Michael Skakel | Fifth appeal of murder conviction denied

A court gavel sitting on a legal document.

Michael Skakel's appeal of his conviction for Martha Moxley's murder was turned down by the state Supreme Court today. Image from Flickr.

Michael Skakel, the nephew of Robert Kennedy’s widow Ethel, was denied his fifth appeal today. Michael Skakel was convicted of the 1975 murder of Martha Moxley, his brother’s girlfriend. Michael Skakel has never confessed to Martha Moxley’s murder, and this latest appeal was based on the implication that two other men may have been responsible. Michael Skakel has spent a significant amount of emergency money on his defense and appeals, though none have been successful.

Michael Skakel’s alleged murder of Martha Moxley

Allegedly, Michael Skakel beat Martha Moxley to death with a golf club. Michael Skakel was not indicted in the murder until 2000, 15 years after the alleged crime. In 1998, a nonfiction book about the murder, Murder in Greenwich, named Michael Skakel as the probable killer. Michael Skakel claimed that during Martha Moxley’s murder, he was at his cousin’s house.

The trial of Michael Skakel

During Michael Skakel’s 2002 trial for Martha Moxley’s murder, the prosecution extensively used research that had been done for the Murder in Greenwich book. Taped book proposals were used with heavy editing that seemed to indicated Skakel had confessed to the murder. Michael Skakel had been quoted by several classmates as saying “I’m a Kennedy, I can get away with murder.” Michael Skakel had also admitted to being in the tree that Martha Moxley was found under the next morning. On June 7, 2002, Michael Skakel was convicted of Martha Moxley’s murder.

Michael Skakel’s appeals

Michael Skakel has filed multiple appeals in his conviction for Martha Moxley’s murder. Using private money lenders and money from supporters, Michael Skakel has appealed to the Connecticut Supreme Court and the Federal Supreme Court multiple times. The first appeal claimed that the statute of limitations had expired and that there had been prosecutorial misconduct. The United States Supreme Court declined to hear the case in 2006. In 2007, new evidence seemed to emerge, though the Superior court denied request for new trial. This decision was appealed to the Connecticut Supreme Court, who also denied the appeal.

Michael Skakel’s new evidence

In 2003, a videotaped interview with a private investigator came to light where Tony Bryant pointed the finger for Martha Moxley’s murder at two other men. Both Tony Bryant and the two men that he implicated have invoked the fifth amendment. Both the appeal for a new trial and the decision that the Connecticut Supreme Court handed down today were based on the fact that Tony Bryant’s testimony was hearsay. Michael Skakel’s last remaining chance to have this evidence re-heard is currently pending in federal court.

Sources:

Wall Street Journal at http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424052702303828304575179930235622468.html?mod=googlenews_wsj
CNN
Associated Press at http://www.boston.com/news/local/connecticut/articles/2007/10/25/attorney_judge_denies_skakels_bid_for_a_new_trial/

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