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The Menendez brothers have become TikTok famous, 32 years after they killed their parents, now that an army of young supporters are claiming the imprisoned brothers weren't granted a fair shot in court.
TikTok videos reexamining the siblings’ case have garnered over 130 million views on the platform, according to ABC News, which will be exploring the phenomenon in a "20/20" episode this Friday at 9 p.m. ET.
“The videos, created mostly by teenagers, examine the case through the lens of 2021 with many calling for the brothers to be released from prison,” a press release for the show states.
Lyle Menendez was 21 and Erik 18 when they killed their parents, Jose and Kitty Menendez, in 1989 inside their Beverly Hills mansion. Their father was nearly decapitated by the 12-gauge shotgun used in the attack and their mother was also rendered almost unrecognizable after being shot several times, the Los Angeles Times reported in 1990.
While the brothers admitted to killing their parents, they've said they did so as a response to years of sexual abuse by their father. During their two trials, which spanned from 1993 to 1996, the brothers testified about the abuse in disturbing detail — but prosecutors claimed they just made it all up, People reported in 2015.
“I am 100 percent sure that they fabricated their defense,” said prosecutor Pamela Bozanich, who worked on the case said on a 2015 episode of “Murder Made Me Famous,” People reported.
Their sexual abuse claims were not taken seriously by the public either, and the media continued to maintain the narrative that they were greedy kids who killed their parents for money. The court didn’t buy their story either.
However, TikTok users now say they believe the brothers. ABC News notes that today’s teens have grown up during the #MeToo era, which has led to allegations of sexual abuse and assault being taken much more seriously than in the past. This has led many young individuals to view the case with a perspective that favors the brothers.
An 18-year-old German girl named Janne created a TikTok video that shows testimony from the brothers' trial as they allege sexual abuse from their father. It has 1 million likes, ABC News noted.
A trailer for Friday’s “20/20” episode features clips of teens explaining that they don't think that the Menendez brothers received fair trials. The brothers’ first trial ended in a hung jury and a mistrial; the second resulted in their convictions and sentences of life without parole.
The special will feature interviews with the siblings’ best friends, neighbors, detectives, lawyers, jurors, and a new interview with Lyle Menendez.
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