The Menendez brothers’ murder trial was postponed Tuesday for at least a day after Lyle Menendez came down with flu-like symptoms.
Expected to testify about the Aug. 20, 1989, shotgun slayings of his parents, the 25-year-old defendant instead reported to Van Nuys Superior Court Judge Stanley Weisberg that an earache and sinus pain were interfering with his ability to think clearly.
Weisberg sent him to a local hospital, where a doctor prescribed medicine, but the judge seemed skeptical about the severity of the illness and reluctantly canceled the day’s proceedings.
At the hospital, “there was nothing found other than a very slight rise in the body temperature,” Weisberg said, adding that although he did not wish to “force a defendant to testify if he is ill,” this “does appear to be a rather minor condition.”
Lyle Menendez--who was shackled, then escorted by six sheriff’s deputies and a chase car to nearby Valley Hospital Medical Center--told the judge earlier that he was having trouble breathing. During his testimony Monday, he said, he had felt spacey but decided not to ask for a recess.
Defense attorney Jill Lansing told the judge that Lyle Menendez developed a cold over the weekend and testified with a fever Monday. “He does not feel well enough to go forward,” Lansing said.
In his first two days on the witness stand, the older Menendez brother said his father, Jose Menendez, 45, a wealthy entertainment executive, and his mother, Kitty Menendez, 47, abused him physically, mentally and sexually.
Lyle and Erik Menendez, 22, say they shot their parents to death as an act of self-defense after years of abuse. Prosecutors say the brothers killed out of hatred and greed.
Weisberg told jurors Tuesday that he expects the trial tor resume today.