Would you marry a murderer who will never be paroled? If so, would your decision be influenced by the fact that you could NEVER have a conjugal visit with that inmate?
Lyle Menendez has been locked behind bars for nearly thirty years and nearly half that time has been happily married to his wife, Rebecca Sneed (Rebecca Menendez).
Both Lyle and his younger brother Erik Menendez are serving life sentences at the California’s Mule Creek State Prison; neither sibling will be paroled.
They convicted Lyle and Erik of shooting their parents, Jose and Kitty Menendez, as they sat watching television in their Beverly Hills, California home.
The Menendez case was a national spectacle ending in a mistrial before a jury finally convicted the two killers. The grisly crime scene showed that Lyle and Erik shot their parents nearly fifteen times using 12-gauge shotguns.
The brothers claimed they were exposed to years of sexual abuse from their father that finally ended in August 1989 with the many shells they pumped into his body.
At the time of the murder, Lyle was twenty-one years old and Erik was eighteen.
A jury decided that the brother’s true motivation was not stopping a vicious cycle of sexual abuse, but the money that it would grant them after they killed their wealthy parents.
Inside California’s Mule Creek State Prison, Rebecca has visited her husband Lyle each Saturday and Sunday for nearly fifteen years. Their “intimate conversations” held inside the waiting room as the State of California does not allow for inmates serving life sentences to have conjugal visits.
In an exclusive prison interview given to People.com, Lyle says about his relationship,
“Our interaction tends to be very free of distractions and we probably have more intimate conversations than most married spouses do, who are distracted by life’s events.”
Rebecca Sneed talked to Lyle on the phone every day, multiple times a day if able, before she married him in 2003.
Rebecca works as a defense attorney and senior associate.
Rebecca Sneed wasn’t the first woman that Lyle married in prison. His first wife Anna Eriksson stayed married for five years before she divorced him for “cheating” on her through correspondence with other women.
Lyle’s little brother Erik has been married since 1999 to his wife Tammi.
"Hugged up with Chino"
The lack of conjugal visits can lead inmates to seek affection within the prison walls and this may be the case with Lyle Menendez.
A former prison inmate, Eugene L. Weems, published a tell-all book called Prison Secrets, which exposes Lyle Menendez as a “remorseless criminal” who has had homosexual relationships while incarcerated.
According to Weems’ claims, other inmates considered Lyle a coward - and a rich gay boy”. Weems states that while serving time in California’s Mule Creek State Prison, he witnessed Lyle “lying in a bunk, hugged up with Chino.” Weems described “Chino” as a “handsome Hispanic man with an athletic build.”
According to Weems, “he quickly hopped up once he saw me standing at his cell door. He began apologizing to me and asked me not to say anything about what I had seen.”
Rebecca Sneed (Menendez) and Lyle have been happily married since 2003. Rebecca does her best to stay out of the national spotlight, possibly fearing the negative press may affect her legal job.