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CNN LARRY KING LIVE

Anniversary of Murder in Beverly Hills

Aired August 19, 2002 - 21:00   ET

THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.


LARRY KING, HOST: Tonight, murder in Beverly Hills, the unforgettable trial that got us all talking about the abuse excuse. Lyle and Erik Menendez, it was 13 years ago tomorrow, August 20, 1989 that Jose and Kitty Menendez were found murdered by shotgun blasts in their lavish mansion. It took two trials to send their sons to life in prison.
Tonight, best-selling author Dominick Dunne, who lost his own daughter to a vicious murder, nobody knows more about crime and justice among the rich than Dominick.

Also joining us, David Cohn, the man who prosecuted and convicted Lyle Menendez. Also from the trial, Dr. William Vicary. He's the psychiatrist that testified in both Menendez trials, and was the first person that Erik Menendez confided to about the molestations; famed defense attorney Mark Geragos; and Mary Jane Stevenson, who covered both trials for Court TV, all next on LARRY KING LIVE.

We're going to begin with Dominick Dunne, the host of the series "Dominick Dunne's Power, Privilege & Justice," which is very hot on Court TV. He's a special correspondent for "Vanity Fair," best- selling author. His most recent book, "Justice: Crimes, Trials & Punishment" is now out in paperback. He's coming to us from Hadlyme, Connecticut, and he covered the Menendez trial as a journalist.

By the way, Dominick, we contacted the California Department of Correction and here what is they tell us about the Menendez brothers today. Erik is at California State Prison, Sacramento. He's in a level four general population maximum security. He has a cellmate, has not gotten into any trouble. Works as a janitor, also worked as a law library clerk. Lyle is at Mule Creek State Prison in Ione, California. He's in the level four general population, maximum security, works as a clerk on the third watch and has been cited for minor misconduct once for an incident in the visiting room.

What sticks out about this incredible trial? I know you covered many trials. Where on the list is Menendez?

DOMINICK DUNNE, COVERED MENENDEZ MURDER TRIALS: It's very high up, Larry. That was a fascinating trial. Both trials were fascinating trials. And, you know, it was right from the very beginning, when the two Menendez brothers went into the house and so- called discovered the dead bodies of their parents whom they had killed an hour and a half before. And they called 911 and did this -- Lyle did and cried into the -- screamed into the phone. And there began two of the greatest performances put on by killers that I've ever seen. They were so convincing in their grief on that night that the Beverly Hills Police, when they were taken to the Beverly Hills police station, didn't even check their hands for paraffin.

It was -- they did two of the great con jobs of all time. They were not arrested for seven months afterwards, although detective Les Zoler (ph) told me -- he was one of the detectives on the case -- that he actually suspected them from the first night. What they did, Larry, is they didn't just kill their parents, they overkilled their parents. They wounded them. There were 12 or 14 round shots from two 12-gauge shotguns they bought two days before in San Diego with a stolen driver's license from a former roommate of Lyle's at Princeton. I mean, these guys knew what they were doing, it was all practiced, the guns were hidden, never found, by the way.

And you know, I think when you overkill, you're not just going in and shoot them. When you go in -- they went in to wound them. They went in to shoot them in the legs and the arms and the thing -- they finally ran out of bullets, they shot them so -- so they were probably screaming at the parents how much they hated them. They had to go outside, reload their guns, come back in and Lyle did the contact wound to his mother, the father already dead, with the head half off, and the mother bleeding, wounded, crawling on the floor. He put the gun to her, which is called a contact shot, fired. It took out her teeth, her nose, her eyes. It was one of the most awful shots I have ever seen.

KING: You viewed all these scenes?

DUNNE: Did I what?

KING: Did you view photographs of the death scene?

DUNNE: I did. I did indeed. I tried to publish that one of Kitty Menendez in "Vanity Fair," but it was too much. I mean, nobody would allow that to happen.

KING: What, Dominick, took seven months?

DUNNE: Well, because, as I said, they put on this incredible show. I mean, Erik was helping them and to put the blame on a guy who had kind of mafia connections, who their father had done business with and hate. I can't remember the man's name now. And they went off -- Lyle went off on the tennis circuit and Erik -- they went on this spending spree almost immediately. They spent $700,000. Before they went to the funeral, they had bought themselves Rolex watches and they bought and bought and bought. It's an amazing story.

KING: Why do you think -- and David Kahn, and you're going to be with the panel here -- David Kahn prosecuted them successfully in the second trial, when they were tried together...

DUNNE: Second trial, it was Pam Bazonich (ph) in the first trial who was the prosecutor.

