Martha Moxley Case

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Page Contents:

  • "The Murder of Martha Moxley" -- Free Screensaver
  • State's Attorney Attacks Skakel Strategy
  • Author Responds to Kennedy Article in 'Atlantic Monthly'
  • Skakel Sentenced to 20 Years to Life in Prison
  • Skakel Found Guilty of Murder
  • October 30, 1975 -- "Devil's Night"
  • Criminal Minds Crime and Court News Index

State's Attorney Attacks Skakel Strategy

September 11, 2003 -- Prosecutors filed a motion yesterday asking that the state Superior Court order Michael Skakel's defense team to hand over the names and addresses of two men who are alleged to have admitted to a friend that they killed Martha Moxley in 1975.

At the same time, lawyers for the state also issued a statement criticizing Gitano "Tony" Bryant's alleged admission to a screenwriter friend that two Bronx, NY, companions murdered Moxley on Oct. 30. They pointed out that Skakel's trial attorney, Michael Sherman, had information about the allegation during the trial and declined to use it in defense of his client.

"That we didn't see any of the Bryant allegations in the trial is hardly surprising. It only demonstrates Sherman's experience and sagacity in culling the incredible from the credible," State's Attorney Jonathan Benedict wrote.

Skakel's appellate lawyer, Hope Seeley, did not return messages seeking comment yesterday.

Bryant, who attended Brunswick School with Skakel in the 1970s, has said that he and two friends from the Bronx, NY, were in Belle Haven the night Moxley was bludgeoned to death with a golf club belonging to the Skakel family. He reportedly confided in two longtime friends, Crawford Mills and Neal Walker, that his Bronx friends wanted to attack a girl "caveman style," and that they later confessed Moxley's murder to him.

Skakel, 42, was convicted of Moxley's murder last year and is serving a sentence of 20 years to life in jail. The two lived in Belle Haven and were 15 when Moxley was slain.

Benedict added that the screenwriter, Mills, a former Brunswick Academy student, sent prosecutors a three-page fax in July 2002, titled "Little Martha." The fax, in large, bold type, gave an account of Bryant's story, but did not mention the names of the two friends. Investigators had seen a version of Mills' screenplay about the murder years before the trial when Mills sent a copy to Dorothy Moxley, Martha's mother, but that version made no mention of the Bryant story.

"We have knowledge of the original screenplay that did not mention Tony Bryant's story, but the only thing we got that did mention this new story is the three-page fax sent last summer. This office gets tips every day, and if we don't get anything that can let us pursue it, that's the end of it," Benedict said. "But I still put a cover page on it last summer and sent it right to attorney Sherman."

Sherman refused to elaborate yesterday on why he didn't use the Bryant story in defense of Skakel.

"I've always said that I stand by my conduct in and out of the court on this case," Sherman said. "Beyond that, it's not up to me to comment on this."

Mills has not returned several messages.

Meanwhile, Benedict said that Skakel's lawyers, Hope Seeley and Hubert Santos, have likely had information for more than a year detailing the Bryant story, since the three-page document was sent to Sherman last summer. He asked why the information had only recently surfaced publicly and why prosecutors were not privy to the names.

"Despite repeated requests to Santos and Seeley, and more recently to (Robert) Kennedy (Jr.), we have yet to be provided with the identities of those persons who it is now claimed murdered Martha Moxley," Benedict wrote.

Benedict said members of the prosecution have attempted to secure the names of the men, one of whom lives in Bridgeport and the other in Portland, OR, every day for a week.

"All we've heard is, 'Maybe later' or 'We've got to think about it,' " Benedict said.

Kennedy, who is Skakel's first cousin and has been championing Skakel's innocence since his June 2002 conviction, said he would be willing to give his information to the prosecutor's office, but not to State Inspector Frank Garr, who is the subject of a book being written by Newsday reporter Len Levitt. The book is expected to describe Garr as heroic for his work in securing Skakel's conviction.

"I told Frank today that I was uncomfortable handing my materials over to him because of his bias, with the book coming out," Kennedy said. "But I said I was happy to hand everything over to an unbiased team from the prosecutor's office or the state police."

Reached last night, Garr called Kennedy's statement "ridiculous."

"Is this man looking for justice or is he playing games?" Garr said. "I'm not at all surprised he's looking for any distraction to take away from the fact that his cousin murdered Martha Moxley."

Kennedy, who wrote a several-thousand-word article in The Atlantic Monthly in January asserting that there was as much evidence to charge former Skakel family tutor Kenneth Littleton with the murder as there was to charge Skakel, said he believed that the two new men in question should also be investigated.

"Listen, I don't know whether these two men had anything to do with the murder. I just know there is enough evidence here that it should have been investigated by the state when it was raised," Kennedy said.

When asked to comment on why neither the Greenwich Police Department nor the Sutton Associates, a private investigative firm hired by the Skakels in the 1990s, offered any mention of the two being in Belle Haven on Oct. 30, 1975, Kennedy refused to comment.

"I don't have to answer that," he said.

Meanwhile, Bryant, who lives in Florida, appeared to be buckling this week under the pressure of national scrutiny, according to The Hartford Courant. The newspaper reported in yesterday's edition that Bryant said the whole story had been "blown out of proportion."

He told The Courant that he stood by the 90-minute videotaped interview he gave defense investigators August 24, in which he is said to have portrayed his two friends as Moxley's likely killers.

