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In Memory of
Kitty Menendez
October 14, 1941 - August 20, 1989

Princeton Cemetery, Princeton, NJ

Kitty Menendez

Birth: Oct. 14, 1941
Oak Lawn
Cook County
Illinois, USA

Death: Aug. 20, 1989
Los Angeles
Los Angeles County
California, USA

Murder Victim. While watching television with her husband, Jose, the two were murdered by their two sons, Joseph Lyle and Erik Galen Menendez. Both boys were convicted in a highly publicized and televised trial, one of the first publicly televised trials on the new Court Television Channel. Born Mary Louise "Kitty" Andersen in Oak Lawn, a suburb of Chicago in 1941, she was the youngest of four children to Charles and Mae Andersen. Her father owned a heating and air-conditioning company and provided well for the family. When Kitty entered grammar school, her father left the family to marry another woman, and in order to support the family, her mother went to work for United Airlines at Midway Airport outside Chicago. Because of the hostile divorce, Kitty was withdrawn and often depressed while growing up, and she would have nothing to do with her father. Following high school, she attended Southern Illinois University, working in the school's broadcasting department, where she learned to produce dramas for radio and television. In 1962, her senior year at SIU, Kitty had met Jose Menendez, a freshman who was three years younger than her, and they were soon in love. In 1963, they eloped, shortly after Betty received her BS degree in communications. Initially, Jose and Kitty lived in New York City, where Jose obtained an athletic scholarship at Queens College and Kitty found work teaching grade school. Over the next twenty years, the family had moved to Princeton, New Jersey, where their sons, Joseph and Erik, were born, and then to Beverly Hills, California, where Jose worked in the Carolco Film Company as an executive. As Police later reconstructed the killings, both boys wanted their inheritance worth several million dollars and conspired to kill their parents to get it. Pretending to go to the movies to see the James Bond film, "License to Kill," the two boys returned to find their parents watching television together. They killed Jose first, firing four times from two shotguns, including one fired directly into the back of their father's head, and then shot their mother ten times as she tried to escape, placing the last shot against the side of her head. After killing their parents, the two men picked up the spent shell casings, and calmly went to see the movie in order to establish their alibi. They reported the killings upon their return. Initially Police thought the killings to be a mob-hit, but soon discovered otherwise. The two boys spent over $1 million of their inheritance in the first six months following their parents' deaths. Following their conviction for premeditated murder and conspiracy to commit murder, both boys were given consecutive life sentences without benefit of parole. As of 2007, Joseph is serving his sentence in Mule Creek State Prison while Erik is in Pleasant Valley State Prison. Both men will spend the rest of their lives in prison. (bio by: Kit and Morgan Benson)

Family links:
Jose E. Menendez (1944 - 1989)
Princeteton Cemetery Princeton
Mercer County
New Jersey, USA