Court Reverses Itself in Kennedy Clan Murder Case

Connecticut Supreme Court vacates conviction of Michael Skakel
By John Johnson,  Newser Staff
Posted May 5, 2018 6:56 AM CDT
In this 2016 photo, Michael Skakel leaves the state Supreme Court in Hartford, Conn.   (AP Photo/Jessica Hill, File)
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(Newser) – The infamous murder case involving Kennedy cousin Michael Skakel has just taken another, and perhaps final, turn. Connecticut's Supreme Court on Friday vacated his murder conviction in the 1975 slaying of neighbor Martha Moxley, ruling 4-3 that his defense team did a lousy job representing him, reports the Hartford Courant. The newspaper thinks it's unlikely that state prosecutors will decide to retry Skakel, who is a nephew of Robert F. Kennedy's widow, Ethel. Skakel served 11 years in prison after being convicted in 2002, but a lower court overturned his conviction in 2013, and he has been free since then as the case has wound through the courts, reports the AP.

“I was 43 when my daughter was murdered, and I’m going to be 86 in 20 days," Moxley's mother, Dorothy, tells the Boston Herald. "That’s half of my life that has gone on, and I’m willing to spend the rest of my life to find justice for Martha." She remains convinced that Skakel is the person who bludgeoned 15-year-old Martha with a golf club and stabbed her in the neck. Skakel maintains that he was watching TV at the time of the murder, and the state Supreme Court faulted his defense attorney for failing to track down an alibi witness. One reason the decision is a surprise: The same court upheld the conviction by a 4-3 vote just 16 months ago and ruled that Skakel should finish serving his 20-year sentence. Since then, however, the judge who wrote the majority opinion in that decision resigned, replaced by one who ruled in Skakel's favor on Friday.

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