KING: Why did they get a hung jury in the first trial?

DUNNE: Well, I can tell you my theory, which will probably irritate some people. And I think it had entirely to do with the defense attorney, Leslie Abramson, because it was a hung jury because the men on the jury hated Leslie Abramson and the women on the jury loved her. And I think that had a lot to do with it. You know, a hung jury was considered a victory for her, and she gave a dinner party that night with all the female jurors there and had a great roast beef dinner in Hancock Park and they all got to talk to Erik in the prison as a party treat.

KING: She told me, Dominick, that she would have been happy to have them live at her house. That's how much she liked them and thought they were abused.

DUNNE: She liked them.

KING: How do you explain their -- the carnage? Why that kind of anger?

DUNNE: Well, you know, in the first place, I would like to say that I don't for one minute now or have ever believed that these brothers were sexually abused by their father. I do not believe it. I think that is a defense strategy, whatever, and -- but the father was a tough guy, make no mistakes about that. Jose was a tough guy and he demanded more from his sons than they were able to give him.

It was -- he once took the Concorde over to watch one of his sons in a tennis match and then took the Concorde right back. He was there pushing his kids, pushing his kids, and he wanted -- in the most incredible way, that Lyle go to Princeton. That was very important to him. Now, Lyle and Erik got into a series of burglaries in -- I can't remember the town -- where they lived before they moved to Beverly Hills. And the father got Erik to take the rap for Lyle so that Lyle could get into Princeton without this mark. And all that Erik got was some sessions with a psychiatrist -- or psychologist, rather, Dr. Ozil (ph), who became a main player in this case.

KING: We'll get right back to that in a minute. Dominick Dunne remains with us. And we'll come back with some more questions for Dominick and then the entire panel will assemble. We'll be including your phone calls. This murder occurred 13 years ago tomorrow. Back with more after this.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP, SEPTEMBER 1993)

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Now, what was it that happened after the shooting ended?

ERIK MENENDEZ, CONVICTED OF KILLING PARENTS: I heard a noise from my mom.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: And what was your reaction to that noise?

E. MENENDEZ: I just ran out of the room.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Did you go back to the den?

E. MENENDEZ: Yes.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: And did Lyle go back to the den?

E. MENENDEZ: Lyle was already in the den by that point.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: And could you hear anything after you got back to the den?

E. MENENDEZ: I just heard a fire of a gun.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: You heard what?

E. MENENDEZ: I heard Lyle fire the gun.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: You heard a gun go off?

E. MENENDEZ: Yes.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Did you see Lyle firing the gun?

E. MENENDEZ: No.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP, SEPTEMBER 1993)

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Well, you were out of ammunition weren't you?

LYLE MENENDEZ, CONVICTED OF KILLING PARENTS: Yes.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: And your mother was still moving, wasn't she?

L. MENENDEZ: I didn't see her moving, but that's what I thought she was doing, seemed like she was scrambling around the side of the coffee table.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: You saw some movement on the side of the coffee table where you believed your mother had been, correct, before you left the room to reload?

L. MENENDEZ: I didn't actually see movement, but she seemed to be like in a moving position.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Did she cry out at all?

L. MENENDEZ: No.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Did your father cry out at all?

L. MENENDEZ: Not that I remember.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

KING: Dominick Dunne, if you didn't buy the abuse excuse, that they were abused and that was the reason, then why did they kill their parents?

DUNNE: Well, I can't really tell you why they killed their parents. I'll tell you what I'd like to do. One of the things I would really like to do before I cool is to go up to the prison and talk to these two guys and find out, because -- and find out what actually happened, what triggered it, that it happened that night. I have a theory, but I -- about what happened, but I can't back up...

KING: What's the theory?

DUNNE: You see, I think that Erik was gay and I think that the macho Cuban father could not handle it, and he was very abusive to his son, verbally abusive, said cruel things to him, which triggered off this rage. And instead -- and I think if they had gone with that defense, he could have got off. But instead, they changed it all around so that the father was sexually abusing them. Didn't happen. The father was tough on them, really tough on them.

But, you know, I want to say also that I think that their sentence -- I think David Kahn, who did such a great job in the second trial, and won it, and I think -- but you know what, Larry, as the years go by, I think of those guys in their 8 x 10 cells for the rest of their lives and they're only in their young 30s now, they have got, you know, 50 years to go sitting there, what a waste. They had everything, rich, handsome. It's a really sad story.

KING: Do you talk to any members of the Menendez family, Dominick?

DUNNE: Yes, I do.

KING: His brother and uncles or aunts?

DUNNE: Well, there is an uncle and an aunt whom I check in with, in fact, I talked to this afternoon.

