Martha Moxley, blond and pretty, will forever be 15 years old. In 1975 Michael Skakel bludgeoned and stabbed her to death with his father’s golf club, pulling down her jeans and leaving her body beneath a fir tree on her own property. The Skakels were a very wealthy family as were all the families in the gated community of Bell Haven, Greenwich, Connecticut. Michael was the middle of six children born to Rushton and Anne Skakel. Rushton was the brother of Ethel Skakel Kennedy, wife of Robert Kennedy. In 1973 Anne Skakel died of cancer. The balance Anne kept within the household was gone and a sibling rivalry amidst family chaos took over. watch ct murders
Michael Skakel suffered from undiagnosed dyslexia and his father’s constant lectures about improving his grades. Along with those lectures, daddy dearest often told his boy he was “lazy” and “stupid,” – motivational words if I ever heard any. By 13, Skakel was drinking alcohol daily. Skakel had the reputation of being violent and easily losing his temper. He tortured and killed birds and squirrels. Skakel and his older brother Tommy were highly competitive with one another, with Tommy usually coming out on top. On October 30, 1975 Moxley and her friends were out spraying shaving cream and ringing doorbells before running away. They were getting a jump on Halloween. Eventually they stopped at the Skakels house for a party. Moxley was observed flirting with and kissing Tommy at the party.
Moxley left the Skakels home between 9:30 and 11:00 pm but never made it home. Both Skakel boys were suspects in the sensationalized murder. An expensive Toney Penna golf club was found shattered near Moxley’s body, a piece of it lodged in her neck. Hmm. It would make sense to check the neighbour’s houses to see if anyone had a set of Toney Penna golf clubs. Did that happen? Obviously not. Michael was ruled out as a suspect since he was at a friend’s house during the time of the murder. Michael claimed he left for home at 11:00 p.m. and went to bed. Tommy Skakel and a newly hired tutor remained at the top of the suspect list but no arrest was ever made. The late Robert Kennedy, a former Attorney-General of the United States had been was the Skakel boys’ uncle through marriage. Needless to say, very few stones were overturned in this investigation. Even dead, Kennedy’s political influence was still powerful. Nothing like a Kennedy connection to keep you out of a prison.
Three years later at the age of 18, Michael Skakel was arrested for drunk driving and in an agreement to drop the charges, Michael was sent to Elan School in Poland Spring where he was treated for alcoholism. The rehabilitation program encouraged clients to confess to issues in their lives that contributed to their drinking. Skakel admitted to his father and Tommy he was involved in Martha’s murder but after receiving the information neither man took further action. It’s most likely they told him to keep quiet. watch unsolved mysteries – redux – solved – Martha Moxley
In his early 20’s Michael became sober. Diagnosed with dyslexia he entered Currey College in Massachusetts which focused on students with learning disabilities. Upon graduation he married golf pro Margret Sheridan. In 1991 the Moxley case was re-opened when rumours circulated during the trial of William Smith Kennedy that he was at the Skakel home on the night Martha was murdered. Once again attention focused on the Skakel boys. During the second round of interviews both Tommy and Michael Skakel changed their original alibis. At the time of the murder Michael told police he didn’t go to bed at 11:00pm but instead peeped through neighbours’ windows, then climbed a tree near Martha’s bedroom window, masturbated while still in the tree and returned home at 12:30 a.m. You know, the ordinary activity every teenage boy indulges in before bedtime. It was also revealed that Michael and Moxley argued at the Skakel household after she admitted to Michael she had a “crush” on Tommy. In 1998 the case was re-opened and a grand jury investigated the Moxley murder. Several of Skakel’s former friends, neighbours and teachers
testified, detailing Skakel’s violent temper, failure at school and social inadequacies. It was concluded there was enough evidence to proceed with a murder charge against him. On the advice of his attorney, the 47-year-old Skakel turned himself in and even though he was 15 at the time of the murder, 27 years after Martha’s murder, he was tried as an adult. It was established that Skakel’s many psychological issues, in particular his sibling rivalry with Tommy, exacerbated by Moxley’s admission that she preferred Tommy over him, led to Moxley’s murder. After being found guilty, Skakel insisted he was innocent. He was sentenced to 20 years to life in prison where he currently resides. He was eligible for parole in 2013 but parole was denied partly because Skakel continued to deny his guilt in Moxley’s murder. His next scheduled parole hearing is in October 2017. This time, there are no Kennedy connections powerful enough to secure an early release.
**Update** Skakel continues to appeal in the Moxley case. His cousin, Robert Kennedy Jr., has published an article stating the reasons Michael Skakel is innocent of the crime. His brothers Tommy and younger brother Stephen support him in his bid for freedom. They have made appeals to the U.S. Supreme Court and the Stanford Connecticut Supreme Court. Their appeals have been denied. It will be a long journey. Personally I’m convinced the right man has been convicted. Leave him in jail and throw away the key.