Kennedy cousin Michael Skakel released on bail in 1975 killing - Fox 2 News Headlines

Martha Moxley case

Kennedy cousin Michael Skakel released on bail in 1975 killing

Posted: Updated:
Michael Skakel attends bond hearing in Stamford Superior Court. Nov, 21, 2013 Michael Skakel attends bond hearing in Stamford Superior Court. Nov, 21, 2013
Martha Moxley Martha Moxley
Michael Skakel (center) walks out of court a free man. (Photo by Lisa Evers | Fox 5 News) Michael Skakel (center) walks out of court a free man. (Photo by Lisa Evers | Fox 5 News)

JOHN CHRISTOFFERSEN | AP

STAMFORD, Conn. (AP) — Kennedy cousin Michael Skakel got his first taste of freedom in more than 11 years Thursday when he was freed on bail while prosecutors appeal a ruling granting him a new trial in the 1975 slaying of neighbor Martha Moxley.

Skakel, the 53-year-old nephew of Robert F. Kennedy's widow, Ethel, touched his hand to his chest and looked back at his supporters in the courtroom, his brothers among them, as the judge set bail at $1.2 million. He had been in prison more than 11 years on a sentence of 20 years to life but walked out of court a couple of hours after the hearing in Stamford Superior Court.

As conditions of the bail, the judge ordered that Skakel live in Connecticut and wear a GPS tracking device. His lawyer has not said where he'll live.

"He's one of the most recognized faces of America, so he's not going anywhere," defense attorney Hubert Santos said, noting that Skakel always showed up for court appearances. Santos said after the hearing ended that Skakel was "very happy" about the outcome. Skakel did not speak to reporters.

A judge ruled last month that Skakel's trial attorney, Michael Sherman, failed to adequately represent Skakel in 2002 when he was convicted in Moxley's bludgeoning with a golf club in wealthy Greenwich when they were both 15. Judge Thomas Bishop said Sherman failed to locate a witness who backed up Skakel's alibi that he was at his cousin's house the night of the murder and failed to find a man who challenged a star witness's claim that Skakel confessed.

"This is the first step in correcting a terrible wrong," the Skakel family said in a statement. "We look forward to Michael being vindicated and justice finally being served."

Outside court, Moxley's brother John and mother, Dorthy, said they disagreed with the bail decision, continue to believe Skakel killed Martha and are confident he will be convicted again at a new trial.

"I'm disappointed. ... I guess we knew that the day would come," Dorthy Moxley said. "I wasn't completely destroyed, but I wish it didn't happen."

Added John Moxley, "We have nothing to say to Michael."

Robert Kennedy Jr., who campaigned to overturn Skakel's conviction, had said this week that he felt "pure joy" that his cousin was expected to be released. Skakel has seen his son only a handful of times since he was sent to prison, he said.

"Everybody in my family knows that Michael is innocent," Kennedy said Tuesday. "He was in jail for over a decade for a crime he didn't commit. The only crime that he committed was having a bad lawyer."

Santos, had argued that Skakel should be released immediately, saying that the ruling makes him an innocent defendant awaiting trial and that he was not a flight risk. Santos also argued prosecutors were highly unlikely to win their appeal, a contention prosecutors dispute.

The case was considered a big challenge for prosecutors because of issues including the age of the crime and the lack of forensic evidence. Michael Skakel was convicted after a trial that focused on testimony that he confessed or made incriminating statements over the years.

Both Sherman and prosecutors defended his handling of the case.

Skakel's older brother Thomas was an early suspect in the case because he was the last person seen with the victim, and Bishop said in his ruling that Michael Skakel's defense should have focused more on Thomas.

Copyright 2013 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.


  • Connecticut NewsConnecticut NewsMore>>

  • Ron Howard sells Connecticut-New York estate for $27.5 million

    Ron Howard sells Connecticut-New York estate for $27.5 million

    Friday, July 25 2014 2:47 PM EDT2014-07-25 18:47:39 GMT

    Now that they're empty-nesters, Ron Howard and his wife have sold their nest straddling the New York and Connecticut state line for $27.5 million. Howard and his wife, Cheryl, bought the Conyers Farm estate in Greenwich, Connecticut, and Armonk, New York, in 1991 and spent years constructing the house and outbuildings.


    Now that they're empty-nesters, Ron Howard and his wife have sold their nest straddling the New York and Connecticut state line for $27.5 million. Howard and his wife, Cheryl, bought the Conyers Farm estate in Greenwich, Connecticut, and Armonk, New York, in 1991 and spent years constructing the house and outbuildings.


  • Mom: 4-year-old banned from doughnut shop

    Mom: 4-year-old banned from doughnut shop

    Thursday, July 24 2014 3:05 PM EDT2014-07-24 19:05:13 GMT
    4-year-old Justin Otero is a curious guy, but his curiosity got him into some trouble at his local Connecticut doughnut shop.
    4-year-old Justin Otero is a curious guy, but his curiosity got him into some trouble at his local Connecticut doughnut shop.
  • Ex-Sen. Lieberman to teach at Yeshiva University

    Ex-Sen. Lieberman to teach at Yeshiva University

    Thursday, July 24 2014 2:56 PM EDT2014-07-24 18:56:06 GMT
    Former U.S. Sen. Joseph Lieberman has been appointed a professor at Yeshiva University for the coming school year. The private university in New York City named him the Joseph Lieberman Chair in Public Policy and Public Service. He'll teach an undergraduate course and give three public lectures on topics ranging from Judaism and public service to the Middle East.
    Former U.S. Sen. Joseph Lieberman has been appointed a professor at Yeshiva University for the coming school year. The private university in New York City named him the Joseph Lieberman Chair in Public Policy and Public Service. He'll teach an undergraduate course and give three public lectures on topics ranging from Judaism and public service to the Middle East.
Powered by WorldNow

WJBK-TV | Fox 2
16550 West Nine Mile Rd.
Southfield, MI 48075

Main Station: (248) 557-2000
Newsroom: (248) 552-5103

Didn't find what you were looking for?
All content © Copyright 2000 - 2014 Fox Television Stations, Inc. and Worldnow. All Rights Reserved.
Privacy Policy | Terms of Service | Ad Choices