KING: And what are their feelings toward their nephews?

DUNNE: You know, they are absolutely wonderful people and they -- you know, during the trial, the aunt said to me, you know, I know they have to be punished, but I just don't want them to get the death penalty. And she was absolutely right. I mean, I think the death penalty would have been -- I'm not for the death penalty. But she's incredibly loyal. She goes to visit both brothers at their prisons. They have been moved so that -- the prisons are one half-hour from each other. Before, they used to be a great distance. And, you know, it's a sadness for them. It's something that they're never going to get over.

KING: Did the attempt that -- we've seen this in other trials, to put the person who is the victim on trial, was it easy to pick -- to make a tough case against the father?

DUNNE: Oh, very easy.

KING: He was -- was he with Coca-Cola? Who was he with? DUNNE: He was with -- he was with O.J. on -- was it Hertz rent- a-car...

KING: Hertz.

DUNNE: Yes, and then he was with RCA in the music department. And then he started -- he was the president of this film company that had done a Sly Stallone film and a Schwarzenegger film. I think Live (ph) it was called.

(CROSSTALK)

KING: And he was a very tough guy?

DUNNE: A tough guy. He was tough. He was disliked. He was not a popular man, and he was tough on his kids. I mean, he made fun of them, he mocked them if they lost the tennis match or the swimming meet. He made it hard on them.

KING: Why the mother? Why kill the mother?

DUNNE: OK. Let me tell you, he was wildly promiscuous. The mother became a pitiful figure from a beauty queen, which she had been, a pill-popping, semi-alcoholic, pathetic figure. And according to the will, if she had lived, she would have got the money. It was $14 million there. And so, I suppose that's why she had to be put out of the way. But it was the father they hated.

KING: So, greed was part of it, too, then? This was for profit as well?

DUNNE: Oh, yes. Absolutely. I mean, look, you don't spend $700,000 in a couple of months after you've killed your parents, I mean, if that wasn't part of the reason.

KING: We understand Leslie Abramson is now retired. What did you think of her work?

DUNNE: Well, I mean, you know, defense attorneys and I never get along and I didn't get along with Leslie Abramson. And she didn't like me and I didn't like her, and we had a bad time together. But I have to tell you, she is a brilliant defense attorney. I mean, you know, she's got a lot of people who should be doing time free. And, you know...

KING: That's what they're paid to do. Dr. William Viccary is on our panel. He's with us. He had a tough time with it.

DUNNE: He's a good man.

KING: He had a tough time with this though, right? He had to get his license back. We're going to ask him about that. He testified during both trials. But he was the first person who Erik confided to about molestation. But you liked the Dr. Vicary's work, right? DUNNE: Well, you know, I always liked the Dr. Vicary when I would see him at the trial and we would talk in the elevator or the halls or something. And, you know, he got in trouble, and I felt sorry for him when he got in trouble in the second trial, because I think he was doing the bidding of the defense attorney at that time. And it was just a sheer fluke that David had a similar paper and saw that Dr. Vicary's information had been doctored.

KING: We're going to take a break and come back. Dominick Dunne remains with us. Our panel will join us. I'll introduce them to you. And we have lots more to talk about. We'll include your phone calls on this 13th anniversary, or it is tomorrow, of the death of the Menendez parents. We'll be right back.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP, SEPTEMBER 1993)

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: What part of your body did he shave, or what hair did he shave?

E. MENENDEZ: My pubic hair.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Now, apart from the showers in your bedrooms, were there sexual incidents with your father in other places besides your home?

E. MENENDEZ: Yes.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

E. MENENDEZ: They threw me on the bed then, he went to get a knife, and put it at my throat.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Put the knife to your throat?

E. MENENDEZ: Yes.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: And was there sex with your father that day?

E. MENENDEZ: Yes.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Was it that fourth time that you called...

E. MENENDEZ: Yes.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: ... sex?

(END VIDEO CLIP)

KING: Dominick Dunne remains with us, host of his own series on Court TV, special correspondent for "Vanity Fair" and best selling author. And here in Los Angeles is David Cohn. Mr. Cohn prosecuted and convicted the Menendez brothers. By the way, Leslie Abramson, the defense attorney, was invited to appear tonight and declined. Dr. William Vicary is MD, psychiatrist, who testified during both trials. Mark Geragos, who is the famed defense attorney, and Mary Jane Stevenson covered both trials as well.

All right, David, what was -- was this a difficult prosecution?

DAVID COHN, PROSECUTED MENENDEZ BROTHERS: I don't think it was.

KING: Seems like it's open and shut.

