Thomas Skakel: Angry but Relieved
By Peter Moore -- Greenwich Post

From his Massachusetts workplace, Thomas Skakel, the older brother of Moxley murder suspect and Kennedy cousin Michael Skakel, spoke yesterday of his family, the inquiries surrounding them, his true feelings about being a murder suspect for 23 years, his message for Martha Moxley's mother and his confidence that his younger brother will be cleared of any wrongdoing.

And though Thomas Skakel said legal circumstances surrounding the case prevent him from discussing the events of Oct. 30, 1975, when Moxley was killed, he made it very clear that he's anxious to set the record straight with the public.

"When the time is right, everyone in the press is going to get the story and Michael will be exonerated from this terrible situation," Skakel said.

Skakel, 41, was himself a primary suspect for many years in the 1975 murder of the pretty, popular Greenwich teen who was beaten to death with a golf club on the night before Halloween in Belle Haven. And according to Skakel, the following years brought much emotional pain from a crime to claims to have had no involvement in.

"From where I'm sitting, it's been extremely difficult," he said.

Skakel fished out a specific memory that she said took place around "fifteen years ago or more."

"I remember sitting down in Greenwich and having sushi at one place. I remember someone a couple tables [away] saying, `There's Skakel -- there's the murderer!'"

He added, "It's difficult to look at statements that are out there that are totally untrue and totally unfounded. It's very frustrating."

In reference to Greenwich, Skakel added, "I haven't spent that much time there," although he said he still occasionally visits and has an aunt and cousin who reside here.

To the best of the public's knowledge, Thomas Skakel, then a 17-year-old student at Brunswick School, was the last person seen with Martha Moxley before she died. According to "Murder in Greenwich: Who Killed Martha Moxley," a book on the case by former Los Angeles police detective Mark Fuhrman, the investigation of Sutton Associates, a private investigation agency hired by the Skakels to clear the family name, revealed that Thomas Skakel had changed his story about what he did on the night Martha was murdered. Instead of sticking to his original alibi that at 9:30 p.m., he had stopped chatting with Martha outside his house and had gone back inside the house to do homework, Thomas Skakel said the two of them engaged in sexual contact behind his Belle Haven house. Whether or not these statements are true, Thomas Skakel would not comment Tuesday on whether he found Martha Moxley to be attractive.

The following day, Oct. 31, 1975, Martha's body was found on her property underneath a pine tree. She had been bludgeoned with a golf club and stabbed through the neck with the club's broken shaft. The club, a ladies 6-iron, was traced to the Skakel household.

Thomas Skakel described the time after Martha's body was discovered as "terrible." However he admits that his recollection of those days is not good, citing the elapsed time.

"I don't remember. I'm sure I was completely shocked and taken aback," he said. "Something that happened so close to home is pretty devastatking."

He added that he did not become aware that he was being considered a suspect until approximately two weeks after Martha Moxley's murder. At this point, the Skakel family was cooperative with the Greenwich Police Department, allowing them to search their Belle Haven home and originally giving Greenwich detectives access to Thomas Skakel's medical and school records. But then, Rushton Skakel, Thomas and Michael's father, withdrew cooperation with police in January 1976, upon the advice of attorney Emmanuel Margolis, who represents Thomas Skakel to this day.

Police attention was also focused on the Skakel's live-in tutor, Kenneth Littleton, whose first night on his new job at the Skakel residence was Oct. 30, 1975. But without enough evidence to apply for an indictment and prosecutor Donald Browne apparently not feeling ready to apply for an investigative grand jury, the case slowly withered, only to re-surface in 1991, when William Kennedy Smith was arrested for rape in Florida. Although a rumor linking Smith to the Skakel house on the night of Martha Moxley's murder proved to be untrue, it remained enough to bring the case back into the public eye.

Thomas Skakel would not comment on difficulties he had growing up as a youngster. "I had a wonderful childhood," he said. Asked about emotional or behavioral difficulties, he replied, "I can't answer questions about that right now. I don't think it's appropriate right now."

According to Fuhrman, Thomas Skakel went on to gain his high school diploma at Vershire Academy in Vermont in 1977. After faring poorly at Elmira College and leaving the school, Skakel is said to have traveled the world and lived and worked in New York City, Los Angeles, Pound Ridge, N.Y. and now his current home in Stockbridge, Mass.

When Michael Skakel was arrested on Jan. 19 for Martha Moxley's murder, Thomas was said by Margolis to be upset over his brother's arrest, but relieved and satisfied that the weight of many years of murder accusations had been lifted off his chest. "He and I take this as a clean bill of health," Margolis said recently.

But former Greenwich police detective Steve Carroll publicly stated as recently as Tuesday that he believed Thomas Skakel was, at the very least, an accessory to the crime and should be charged as such. In an interview last month, Carroll theorized that Thomas helped his younger brother Michael move Moxley's body after Michael killed her. Dorthy Moxley, Martha's mother, also told Greenwich Post back in November that she wouldn't doubt that Thomas Skakel was involved in the murder, even though she believed Michael Skakel killed her daughter. "I can't imagine how someone could have done that by themselves," she said. "The whole family had to know what was going on. Therefore I think they're all guilty."

After being told of still-lingering verbal accusations against him Monday, Skakel said, "I don't know where that came from. It's pretty bizarre, pretty far out there."

Today, Skakel is a public relations specialist in Massachusetts. According to Tim Dumas, author of the Moxley true-crime book, "A Wealth of Evil," one of Thomas Skakel's business projects involves a firm which makes golf clubs.

Asked if his life is a happy one today, Skakel replied, "Yeah. I've got a beautiful wife, three lovely girls [who are] healthy, live in a beautiful area."

But he acknowledes that the Moxley case has weighed on his family, particularly his father, Rushton Skakel Sr., who now lives in Hobe Sound, Fla. and is, according to his lawyer Richard Lubin, mentally incompetent.

"It's been very difficult for him," Thomas Skakel said. Asked if his father comprehends the situation of his son being arrested and charged with murder, Skakel replied, "That's a hard question to answer. I don't know if he understands fully." And when asked how the Skakels were managing in the face of charges against Michael, he replied, "[it's a] pretty strong family."

Like Michael, Thomas is also a nephew of the late Sen. Robert F. Kennedy. Of his relations with the Kennedy family, Thomas said, "I'm fairly close -- as close as one can be with the relatives."

Since Michael's arrest, Thomas said he saw his younger brother at the wedding of their sister Jennifer.

"We had a great time together," Thomas Skakel said, adding that the brothers did not discuss the case. He added that if his brother's case goes to trial, he will attend the trial and will "absolutely" testify on his brother's behalf if he has to.

"I know Michael didn't do it," he said. Asked what made him so sure, the older brother replied, "I can't say that right now. I'm not at liberty right now. But as soon as I get the go-ahead, I'll let you know."

Asked what he would say to Dorthy Moxley if he could say anything, Skakel replied, "First would be: I'm terribly sorry this happened. The loss of your daughter -- it's terrible. I can't imagine it happening to one of my girls.

"And secondly -- watch out. She made a statement that they should forego a trial and just put Michael in jail. In this country, you are innocent until proven guilty. She ought to just be careful in what she says."

He added, "There's a lot of things I'd like to say that we haven't covered, but I can't right now. And believe me, I will.

"I'm actually very angry at this whole situation."