In 2002, Michael Skakel, a cousin of the Kennedys, was convicted for the murder of Martha Moxley. The court ruled he was guilty of beating Ms. Moxley with a golf club in 1975.
Skakel and Moxley were both 15 and living in Greenwich, Connecticut, when it happened. He was initially sentenced to 20 years to life for his crime.
Four years after the sentencing, Skakel’s attorney Theodore Olson, former United States Solicitor General, filed a judicial review petition before the United States Supreme Court, which declined to hear the case.
Retrial happened in 2013, after which Skakel was released on bond after a judge vacated the sentence. The ruling said that his lawyer had failed to provide effective legal representation during the case proceedings.
Other conditions for the release included monitoring with a GPS device, making no contact with the victim’s family, and remaining in the State of Connecticut unless permitted to leave.
The conviction was reinstated three years later, then overturned (again) in 2018. Of all 51 potential witnesses, 17 were dead; there has not been any additional forensic evidence.
It was a transfixing case, but the court ultimately found Skakel not guilty. Plenty happened before, after, and between those highlights; here are some of the most important bits.
10 Behind The Fence
Martha Moxley did not come home on the evening of October 30, 1975. She was last seen with her friends roaming around the neighborhood in Greenwich.
Her body was found the next day. She was stabbed, bludgeoned, and half-hidden beneath a pine tree.
Near her body was a broken golf club believed to have been used as the murder weapon. News about the murder sent a shockwave across the neighborhood, which had always been considered safe.
Some friends said Moxley was falling together behind the fence with Thomas Skakel, brother of Michael, in the Skakel backyard around 9:30 p.m.
9 Kennedy's Cousins
Greenwich residents began to wonder why after two years of investigation, the police had not made any arrest.
The murder weapon was right there at the crime scene, and there are several dozens of witnesses to interrogate.
The golf club was traced back to the collection of the Skakel family. Thomas and another young man were considered suspects, but they passed lie detector tests.
Some assumed it was a party because of the Skakel brothers’ relation to the Kennedys. They are nephews of Ethel Skakel Kennedy, the widow of Robert F. Kennedy.