COHN: Yeah, I don't think it was. In the long run, it wasn't. The problem was that in the first trial, Leslie Abramson was able to present such a powerful emotional defense that she really had the jury bogged down with that. In the retrial, I think that we straightened it out, we focused on the crime, on the severity of the crime and we were able to get a conviction. But I was confident from day one.

KING: Any big difference that you had, one jury in the second trial as opposed to two juries in the first?

COHN: That was one of the big differences, Larry, because then each juror is not as inclined to feel sympathy for each defendant, but more importantly, we had the right type of jury. We knew, as I agree with Dominick, selection of the jury is all important. When he we had that jury picked, we felt we were going to get a conviction.

KING: Dr. Vicary, what happened that caused you to have a problem with this?

DR. WILLIAM VICARY, PSYCHIATRIST, TESTIFIED AT BOTH TRIALS: Well, I didn't have a problem in preparing the case and I worked on it for six years.

KING: You testified for the defense, right?

VICARY: For the defense. I was the only MD psychiatrist in trial number one, and the only MD psychiatrist in trial number two until the very end, when the prosecution brought in a psychiatrist.

KING: And did you change something? I mean, what problem that happened with you?

VICARY: Yes. Prior to the first trial, Leslie Abramson and I were going over my notes, my treatment notes, and there were approximately 100 pages of those treatment notes, because I was seeing Erik every week at the jail.

KING: Just Erik?

VICARY: Just Erik. And as we were reviewing my notes, she became very angry and upset about some of the passages that were in the notes and I said...

KING: That would be damaging to her case. VICARY: She believed that they would be damaging, and I tried to explain that statements like "we can't take it anymore" -- obviously, the prosecutor is going to say that means premeditation and deliberation, but on the other hand, what the defense can say is that it means we can't take being tortured and abused anymore by our parents.

KING: So you changed the notes, though?

VICARY: I refused to change the notes until she said, if you are not going to some of these passages, you're gone and you will not be allowed to testify on behalf of Erik, which put me in a pretty tough position, since I had felt very close to this boy, and I was the first person in the entire case that any of the sexual abuse came out, very slowly.

KING: And you believed that, right?

VICARY: Well, I had an open mind and I remain to be convinced either way about any abuse.

KING: So you changed it because you felt sorry for him and liked him? I don't want to put words in your mouth. Is that...

VICARY: That's part of it, plus the fact that if I didn't make these changes, I would not be allowed to testify, and I felt that that might expose him to the death penalty.

KING: Mark Geragos, do you understand why Ms. Abramson wanted him to do that?

MARK GERAGOS, DEFENSE ATTORNEY: I think Ms. Abramson's got a different take on it. I think she took a different position than Dr. Vicary. It's tough for me. I know Leslie and like Leslie. I know Dr. Vicary, I've used him on cases, and I have the utmost respect for him as well. So they took rather different positions, if you will, at the time.

David, from David's standpoint, David had a -- notes that were given to him, and under the reciprocity statute, if you will, in discovery, you have to do that, you have to turn over these notes prior to putting the witness on the stand. So consequently, when that happened, David, contrary, I think, to what Dominick said, I don't think it was sheer dumb luck, I think it was David who -- I've tried cases with him, he's always meticulously prepared -- went through, saw that there was a difference, and through cross-examination was able to turn it into quite, I think, the turning point of the trial, because at that point, after that was discovered, Leslie was no longer the lead lawyer. The late Barry Levin then took over on the case from that point.

KING: Mary Jane, you covered this trial. Did you have any sympathy for the brothers?

MARY JANE STEVENSON, COVERED BOTH TRIALS: Well, I don't now, but I have to tell you, Larry, in the first trial, one of the most stunning moments -- and I think Dominick will agree with me -- was the day that Lyle Menendez took the stand.

I was sitting next to Dominick in the courtroom, and as Dominick will tell you, he went into this case not believing anything about the abuse, and he still, as were all the other observers in the courtroom, were absolutely stunned to hear Lyle Menendez's testimony. It sounded real at the time. He was crying, he was giving these horrific details not only about the killings but also about the abuse that they alleged. And it wasn't until we all went back and sort of looked at the videotapes over and over that it felt like it was really a lie. But the first time, I think, most of the observers in the courtroom heard it, they were floored.

KING: Dominick, would you agree?

DUNNE: Yes, I do. But you see, you have to put it -- like it was -- like the 911 call. You believed that the first time. I mean, they were very similar things.

