had told Oziel because Lyle wanted to talk to Erik first. At some point Lyle “got into an argument” with Erik. Oziel said Erik came to him because he was suicidal. Lyle felt that Erik should have come to him instead and felt “hurt and betrayed.” Erik got upset. Lyle was angry with Erik.

The meeting was “a very intense meeting.” Lyle was yelling at Erik. Oziel was telling Lyle that he “seemed menacing to him.” Oziel explained confidentiality. Lyle didn’t want Oziel to go to the police, nor did he want Oziel to feel threatened. Erik was “crying and becoming hysterical” and at one point ran out of the room. Lyle followed Erik. Oziel wanted Lyle to stay. Oziel didn’t feel comfortable with Lyle leaving, and he felt threatened by Lyle’s demeanor. Lyle said he wanted to talk to Erik. Lyle is “pretty sure that I said goodbye” to Oziel in the hallway where the elevators are. Oziel followed Lyle outside. Erik got in his jeep to leave. Lyle tried to get both Erik and Oziel to relax. They arranged to meet again and Lyle agreed they would. Oziel went back upstairs. Erik was crying, upset with Lyle for saying that going to Oziel had been a betrayal of trust.

Lyle and Erik went back to the Beverly Hills house and talked about what had happened. Erik told Lyle that he had told Oziel that they had killed their parents, and that nobody else knew that he had said this to Oziel, that he was feeling very depressed and suicidal, and that he couldn’t come to Lyle because Lyle was unstable. Erik told Lyle he had told Oziel he didn’t know why the killings happened.
Lyle and Erik talked about whether they should go back to Oziel, and decided they “should definitely go back.” Lyle was “very concerned” that Oziel was going to go to the police especially if the brothers didn’t go back to see him on November 2.
Erik had not told Oziel about the molestation, and Lyle “certainly wasn’t going to talk about it.” Lyle felt they should talk about “as little as possible.” Lyle didn’t want to talk about the facts of the killings because then they would have to talk about the “why” and Lyle didn’t want to do that.

Lyle and Erik went back to Oziel’s office on November 2, 1989. Oziel said he could be helpful in describing the family constellation. The three talked about the family constellation. Oziel would “give his impressions,” and tell the brothers what they were thinking and feeling. Lyle and Erik voluntered “very little” information. They told Oziel they didn’t know why the killings had happened. Oziel accepted that lack of explanation as to why and felt he could figure out what was going on. Oziel didn’t think brothers knew exactly how they felt. Erik would feel better when Oziel said the brothers had done Kitty a favor because she was so depressed. Oziel told the brothers he had put tapes in safety deposit boxes.

Lyle denies the brothers made a lot of the statements Oziel claims they did. For example, they didn’t tell Oziel that Kitty had to be killed because she was a witness. They didn’t tell Oziel about any “perfect plan.” They didn’t discuss with Oziel the details of the killings. Lyle felt that if the brothers told Oziel details of the killings, they would have to tell Oziel why they had killed their parents. Lyle didn’t tell Oziel that Jose had said, “You can kill me if you want to but you won’t get any money if you do.”
Lyle told Oziel he didn’t respond to Kitty as a mother figure. He told Oziel he fired the shot that killed her. He told Oziel that the brothers were out of the will.

Lyle was cross-examined about the sessions with Oziel. See trial video 55 at 2:05:39 – 2:26:07, and trial video 56 at 5:34 – 27:20.

Erik Menendez
Erik’s testimony about his confession to Oziel and the subsequent session is found in trial video 60 at 2:55:01 – 3:16:15, and trial video 61 at 00:00 – 44:38.

Briefly summarized – The October 31 session started with Erik telling Oziel he was lost and depressed. At some point, Erik and Oziel went for a walk. Erik decided to tell Oziel he had killed his parents so that Oziel would tell him he wasn’t a bad person. Oziel said he thought Erik would tell him, that he had suspected this, and Erik had no choice but to tell him. Erik and Oziel went back to Oziel’s office. Erik explained more in depth why he was so depressed and suicidal.
Oziel asked Erik a lot of questions about the killings. “He asked me how Lyle and I shot our parents…. I told him that Lyle and I had walked into the room with two shotguns and killed our parents.” Erik also told Oziel what had happened afterwards. Oziel seemed “very interested” in the details of the killings and cut Erik off when he would start to talk about his depression. Oziel asked Erik where Erik and Lyle got the shotguns. “I told him that we bought them in San Diego.” Oziel also asked Erik “why” the killings happened. Erik didn’t expect Oziel would ask why he had killed his parents. “I told him I didn’t know.”