"At no time did I say I saw what happened or know who did it," he told the newspaper.

Seeley and Santos are expected to file a petition for a new trial later this month, based on Bryant's story.
-- By Lindsay Faber in Greenwich Time

 
Author Dominick Dunne denies accusations by Robert F. Kennedy Jr. that he unfairly pushed for the murder conviction of Kennedy's cousin Michael Skakel.

"He was convicted of murder -- not by me, but in a court of law by a jury of his peers -- and that can never be erased," Dunne wrote in an article published in the March issue of Vanity Fair.

 
A judge today sentenced Michael C. Skakel to 20 years to life in prison for the 1975 murder of Martha Moxley in Greenwich, Connecticut.

Skakel Found Guilty of Murder
Prosecutors withdraw request that jurors be allowed to consider lesser charge
 
On Friday morning, 7 June 2002, a jury found Michael Skakel, nephew and cousin to the Kennedy clan of Massachusetts, guilty of the murder of Martha Moxley, who was his neighbor in 1975. Ironically enough, if he had been tried at the time of the murder, when he was only 15-years-old, he would have been freed at aged 21.  As an adult, he is facing a possible sentence of life in prison. The prosecution argued on Monday that he has escaped justice for 26 years thanks to a Skakel family conspiracy. Concerned about opening the way for an appeal, they withdrew their request that the jury be allowed to consider lesser charges in their deliberations.
 
Timeline, links, photographs, videos availabe at About.com, CNN

The Murder of Martha Moxley
moxley.jpg
Free Screensaver (c) 2nd Sight Magazine

October 30, 1975 -- "Devil's Night"

Sometime after 9:30 p.m., when her friends left her in her own driveway after toilet paper and shaving cream pranks, teenager Martha Moxley was murdered.  Midday on Halloween 1976, her body was found under a tree in her own side yard by a neighbor girl during a brief search.  She had been bludgeoned and stabbed to death with a women's golf club, a Toney Penna-brand six-iron. She was struck four times in the head and then stabbed through the neck with the shaft of the club. During the attack, the club broke into four pieces, three of which were found at the scene.  The club was matched by police to a set owned by Michael Skakel's mother in 1975, but the monogram that would conclusively prove whether it belonged to that set would have been on the fourth piece, the grip, which has never been found.
 
Although his brother Tommy (aged 18 in 1975) and the boys' live-in tutor Kenneth Littleton were the first and second prime suspects, it is younger brother and Moxley neighbor Michael Skakel (aged 15 in 1975) who was arrested for the crime 25 years later on January 19, 2000.  On January 31, 2001, the decision was made to try Skakel as an adult.  If he is found guilty, he faces a possible sentence of life in prison.  His defense maintains that there is no physical evidence linking Skakel to the crime.
 
Skakel, the nephew of the late Sen. Robert F. Kennedy, maintains his innocence, but the prosecution asserts he confessed to the killing during a stint at Elan, a Maine rehab center/reform school after a drunk-driving conviction.  Some of his fellow students denied he had confessed, others claimed he had.  Gary Coleman, one of the latter group, testified that Skakel had confessed during group therapy sessions and privately that he had killed Moxley.  However, Coleman, a key prosecution witness, was found dead in his driveway in Rochester, NY on August 7, 2001 of an apparent heroin overdose.
 
Clothing alleged to have belonged to Michael Skakel had been found in the Skakel's garbage following the murder.  Stains had been found as well as hair that appeared comparable to Moxley's.  The clothing was somehow lost and can no longer be used as evidence however.
 
More damning was the fact that both Thomas and Michael Skakel changed their initial stories when they gave testimony as adults.  They claimed they had been too embarrassed as teens to admit the truth: that Tommy had made out with Moxley earlier that night and prematurely ejaculated; and that Michael had masturbated while in a tree outside her bedroom window.  Excerpts of Martha Moxley's diary, where she allegedly wrote about having problems with Michael, has been submitted as evidence by the prosecution.
 
Kenneth Littleton, the Skakel boys' tutor, had been the second suspect after Tommy.  He denies killing Moxley.  Complaints had been made about Littleton by Skakel neighbors and others -- that he had appeared nude outside the Skakel's home, that he had a collection of pornography, that he was an alcoholic.  Littleton was also arrested for assaulting a woman in public some time after the killing, as he exhibited increasingly strange and disturbed behavior. 
 
The night Moxley was killed was Littleton's first night of work, and it wasn't long before he had a falling out with Skakel's father and was fired.  His wife claimed he confessed to committing the crime and cooperated with police and prosecutors to make a case against him. Prosecutors used Littleton's wife to obtain a tape recording where Littleton admitted he may have confessed the killing to her, but he claims his admissions were because he was drunk, under pressure, and mentally ill. 
 
Despite suspicion that he was the perpetrator which ran so deep it even involved investigations into possible serial killing connections in areas where Littleton had lived, he was let off the hook when prosecutors granted him immunity for testifying before a grand jury in 1998.  His testimony included that the Skakel boys and their friends had been drinking alcohol on the night of the murder. 
 
Martha Moxley had moved to Greenwich only a year before at age 14 from California. She had made many friends in her short year there, and according to her diary, liked to have fun and was still discovering which boy she liked best.  According to her autopsy report, Martha Moxley died a virgin at 15 years old. -- Edited from the article archive at Court TV

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