STEVENSON: They were that. I have to agree with Dominick. They were incredible actors. If you listened to that 911 call, you can't help but feel sympathy for Erik, at least, who's screaming in the background. And if you didn't know that -- if you didn't know the end result, you would feel sorry for them. It was so real, and I think that's really what took the Beverly Hills police off guard and the reason why they didn't do the gunshot residue tests on their hands, because had that they done that that night, this case would have been over long, long before it was.

KING: Did you believe Lyle, Dr. Vicary? Do you believe he was molested?

VICARY: Yes. Not anywhere near the extent that the younger boy, Erik, was, but there were indications from witnesses that lived in the family home that something funny was going on.

KING: You feel sorry for Erik?

VICARY: Yes, I feel sorry for both of these boys, in a sense that they're now men, but they were tortured and placed...

KING: Do you disagree with Dominick?

VICARY: Yes, I do, we have an honest difference of opinion about that. And I think Dominick has a good idea. If he would like to meet Erik face to face and ask him all these tough questions, I would be willing to facilitate that. I'm going to see Erik next week.

KING: Wait a minute. You're going to see Erik next week?

VICARY: Yes.

KING: Dominick, would you go?

DUNNE: I would love to. You bet I would. You bet. I've always...

KING: It's going to happen right here.

DUNNE: I always wanted to hear.

KING: I'll be your agent.

DUNNE: ... what happened.

KING: Will you set it up for Dominick to see Erik?

VICARY: Yes.

KING: We'll be right back with more on LARRY KING LIVE. Matthew Perry is here on Thursday night. Don't go away.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: How did you feel at 18 about the fact that your father was having sex with you?

E. MENENDEZ: I hated it. I hated it. I hated it.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: And what did you think your options were with respect to sex with your father?

E. MENENDEZ: Options? I had no options.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: So you sent your brother to the kitchen with his weapon, you stood at the door -- the French doors into the room in order to trap them inside the room, correct?

L. MENENDEZ: No.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: You went into that room and started firing your weapon before you even knew what your parents were doing, didn't you?

L. MENENDEZ: Yes, we were in a panic.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

KING: David, you cross-examined Erik, right? Lyle did not take the stand in the second trial.

COHN: That's correct.

KING: Was he a good witness?

COHN: No, I don't think he held up. I don't think he was as good as Lyle. And I think that's one of the...

KING: Lyle testified in the first trial.

COHN: Lyle testified in the first trial. I think he did a really good job, and I think the defense missed him in the retrial.

KING: And he didn't testify. Why?

COHN: Well, we had new evidence on him. One of the things that we had on him was that he was making statements over the telephone to a woman who was writing a book about him, and she, in fact, published that book, and we had those statements on tape.

KING: They were so incriminating?

COHN: Very incriminating statements, including him saying "we fooled half the country last time, and this time we only have to fool the rest."

KING: And Dr. Vicary told us during the break, Dominick, he's going to set that up for you, is that Erik is not only a model prisoner, which the California Department of Correction verified, they all like him there, right?

VICARY: Yes, the warden likes him. The guards like him.

KING: He's married now?

VICARY: He's married now. His wife come to visit him two or three times every week. Brings her little son with her. They're allowed to hug and kiss.

KING: Has he got -- has he made life for himself in prison?

VICARY: Yes. He's thrived. He's become a very fulfilled and stable individual, given the circumstance.

KING: How do you explain that, Mark?

GERAGOS: Well, I think Dr. Vicary indicated. If you ask him, it's the first time that he wasn't being tortured or abused in his life, and there is some people who do thrive in that environment. In fact, there's a lot of people that thrive in institutionalized environment, especially if what they experienced on the outside or the kinds of experiences they had on the outside were not too pleasant.

KING: Dominick, does that make sense to you?

DUNNE: Yeah. But you know, something about Erik is, he was a very good writer. You know, he wrote a scenario about a boy who killed his very rich parents. He and a friend of his, a buddy of his called Craig Signiorelli (ph), and I hope that while he's in prison that he is writing a book or writing something, because that was very well written.

KING: Is he writing, do you know, doctor?

VICARY: Yes, I think he's done some writing for groups, national groups concerned with child abuse, to try and offer his own story and offer advice and recommendation to others.

KING: I've noticed you have a book in front of you there called "When a Child Kills."

VICARY: Yes.

KING: Is there a lot of this?

VICARY: A lot of parricide, children who kill parents?

KING: Yeah.

VICARY: Actually, not. It's only a small fraction of all of the homicide cases in this country and other countries.

KING: What was it like, Mary Jane, at the trial?

