Today in History: March 20, Lyle and Erik Menendez convicted of the murder of their parents


In 1413, England’s King Henry IV died; he was succeeded by Henry V.

In 1815, Napoleon Bonaparte returned to Paris after escaping his exile on Elba, beginning his “Hundred Days” rule.

In 1852, Harriet Beecher Stowe’s influential novel about slavery, “Uncle Tom’s Cabin,” was first published in book form after being serialized.

In 1854, the Republican Party of the United States was founded by slavery opponents at a schoolhouse in Ripon, Wisconsin.

In 1922, the decommissioned USS Jupiter, converted into the first U.S. Navy aircraft carrier, was recommissioned as the USS Langley.

In 1952, the U.S. Senate ratified, 66-10, a Security Treaty with Japan.

In 1969, John Lennon married Yoko Ono in Gibraltar.

In 1976, kidnapped newspaper heiress Patricia Hearst was convicted of armed robbery for her part in a San Francisco bank holdup carried out by the Symbionese Liberation Army. (Hearst was sentenced to seven years in prison; she was released after serving 22 months, and was pardoned in 2001 by President Bill Clinton.)

In 1995, in Tokyo, 12 people were killed, more than 5,500 others sickened when packages containing the deadly chemical sarin were leaked on five separate subway trains by Aum Shinrikyo cult members.

In 1996, a jury in Los Angeles convicted Erik and Lyle Menendez of first-degree murder in the shotgun slayings of their wealthy parents. (They were sentenced to life in prison without the possibility of parole.)

In 2013, making his first visit to Israel since taking office, President Barack Obama affirmed Israel’s sovereign right to defend itself from any threat and vowed to prevent Iran from obtaining nuclear weapons.

In 2014, President Barack Obama ordered economic sanctions against nearly two dozen members of Russian President Vladimir Putin’s inner circle and a major bank that provided them support, raising the stakes in an East-West showdown over Ukraine.

In 2017, U.S. Supreme Court nominee Neil Gorsuch pledged to be independent or “hang up the robe” as the Senate began confirmation hearings on President Donald Trump’s conservative pick for the nation’s highest bench.

In 2018, in a phone call to Vladimir Putin, President Donald Trump offered congratulations on Putin’s re-election victory; a senior official said Trump had been warned in briefing materials that he should not congratulate Putin.

In 2020, the governor of Illinois ordered residents to remain in their homes except for essential needs, joining similar efforts in California and New York to limit the spread of the coronavirus. Stocks tumbled again on Wall Street, ending their worst week since the 2008 financial crisis; the Dow fell more than 900 points to end the week with a 17% loss.

In 2022, Ukrainian authorities said Russia’s military bombed an art school sheltering about 400 people in the port city of Mariupol, where refugees described how “battles took place over every street,” weeks into a devastating siege.

In 2023, Russian President Vladimir Putin welcomed Chinese leader Xi Jinping to the Kremlin, sending a powerful message to Western leaders that their efforts to isolate Moscow over the fighting in Ukraine have fallen short.


Actor Hal Linden is 93.

Basketball Hall of Fame coach Pat Riley is 79.

Country singer-musician Ranger Doug (Riders in the Sky) is 78.

Hockey Hall of Famer Bobby Orr is 76.

Blues singer-musician Marcia Ball is 75.

Rock musician Carl Palmer (Emerson, Lake and Palmer) is 74.

Rock musician Jimmie Vaughan is 73.

Actor Amy Aquino is 67.

Movie director Spike Lee is 67.

Actor Theresa Russell is 67.

Actor Vanessa Bell Calloway is 67.

Actor Holly Hunter is 66.

Rock musician Slim Jim Phantom (The Stray Cats) is 63.

Actor-model-designer Kathy Ireland is 61.

Actor David Thewlis is 61.

Rock musician Adrian Oxaal (James) is 59.

Actor Jessica Lundy is 58.

Actor Liza Snyder is 56.

Actor Michael Rapaport is 54.

Actor Alexander Chaplin is 53.

Actor Cedric Yarbrough is 51.

Actor Paula Garcés is 50.

Actor Bianca Lawson is 45.

Comedian-actor Mikey Day is 44.

Actor Nick Blood (TV: “Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.”) is 42.

Rock musician Nick Wheeler (The All-American Rejects) is 42.

Actor Michael Cassidy is 41.

Actor-singer Christy Carlson Romano is 40.

Actor Ruby Rose is 38.

Actor Barrett Doss is 35.