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Prosecution Rests Its Case in Retrial of Menendez Brothers

After presenting 30 witnesses and more than 300 exhibits in 28 days, prosecutors rested their case in the Menendez brothers’ murder trial on Monday.

The defense immediately began to try to debunk the prosecution’s crime scene scenario. Leslie Abramson, attorney for Erik Menendez, called as her first witness a wound ballistics expert, retired Army Col. Martin Fackler.

Fackler disputed the prosecution version of the 1989 shotgun slayings of Jose and Kitty Menendez at the family’s Beverly Hills mansion. He testified that the prosecution’s reconstruction by Failure Analysis Associates of Menlo Park was unscientific, contained numerous errors and made assumptions that were “contrary to the medical evidence.” He returns to the witness stand today.

Erik and Lyle Menendez, 24 and 27, are charged with the murders of their parents, Jose Menendez, a powerful entertainment executive and his wife, Kitty. The prosecution’s case at the brothers’ retrial included some familiar faces as well as some new witnesses.

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Deputy Dist. Atty. David P. Conn said he was confident he had proved to the jury that the brothers planned the killings, then lied about them and fabricated their defense. At the first trial, Erik and Lyle Menendez testified they fired out of fear for their lives after threatening to expose years of child abuse and sexual molestation.

Defense attorneys also sought Monday to strike one of the special circumstance allegations that could expose the brothers to the death penalty. The defense argued prosecutors had not proved that the brothers lay in wait before killing their parents. Judge Stanley M. Weisberg is expected to rule this week on the issue.


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