STEVENSON: Well, the first trial was stunning, as I said. I mean, I was a cub reporter back then, and Dominick and I sat together in the courtroom, and every day was just another drama. I mean, still to this day, I don't think we've seen that much drama. I mean, OK, O.J., but really haven't seen that much drama in a courtroom. It was a very tiny courtroom, and every day there were people on the witness stand crying, either describing alleged sex abuse or physical abuse or horrific, bloody murder, and they also constantly had these crime scene photographs plastered on the big boards in the courtroom. And it was just amazing -- it was an amazing six months.

KING: Why, David, did you seek the death penalty?

COHN: Well, we felt, Larry, that it was appropriate for this type of crime. After all, the people of the state of California said that they want a death penalty. In the appropriate murder case, it should go to the jury as a death penalty, and then let the jury decide.

KING: And they decided life?

COHN: They did decide life. We have no quarrel with them, because of course, life without the possibility of parole is a very serious penalty as well.

KING: Would you have taken this case...

STEVENSON: You know, Larry...

KING: Hold on one second, Mary. Would you have taken this case, Mark?

GERAGOS: Would I have at the time? I probably would have taken the case at the time.

KING: Mary, what were you going to say?

STEVENSON: Something about the death penalty. It was very, very close for Lyle Menendez in that second trial. I interviewed all the jurors after the trial, and what happened was, the forewoman on the eve of the verdict, the forewoman had a heart attack, and so they had to begin deliberations all over again. But what they had done before she had the heart attack, is they had all agreed on the murder and one of the special circumstances. They just had to come back and agree on a second special circumstance, and then vote on life or death.

It turned out that all of the jurors, including the forewoman, wanted to vote for death for Lyle. She ended up having a heart attack. She was OK, but she couldn't finish deliberations, and she was replaced by a young man who then convinced the rest of the jury that Lyle should get life and not death. And so it was really -- I guess but for the grace of God that Lyle didn't get the death penalty.

KING: Dominick, that's quite a story.

DUNNE: Larry, you know, there is one other thing I want to tell about the first and second trial. Is that they became just enormous national celebrities. And people used to start lining up to get those few seats in the courtroom at 3:00 in the morning. And they had more girls -- they were like rock stars. It was the most amazing thing. The corridor was just filled with young, beautiful girls who kind of fell in love with these two guys.

KING: Was it, David, for you a vehement prosecution?

COHN: Well, it was something that we had to win. I think that the public was disappointed, I think the district attorney's office was disappointed at the results of the first trial, and we had to win. And we did.

KING: A lot of pressure?

COHN: I certainly did, but I felt that the evidence was strong, and I was confident.

KING: You are a defense attorney now, right?

COHN: That's correct.

KING: Would you have taken the Menendez case?

COHN: Well, I have to make a living.

KING: We'll take a break, come back, and include your phone calls for our panel. Tomorrow night, what's with the van Dam jury? Don't go away.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Can you answer the question?

E. MENENDEZ: Yes.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: OK. You telling Lyle what?

E. MENENDEZ: That my dad had been molesting me. UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: And did you want something from your brother, is that why you told him?

E. MENENDEZ: I just wanted it to stop.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Were you seeking help from your brother?

E. MENENDEZ: Yes.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Do you know if you lined that directly with that second figure, or if you were off to the side?

E. MENENDEZ: I don't know. I don't know. I just walked into the room. I just started firing, and I don't know. I didn't think about these things. I didn't think where was this, where was that? I just started firing. And I don't know.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

KING: We're back. We go to phone calls. Belgrade, Minnesota, hello.

CALLER: Hi. Mr. Dunne, Mr. King, a fascinating case. I watched almost every day of the testimony when Lyle and Erik were on the stand. And I believed what they were telling us. Do you think they made up the stories of abuse such as with the tacks and the toothbrushes? Or do you think Leslie Abramson coached them? How do you think that could be that they could make that up?

DUNNE: Well, an awful lot of that stuff -- an awful lot of that stuff, Larry, came out of the book that you just mentioned, when a -- what was it called...

KING: "When a Child Kills."

DUNNE: By who is it by? Can you remind me?

VICARY: Paul Mones.

KING: Paul Mones.

DUNNE: Paul, Paul. And he was -- he was in the courtroom, you know, during much of the trial. But all that stuff, the tacks and all that, I never believed it. And then it was in that book.

KING: But you do, Dr. Vicary, just so we understand, you believe what Erik told you?

VICARY: Yes.

KING: That he was physically attacked?

VICARY: Yes, and the specifics that came out, not only what he said and his brother said, but what other people that lived in the home said over the years.

KING: Why would a heterosexual father have sexual relations with his son?

