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The Appeals of Michael Skakel

The Murder of Martha Moxley


Michael Skakel in Courtroom

Michael Skakel in Court

© Getty Images

On October 31, 1975, the bludgeoned body of 15-year-old Martha Moxley was found under a tree in the yard of her family's Greenwich, Connecticut, estate. She had been beaten to death with a golf club that was later identified as one that belonged to the late Anne Skakel.

Tommy and Michael Skakel, then teenage friends of Martha, were suspects at the time, but no arrests were made. After the book, "Murder in Greenwich" by Mark Fuhrman was published, Michael Skakel was indicted for the murder of Martha Moxley and convicted in June 2002, mostly on statements he made to others while in rehab.

Skakel Wants Evidence Suppressed

July 23, 2014 - Michael Skakel's attorney is trying to suppress some of the evidence the prosecution plans to use in his up-coming trail for the murder of Martha Moxley in 1975. Attorney Stephen Seegar wants to prevent the prosecution from using audio tapes of interviews with Skakel with writer Richard Hoffman.

Hoffman is a ghostwriter who was working with Skakel to write his memoir. Seegar argued in court that a detective tricked Hoffman into turning over the audio tapes and therefore they should be should be suppressed and returned to Skakel.

On the tapes, Skakel said he masturbated in a tree outside his neighbor Moxley's window on the night she was beaten to death with a golf club that came from Skakel's home.

Previous Developments

Skakel Complains About Ankle Monitor
Feb. 12, 2014
After he was released from prison while awaiting a new trial, Michael Skakel complained about his GPS tracking device because it won't allow him to wear ski boots. Skakel told a judge he was not able to attend his son's ski competition earlier this month.

Michael Skakel Free on Bond
Nov. 21, 2013
Confessed killer Michael Skakel has been released on $1.2 million bond while he awaits the appeal of his overturned murder conviction or possible retrial for the murder of Martha Moxley in 1975. Skakel was ordered to wear an electronic tracking device and not leave the state of Connecticut.

Michael Skakel Denied Bond
Nov. 6, 2013
Kennedy cousin Skakel will remain in prison while awaiting his new trial. A Connecticut judge ruled that he did not have the authority to grant bail for Skakel, whose conviction was overturned on appeal last month. Once a new trial date is set, Skakel can apply for bail from that court, the judge ruled.

Michael Skakel Gets New Trial
Oct. 23, 2013
A Connecticut judge has ordered a new trial for Michael Skakel, who was convicted in 2002 for the beating death of a 15-year-old Greenwich neighbor in 1975. The judge ruled that Michael Skakel received ineffective counsel in his trial for the murder of Martha Moxley.

Judge Thomas A. Bishop ruled that Skakel did not receive effective representation from high-profile attorney Michael "Mickey" Sherman. Bishop said Sherman had acted "in a myriad of ways ineffective."

"The defense of a serious felony prosecution requires attention to detail, an energetic investigation and a coherent plan of defense that is capably executed," the judge wrote. "Trial counsel's failures in each of these areas of representation were significant and, ultimately, fatal to a constitutionally adequate defense. As a consequence of trial counsel's failures as stated, the state procured a judgment of conviction that lacks reliability."

Skakel's Attorney Files Another Appeal
April 15, 2013
Michael Skakel has once again appealed his conviction for the 1995 murder of his Greenwich neighbor Martha Moxley. Skakel, who is the nephew of Ethel Kennedy and who apparently has access to unlimited legal resources, is claiming he had inadequate counsel at his trial.

According to Hubert Santos, Skakel's current attorney, his trial attorney, Mickey Sherman, failed in his defense by not conducting an appropriate investigation to find more evidence and to challenge the evidence and witnesses presented by prosecutors.

Michael Skakel Denied Parole
Oct. 24, 2012
Michael Skakel, serving a 20-year sentence for the death of Martha Moxley, has been denied parole. A unanimous Connecticut parole board turned down a parole bid by Skakel, who was not convicted of the murder until 2002.

Court Rejects Skakel's Sentence Reduction
March 5, 2012
A three-judge Connecticut Superior Court panel has rejected an appeal by Michael Skakel to reduce his 20-years-to-life sentence for the beating death of Martha Moxley in 1975. The panel ruled that his original sentence was not inappropriate or disproportionate given the seriousness of the crime.

Michael Skakel Loses Another Appeal
April 12, 2010
The Connecticut Supreme Court has turned down another appeal for a new trial for Michael Skakel for the murder of 15-year-old Martha Moxley in 1975. The court voted 4-1 against Skakel's appeal because it said the evidence does not back up the claim that three other men committed the crime.

Connecticut Court Hears Skakel's Appeal
March 26, 2009
Attorneys for convicted murderer Michael Skakel told the Connecticut Supreme Court that a claim that two other men killed Martha Moxley in 1975 is enough to grant the Kennedy cousin a new trial. At least one justice thought the argument was "pretty compelling."

