Hits jump to Moxley Web site
By Violet Law - Greenwich Time

From computer terminals across the nation, a ground swell of jubilation surged onto the World Wide Web beginning Wednesday as word of the long-awaited arrest in the Martha Moxley murder spread through cyberspace.

A Web site dedicated to the case, www.marthamoxley.com, was swamped with more than 60,000 hits since Wednesday, and the site's chat room was crowded with 30 or so participants by that evening, according to Patrick De Blasi, 33, of New Canaan, the Webmaster for the past two days. On a typical day there are 200 to 300 visits, he said, and the chat room would see barely half a dozen regulars.

"Wham, the floodgates opened!" De Blasi said of the Internet onslaught that began around 3 p.m., when word of Kennedy nephew Michael Skakel's surrender at the Greenwich Police Department was circulated in the cyberspace community of Moxley sympathizers.

Amidst the cheers and jeers - cheers for justice served and jeers from those convinced Kennedy clout shielded Skakel from arrest until now - was a plethora of poignant messages from people who never knew the Moxley family but empathizes with them.

"I cried out in joy and thanked God that after all these 25 years, Martha and you are swiftly closing in on the justice and peace you deserve," wrote Ashley Creech yesterday in a message addressed to Martha's mother, Dorthy, and brother, John. She told them she was "about the age Martha was when she was so savagely killed."

Deborah Marrs of Crossett, Ark., logged on within minutes of learning of the arrest.

"Just saw the 5:00 news and could not believe it!!!!" read a message posted by Marrs at 5:21 Wednesday. "May Martha finally receive a small measure of justice."

"Martha is a year younger than me and I often think about the things I've enjoyed in life ... things she has missed," wrote Sandy of Pleasanton, Calif. "I am extremely pleased to see positive headway made in her case and thrilled for her family."

As the news of the arrest sank in, De Blasi said the chat room discussion evolved from initial elation to a cool-headed consideration of legal technicalities.

A chat room participant and Shrewsbury, Mass. resident Lorraine Creamer, said the Wednesday evening discussion focused on whether Skakel, who was 15 at the time of the murder, would be tried as a juvenile or as an adult, and if the prosecutors would apply the criminal law from 1975.

"We all felt that if they did use the law from 25 years ago, it is understandable but we won't feel happy about it," said Creamer, 30, who grew up in Greenwich in the 1980s.

The Moxley Web site, originally built by an Austrian student fascinated with murder mysteries, has been maintained by Tom Alessi, together with a handful of friends such as De Blasi, since September 1998. Alessi, a 911 system administrator in Stamford, attended Western Junior High School and Greenwich High School with Moxley in the early 1970s.

But among Web site visitors like Alessi, who are acquainted with Moxley, reaction to the arrest suggested that time might not have healed old wounds.

"Having gone through the eighth grade with Martha in Piedmont, Calif. I have never forgotten the sense of loss and shock I felt the day when I heard she was murdered," said John Quantz, who met Moxley before her family relocated from California to Belle Haven in 1974.

Even for Greenwich residents who never met Moxley, the 1975 murder, they conceded, has cast a long shadow over their lives. Yesterday's news only served to dredge up ghoulish memories for some.

"It's very creepy. The murder happened on the day before Halloween," said Laurie Novakowski, 37, in an interview Wednesday night. "Being a child, I was living in fear." Earlier that morning, Novakowski had posted a note on the site's message board to say how happy she was about the imminent arrest of Skakel.

By 1:30 a.m. yesterday, Webmaster De Blasi said most chat room regulars were going to sleep. But he was still tirelessly monitoring the site.

"We feel like taking Mrs. Moxley and giving her a hug," De Blasi said.