VICARY: Well, there are many heterosexually functioning men who are acting out in a homosexual manner, either with adults or with children, sometimes their own children. This is not as uncommon as people think. It is bewildering. You'd say, how can somebody that's heterosexual be doing this -- the answer, we think, is that they are divided in terms of their sexuality.

KING: And Mark, you're not shocked by that?

GERAGOS: No. There is -- in the criminal justice system, every day across the country, there are fathers who are defendants for that very act.

KING: How were they such good, Dr. Vicary, actors those seven months that they were not arrested? They knew what they had done. How were they so good at that?

VICARY: I think that they were both relieved to be out of the torture and the unbearable pain, and they felt tremendous relief. They had all of this money, which they had always had, with all these privileges, and they splurged, and they did a lot of stupid things. And the interesting part about this whole case is that because Erik was so overcome by grief and was suicidal that he went back to the therapist that he had early on after the burglaries, and he confessed to the therapist because he just couldn't take it anymore.

KING: What broke it for the police, David?

COHN: Well, what broke it for the police was when Dr. Ozil's (ph) lover came forward, and -- to make a complaint about the Dr. Ozil (ph), and then inadvertently said, oh, and by the way, I know about the homicide and I know who is responsible. She had apparently been told something by Dr. Ozil (ph) and overheard certain things.

KING: Had that not occurred, Mary Jane, Dominick and Mary Jane, had that not occurred, would they have gotten away with it?

DUNNE: Yes, I'll tell you...

STEVENSON: They would have gotten away it. There really wasn't the physical evidence that they needed in order to arrest them, and without that confession, I mean, I think if Lyle had done the crime by himself and didn't tell Erik, that he may have gotten away with it, because he was never going to tell anyone.

KING: Dominick?

DUNNE: But you know, there is a woman in the case who hasn't been mentioned, and that's Judealine Smith (ph).

STEVENSON: Right.

DUNNE: Judealine Smith (ph) was the girlfriend of the Dr. Ozil (ph) at the time. She grew to hate him later. And she had listened in, and she had the information, and then she had listened in to the confession. And then, when she went to the police, she was the one who told them that the guns were bought in San Diego, something that the police had never been able to figure out. That's an important part.

KING: Murfresboro, Tennessee, hello.

CALLER: Hello, Larry.

KING: Hi.

CALLER: I would like to ask Dominick, how the boys had access to all this money they spent in such a short time, even before the funeral, and who got the millions after the sentencing? Was it put in a trust or something?

KING: Good question. How did they get that money so fast?

DUNNE: Well, I think that the uncles and everything gave them the money at that time, but there was no money left. This is very important to know. There was no money left by the end of that trial. Whatever happened to that $14 million, I don't know, but I don't know what the legal fees were, but there was no money left.

KING: Let's ask Mr. Geragos.

GERAGOS: I was going to say, I can venture to say that a lot of that money went for legal fees. But Dominick's right, by the time the end of the first trial, all of that estate was exhausted. In fact, Leslie I think on the second trial actually had to apply to be court- appointed in that case for this trial.

KING: So it was probably the uncle and aunt who gave them the money, right?

GERAGOS: There were enormous expenses in connection with the estate and settling the estate.

KING: But before they were accused or anything, the uncle and aunt probably said, here is your money?

GERAGOS: I think the aunt was extremely supportive of the boys, and still is to this day.

DUNNE: That's right.

KING: We'll be back with more moments on this. Dominick confirms that. Don't go away.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Back outside, and your brother gave you one round, is that correct?

L. MENENDEZ: Yes.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Why didn't you put in more?

L. MENENDEZ: Because I was scared, and trying to get back to him as fast as possible, and I just didn't spend time to do more. I really don't have any particular memory of why I did a lot of these things that may not make a great deal of sense. Happened so fast, I was reacting to whatever I was feeling. And I just -- know now the things that happened, but I wasn't -- you know, I just wasn't going through my mind at the time whether I would need more or what exactly was happening.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Did you over the course of the preceding three years ever consider killing yourself?

E. MENENDEZ: Yes.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: And what was the reason, as far as you understood it, why you thought about killing yourself?

E. MENENDEZ: Because it would end the sex. And that's all I wanted.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

KING: Boston, Massachusetts, hello.

CALLER: Hi. Yes, my question is for Mr. Dunne. I seem to remember from the trial the brother and sister, meaning of the murdered father, didn't they somewhat testify in support of the boys? I thought I remember them doing that sort of, you know, saying, yes, the father did injure them, or the father was abusive to them. Isn't that true? And also, I just have to say, myself and many of my friends, we would love to sit next to you at one of these trials.

DUNNE: OK.

KING: Mary was lucky.

DUNNE: I couldn't understand that question, though.

