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Lyle Menendez on parents' 1989 murder: 'I still cry over my mother'

Lyle Menendez says watching the "Law & Order: True Crime: The Menendez Murders" series is painful, but the show is "surprisingly accurate."
/ Source: TODAY

Lyle Menendez was watching on a television in his prison cell when the inaugural episode of NBC's four-part miniseries, "Law & Order True Crime: The Menendez Murders,'' aired Tuesday night.

"It was painful to watch,'' he told Megyn Kelly in a phone interview from prison on TODAY Thursday.

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"I think it's difficult to — without having talked to me — to know kind of how I was at that time, but it's pretty surprisingly accurate throughout," he said.

The show, which will air every Tuesday through Oct. 17, depicts the 1989 murder of Menendez's parents and the sensationalized trials that ultimately resulted in Lyle, 49, and his brother, Erik, 46, being sentenced to life in prison without parole for the murders.

Lyle Menendez was able to watch the first installment on a television in his cell at Mule Creek State Prison in Ione, California. Erik Menendez is incarcerated in San Diego, and it's unclear whether he also saw the show.

Prosecutors argued that the brothers murdered their parents, Jose and Kitty, with a shotgun in their Beverly Hills home to gain control of the couple's $14 million estate.

Lyle Menendez spoke about why the brothers killed their mother despite his claim that she didn't know about alleged sexual abuse by their father. Their defense attorneys argued the abuse was the cause of the murders.

"This was the opposite of a cold-blooded killing,'' Menendez said. "I think that the crime scene didn't show that it was cold-blooded, it showed that it was very hot-blooded, very emotional. The outrage, the anger, the betrayal, the feeling that she knew all along."

He says he still has mixed feelings about Kitty Menendez.

"I love my mother, and I still cry over my mother, and I don't forgive her,'' he said. "Her life ended and our lives essentially ended all because of this fateful decision. There had to be a series of decisions she made of not to tell what was happening. What kind of mother lets it happen?"

During the first trial in 1993, Menendez testified that he told his mother about the abuse. But he told Kelly in an initial phone interview from prison earlier this week that he never spoke to his mother about any abuse by his father, and that an adult cousin had instead. Kelly followed up with another call in which she asked him about the seeming contradiction.

"It's not a discrepancy,'' he said. "I never felt that I told my mother about the abuse. Some things were happening that I was crying about and upset about and I complained to my mother in a vague way about it. My father would undress us to beat us with this belt, and he would undress me to do these sports massages, and she was thinking that that's what I was referring to."

Even though Menendez testified that his mother knew about his father's alleged abuse, he is backing away from that statement 28 years after the murders.

"To me it wouldn't be fair for me to say my mother at that point knew,'' he told Kelly.

Follow writer Scott Stump on Twitter.