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45 Years to the Day of the Murder, a Break for Skakel

There will be no retrial for Kennedy cousin accused of killing Martha Moxley in 1975
By Newser Editors and Wire Services
Posted Oct 30, 2020 11:37 AM CDT

(Newser) – A prosecutor said Friday that Kennedy cousin Michael Skakel won't face a second trial in the killing of Martha Moxley, an announcement that came 45 years to the day after the teenager was bludgeoned to death in her wealthy Connecticut neighborhood. Chief State's Attorney Richard Colangelo Jr. said at a hearing at Stamford Superior Court that the case couldn't be proven beyond a reasonable doubt, per the AP. Skakel, a nephew of Robert F. Kennedy's widow, Ethel Kennedy, was convicted of murder in 2002 and sentenced to 20 years to life in prison. After serving 11 years behind bars, Skakel was freed in 2013 on $1.2 million bail after a judge overturned his conviction, saying his trial lawyer failed to adequately represent him. The state Supreme Court upheld that ruling in 2018, and the US Supreme Court declined to hear the state's appeal last year.

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The case drew wide attention because of the Kennedy name, Skakel's rich family, numerous theories about who killed Moxley, and the brutal way in which she died. Her body was found on Halloween 1975 on her family's Greenwich estate, across the street from the Skakels. She'd been beaten with a 6-iron owned by the Skakel family and stabbed in the throat with a piece of the golf club's shattered shaft, police said. Moxley's brother, John, said outside the courthouse he still believes Skakel killed his sister, but that he and their mother, Dorthy, are at peace with the decision not to seek a second trial. "His life will never be the same. Mine will never be the same. I wouldn't want to walk a mile in his shoes," Moxley said. Skakel didn't comment during the hearing or outside court. His attorney said Skakel is innocent and that "this crime should have never been something that ended up in a trial in the first place."

(Read more Michael Skakel stories.)

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