KING: The question was, did not the uncle and an aunt testify for the boys? Saying that the father was very abusive?

DUNNE: There was one aunt that did, yes.

KING: One aunt did that. OK. To Ottawa, hello. Ottawa, hello. Go ahead.

CALLER: Yes. My question is for Mark Geragos. Isn't it unfair or maybe unconstitutional for the prosecution to be able to retry a case just because it fails to get a conviction the first time around? Very few people have the resources psychologically or financially like $14 million to fight such a case and the prosecution has too great a power, and especially on a high profile case, the prosecution can always get any -- eventually get a jury to agree with it.

GERAGOS: It's not unconstitutional. Is it unfair? I think it probably is.

KING: You think a hung jury should end the case?

GERAGOS: Hung jury -- well, it depends. I mean, if you have 11 to one for guilt, you know, and there is always that expectation that you had somebody who was out of the mainstream. But when you have something that is so evenly split, that tends to auger, I think for...

KING: The Menendez trial was evenly split?

GERAGOS: It was fairly evenly split, and I think the first trial, you had two separate juries which were virtually split the same, which is an amazing result when you think about it, that prosecution.

KING: David, what do you think of the hung jury cases?

COHN: Well, I can understand why the law allows for a second trial. Juries are so unpredictable. One jury could convict based upon a certain amount of evidence, and a different jury could acquit. It really is a roll of the dice, and we...

KING: If you had a hung jury in the second trial, would there have been a third?

COHN: I think there would have been, because I think we did have strong evidence.

KING: Minalapan, New Jersey, hello.

CALLER: Yes, hello, Larry.

KING: Hi.

CALLER: I would like to know if any of the panel sees the brothers getting paroled any time soon?

KING: Can they be paroled?

GERAGOS: No.

STEVENSON: No.

KING: Can they be paroled? They cannot. David? COHN: No.

DUNNE: It's life without the possibility of parole.

KING: So they're not going to have a hearing or anything.

COHN: That's correct.

KING: And the only way they can get out is commutation, right?

COHN: That's correct.

KING: And that could be done by whom?

COHN: By the governor. But we don't anticipate that that's going to happen.

KING: I mean, it could be when they're 80 years old, but I mean, that could happen. But it's not likely.

COHN: I don't think so. Right.

KING: Mary Jane, historically, this is going to go down in the annals?

STEVENSON: Oh, absolutely. I don't think anybody will ever forget this trial, not only the reporters who covered it, but also the public who watched it. Like Dominick said, it was a huge national event, and we really haven't seen anything like it since.

KING: Did the lawyers talk about it a lot, Mark, when the lawyers got together?

GERAGOS: Oh, it was clearly the subject of discussion in the -- at least in the criminal courts community. I mean, that was the case that was being tried. There was a lot of talk about Pam, who was trying it the first time, and there was even more talk about David when he was brought in, and talk about the judge, because there were some critical -- David talks about the jury, but my read on this case, the second time around is that David was able to convince the judge to eliminate certain things pre-trial and make certain legal decisions, and I think that that took the heart of out of the defense case the second time around.

KING: Did you have -- were you happy to get this case?

COHN: I was very happy to get it, because it was a great challenge, and it was important, I think, to this country and to California to see justice done in this case.

KING: Did the psychiatric community talk about it a lot?

VICARY: Yes. I think so.

KING: You and your fellow confreres got together? VICARY: Yes. A large part of this case was the mental health testimony from a variety of experts about the sexual abuse and the dysfunction and the terror that was going on in this family, because the bottom line is, that's the true motivation for why somebody would become so desperate that they would kill their parents.

KING: We thank you all very much. Dominick Dunne, it's always good to have you with us. And Mary Jane, thank you so much in Denver. And here in Los Angeles, David Cohn, who prosecuted, Dr. William Vicary who testified for the defense as psychiatrist. And of course, Mark Geragos. Mark will be back with our panel tomorrow night as we look at the doings or non-doings going on in San Diego. We'll tell you more about tomorrow night and the week ahead when we come back. I'm Larry King. On behalf of the whole panel, we'll be right back. Don't go away.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

KING: The jury is still out in the trial in San Diego of the death of the van Dam young lady. And we're going to discuss that. Maybe a verdict tomorrow, and maybe not. And Matthew Perry is going to be aboard on Thursday night. Always great having him, Matthew. Haven't seen him a long time. Look forward to it. He's got a new movie opening.

Speaking of moving, Aaron Brown is on the move. He's not in New York tonight to host "NEWSNIGHT." He's in home base, he is in Atlanta, and there must be a reason.

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