Oziel asked Erik about when the idea to kill the parents came up. “I said that Lyle and I had had conversations that week.” Erik told Oziel “part of the nature of the conversations…. Just about my mother and my father and what the family was like.” Erik didn’t want to tell Oziel everything about the conversations because “I absolutely was not wanting to tell him about the sex between dad and I…. I didn’t want to discuss it with him.”
Oziel grilled Erik about when and how Erik was going to tell Lyle that he had confessed to Oziel. Oziel said, “How are you going to tell Lyle?” Erik replied, “I don’t know, maybe I shouldn’t.” Oziel said, “No, definitely you should.” Oziel “wanted to call Lyle right away.” Oziel called Lyle. Oziel then told Erik that Lyle was coming over. Erik wanted Lyle to come over but at the same time Erik was “concerned” because he knew he had “betrayed” his brother’s trust.

Lyle arrived. Erik never heard Lyle threaten Oziel. Lyle kept saying he didn’t want to be there, he didn’t want to know what Erik had told Oziel, he just wanted to talk to Erik. Lyle was upset with Erik. Erik ran out of Oziel’s office crying.

The November 2 session began with Oziel informing the brothers that he had tapes in safety deposit boxes.
Oziel and the brothers discussed confidentiality. “He was telling me that he could go to the police if he felt threatened and he said he had felt threatened, and so I wasn’t sure what was confidential and what wasn’t.”
The brothers stayed away from talking about why the killings had happened. Oziel offered theories as to the why. “Almost all the conversation” was about how the parents were, how perfect the family was in appearance and how false that image was. Erik tried to get the discussion back to how depressed he was. Oziel said he would deal with it later, but he never got back to it.
Oziel talked about the brothers’ financial situation. Oziel said he had a lot of “good investment plans” that could make a lot of money.

The brothers never told Oziel that they had formulated a plan to kill their parents, nor was there ever any discussion about Kitty being killed because she was a witness.

Erik was cross-examined about the sessions with Oziel. See trial video 65 at 02:04 – 36:11.

Judalon Smyth
Smyth was not present inside the office with Oziel and the Menendez brothers during the sessions. Smyth claims Oziel gave her details of the two sessions. She also claims that she overheard parts of the sessions. Smyth’s lengthy testimony is found in trial videos 89, 90 and 91.

Smyth testified that Oziel asked her to come to his office on October 31 in case something happened to him so she could call the police or ambulance. Oziel said he would leave the doors to two other officers unlocked so Smyth could go in there and use the phone.
On October 31, Smyth went to Oziel’s office a little after 5 p.m. She went into the waiting area, pushed the button, and sat down and waited. Oziel came out to Smyth and said it was “as he suspected,” which Smyth took to mean that the brothers had killed their parents.
Oziel then went back into his office while Smyth waited in waiting room. Oziel came back out and said he was having Erik call Lyle, and said he wanted to be present when Erik told Lyle, and Lyle was coming shortly and Smyth was not to talk to him.
Lyle arrived shortly after, Smyth was still in waiting room. Lyle came in and pressed the button, leafed throgh a magazine and asked
Smyth if she had been waiting long. Smyth replied, “You know how doctors are.” Oziel came out and got Lyle and they went into Oziel’s office.

Smyth went to the hallway. From the hallway Smyth could hear Lyle being “very angry” and yelling at Erik. Lyle was upset with Erik and couldn’t believe he had done this. Smyth doesn’t recall hearing anything else. She was in the hallway for “a few minutes”, then went back to the waiting room.

At some point Erik came running past Smyth and went down the stairway. Then Lyle came out, and Oziel was following Lyle, and they went to the elevator. Smyth could see elevator from the waiting room. Smyth heard Lyle said he could understand why he (Erik) needed to. Oziel was saying that the brothers should stay and come back into office and should understand about confidentiality. Lyle said he wanted to go take care of his brother. Oziel wanted the brothers to come back into his office. Lyle said “Good luck, Dr. Oziel”, and got in elevator, and Oziel jumped into the elevator after Lyle. Oziel said to Lyle, “Are you threatening me? Is that a direct threat?” Oziel got in elevator with Lyle, was gone “a few minutes,” came back up and locked the door to the waiting room and to his office. Oziel told Smyth that the brothers had killed their parents, and that they had threatened him and everyone connected to him, and that he needed to have his wife and kids get out of their house. Then Oziel started making phone calls.

On November 2, Smyth was also at Oziel’s office. Oziel wanted Smyth at office for the same purpose as on October 31, which was to call the police or an ambulance if something happened to him.
Smyth got to Oziel’ office at around 4:30 p.m. The waiting room was empty and Smyth sat down and waited. Smyth then went into the office belonging to Oziel’s wife. Smyth “picked up bits and pieces of things” of the conversation Oziel was having with the brothers in Oziel’s office.

Smyth saw the brothers leave the November 2 session. Oziel and the brothers were laughing and talking about Hawaii. After the brothers left, Oziel said to Smyth he felt he was getting control of the brothers.

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