Confusion persists over taped conversations
By Lindsay Faber - Greenwich Time
NORWALK -- Kenneth Littleton yesterday testified about a life fading into paranoid disarray since the 1975 murder of Martha Moxley.
"My life went down the tubes," Littleton said in state Superior Court in Norwalk. "I was a bright, promising, young teacher; graduated from one of the best schools in the country and all of this fell apart on me."
Littleton, now 49, was on his first day on the job as the Skakel family tutor when Moxley was murdered Oct. 30, 1975. Michael Skakel, 41, Moxley's neighbor in the Belle Haven section of Greenwich, is on trial for her murder. Both were 15 at the time.
Before a packed courtroom yesterday, Littleton spoke of a sense that the Skakels and Kennedys have been out to kill him since Moxley's death.
Michael Skakel's aunt is Ethel Skakel Kennedy, widow of U.S. Sen. Robert F. Kennedy.
Littleton, who moved into the Skakel home the night of the murder, was long pursued as a chief suspect, with investigators curious about his sudden behavior change from 1975 to 1976, as well as a string of burglaries he committed in Nantucket in the summer of 1976. Littleton also failed three lie detector tests in several years.
Littleton was diagnosed with bipolar disorder in 1985.
Defense attorney Michael Sherman has been attempting to pin the Moxley's murder on Littleton, who said yesterday that he harbors ill will toward Michael Skakel but not other members of the Skakel family. He did not say why.
In a victory for the defense, the jury was allowed to view decade-old videotapes of Littleton speaking with a state psychologist about a time when his ex-wife told him he confessed to the crime.
"That's when I said I did it," Littleton said in the video, referring to a 1984 car trip with his then-wife, Mary Baker.
Again yesterday, Littleton gave unclear responses when answering Sherman's questions about his conversations with Baker.
"What did you tell Dr. (Kathy) Morall that you said to Mary?" Skakel's lawyer asked Littleton, referring to the psychologist and Littleton's ex-wife.
"I did it," Littleton replied.
"And when you say I did it, you are talking about that you committed the murder of Martha Moxley?" Sherman asked.
"Correct," Littleton answered.
"Did you ever tell Mary that you stabbed Martha Moxley through the neck?"
"Yes," Littleton said.
Questions from State's Attorney Jonathan Benedict prompted Littleton to explain that his wife told him he confessed to the crime during a 1984 blackout. He maintained, as he did Friday, that he never saw Moxley and did not murder her.
Baker, who was called to the stand at the end of the day, told the jury that she was asked by investigators in the early 1990s to falsely tell Littleton he committed the crime to get a confession out of him.
"Did he ever make an admission as to his complicity in this murder?" Benedict asked Baker.
"Never," she answered.
Attorneys for the state established that Littleton learned Friday that his ex-wife taped at least 20 to 30 conversations with him.
Sherman asked Baker why she had surreptitiously taped conversations with her ex-husband if she believed he was innocent.
She responded that her mother was killed on Oct. 16 when she was 13 and found dead in March of that year. Baker, who did not give her age in court, said she had no closure and wanted to bring some to Dorthy Moxley, Martha's mother, if she could.
Baker also said state authorities, including former Inspector John Solomon and former Detective Frank Garr asked her to lie to Littleton in an effort to jog his memory about the murder.
Garr testified Friday and confirmed that he and Solomon asked Baker to lie to her ex-husband. Solomon said Friday that he and Garr "never" asked Baker to lie.
Solomon returned to the stand yesterday and maintained his position. He added, though, that he was aware, having reviewed his 1992 reports, that Baker lied to Littleton. Lawyers did not ask him how he was aware of that.
With yesterday's confusing testimony, defense attorneys hoped to raise doubts in the jurors' minds that Skakel committed the crime. Sherman introduced more videotape designed to exonerate the Skakel family from allegations of a cover-up. On the tape, Littleton suggested it was his idea to take the Skakel boys away for the weekend after Moxley's body was found.
That testimony contradicted Littleton's Friday testimony, in which he said he was told to get the boys out of town.
"When I entered the home, there was approximately 10 to 15 men in suits and ties, discussing what, I don't know," Littleton said last week. He said one of the men, whom he described as counselors or lawyers directed him to take Michael, Thomas and John Skakel, as well as their cousin, James Terrien, to the family's home in upstate New York.
Yesterday, Littleton said he and the "suits" discussed ways to handle "the situation," and he suggested taking the boys to Windham.
"At that time I didn't think there was any cover-up because I didn't think the Skakels had anything to do with this," he said.
Littleton, who had been on his second day on the job at the Skakel house, said there were no travel plans for that weekend until Moxley's body was found.
Littleton also testified yesterday that he told a judge during a 1998 grand jury inquiry that he had once been injected with cocaine by someone and had the "paranoid suspicion" that the Skakel and Kennedy families were trying to "blow his heart out."
Sherman asked the former tutor about an interaction with police in the 1980s, during which Littleton gave his name as "Kenny Kennedy." Asked why he did that, Littleton said, "Because JFK is my hero."
The jury did not hear defense attorneys' claim that once, when Littleton was drunk, he climbed a tall structure in Florida in the early 1980s while reciting parts of the famous "Ich bin ein Berliner" speech that President Kennedy gave in Germany in 1963. Sherman said Littleton also told police he was the "black sheep" of the Kennedy family.
Littleton said yesterday that he believes he was pursued for so long because he was the only suspect who "opened the door" to police.