Skakel's latest appeal is based on the statement of Gitano "Tony" Bryant who said in a videotaped interview a year after Skakel was convicted that two other men claimed they killed Moxley. Since his original statement, Bryant has refused to answer questions, invoking his Fifth Amendment rights against self-incrimination.

The two men named by Bryant have also refused to make statements.

Michael Skakel Files Another Appeal
Jan. 8, 2009
Michael Skakel has filed another appeal for a new trial. This appeal is based on Michael Skakel's attorneys not being given two items of evidence prior to his criminal trial.

His attorneys claim that they only recently learned of a report from Greenwich police that implicated another suspect in the case. They also only recently learned of statements by a lawyer who said a key witness against Skakel had a history of drug abuse and lying.

Judge Denies Michael Skakel's Appeal
Oct. 25, 2007
Michael Skakel's appeal for a new trial, based on a claim that two other men committed the 1975 murder of Martha Moxley, has been rejected by a Superior Court judge. The appeal was based on a statement by Gitano "Tony" Bryant in 2003 that two of his friends killed the 15-year-old Moxley.

Skakel Seeks New Trial Again
April 16, 2007
Prosecutors have called complete fabrication the statements of Gitano "Tony" Bryant that two other men killed Martha Moxley, but attorneys for Michael Skakel planned to file an appeal based on his statements.

Supreme Court Nixes Skakel Appeal
Nov. 13, 2006
The U.S. Supreme Court refused, without comment, to hear the appeal in the case Skakel v. Connecticut. Skakel's attorney, Theodore Olson, had appealed his conviction based on statute of limitations.

Connecticut had a five-year statute of limitations on murder cases that did not involved the death penalty. Skakel was not prosecuted until 19 years after the crime.

In 1976, the Connecticut legislature changed the law to removed the five-year statute of limitations. The Connecticut Supreme Court upheld Skakel's conviction, because the court ruled the law change fell within the five-year period.

Skakel Witness Refuses to Testify
Sept. 1, 2006
Gitano "Tony" Bryant invoked his Fifth Amendment right against self-incrimination when questioned by Skakel attorneys in Miami.

Skakel's attorneys claim that Bryant once implicated two of his friends in the murder of Moxley in Greenwich, Connecticut. The two men, Adolph Hasbrouck and Burt Tinsley, were allegedly in Greenwich with Bryant on the night Moxley died, according to court papers filed by Skakel's attorneys.

But prosecutors doubt Bryant's story. "What it strongly suggests to us is that Mr. Bryant's story is a fabrication and he is seeking to avoid testifying under oath for that reason," Prosecutor Jonathan Benedict said.

Michael Skakel Appeals to Supreme Court
July 12, 2006
His appeal is based on the argument that when Moxley was killed the statute of limitation in the state was five years and Skakel wasn't charged with the crime until 2000, an argument rejected by the state's highest court.

Skakel Wants Court's Help With Witness
June 30, 2006
Attorneys for convicted killer Michael Skakel have asked a judge to compel a man, recently implicated in the murder of Martha Moxley, to testify in depositions in the case and turn over his telephone and email records.

Skakel's effort to get a new trial escalated after Gitano (Tony) Bryant recently claimed that two of his friends killed the 15-year-old girl. Skakel is serving 20 years to life for the murder.

According to court papers, Bryant, a cousin of basketball star Kobe Bryant, accused Adolf Hasbrouck of Bridgeport, Connecticut and Burt Tinsley of Portland, Oregon of killing Moxley.

Attorneys Reveal Mystery Suspects
May 2, 2006
In court papers, Skakel's attorneys said Gitano "Tony" Bryant implicated two friends in the murder of Martha Moxley -- Adolf Hasbrouck and Burt Tinsley, who went to the same private school with Skakel.

Court Upholds Michael Skakel's Murder Conviction
Jan. 16, 2006
The Connecticut Supreme Court voted unanimously to uphold the conviction of Michael Skakel for the 1975 murder of his Greenwich neighbor Martha Moxley.

He appealed his conviction to the Connecticut Supreme Court last year, arguing among other things that the statute of limitations had expired when he was charged in 2000.

Michael Skakel Asks For New Trial
Aug. 30, 2005
Attorneys for Michael Skakel have filed a petition for a new trial, claiming that prosecutors did not give the defense evidence that implicated other suspects in the Greenwich murder.

The petition for a new trial claims that Gitana "Tony" Bryant, who attended school with Skakel, was in the neighborhood with two friends from New York the night Moxley was killed. There were using golf clubs at walking sticks.

Court to Hear Michael Skakel Appeal
Jan. 14, 2005
The Connecticut Supreme Court will hear arguments from Michael Skakel's attorneys that he should have been tried as a juvenile for the murder of Martha Moxley, which took place when he was a deeply disturbed, alcoholic 15-year-old.

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