Skakel case takes new turn
By Len Levitt - Newsday & Greenwich Time
Twenty-five years after the body of 15-year-old Martha Moxley was found at the edge of her family's Greenwich property, two men will testify this week that Michael Skakel admitted to them that he killed her, according to sources close to the investigation.
The two men are expected to testify at a reasonable cause pretrial hearing beginning today in state Superior Court in Stamford.
Seven witnesses are expected to be called, including Thomas Keegan, the Greenwich police chief at the time of the murder; James Lunney, one of the two original detectives on the case; and Sheila McGuire, who discovered Moxley's body.
The hearing is to determine whether Skakel, 39, can be prosecuted as an adult. Because he was 15 at the time of the 1975 murder, his case has been handled in juvenile court.
The sources say Skakel made the admissions to the two men when they attended the Elan School drug rehabilitation program in Poland Springs, Maine, in the late 1970s. They said Skakel made his admissions separately to each of them and that the two men did know each other at the time.
Skakel, whose family lived across the street from the Moxleys in the Belle Haven section of Greenwich, has denied involvement in the killing.
His attorney, Michael Sherman of Stamford, said: "I have read these folks' statements and they are totally unbelievable. When one hears what they have to say and what they have already said, you will understand."
The two men - one of whom lives on the East Coast, the other in Illinois - were interviewed by Connecticut Inspector Frank Garr in 1996, after a program about the murder appeared on the television show "Unsolved Mysteries." After the program, several people telephoned the show's Burbank, Calif., studio with information that led Garr to the two men.
Investigators had focused on two suspects other than Skakel. The first was his older brother, Thomas, 17 at the time of the murder and the last person seen with Moxley before she was killed. The second was Kenneth Littleton, a tutor for both Skakels who moved into the family home Oct. 30, 1975, the date of the murder. Both have denied roles in Moxley's murder.
The course of the investigation was changed by interviews of the Skakels in the early 1990s conducted by Sutton Associates, a Long Island, N.Y.-based private investigative firm hired by the Skakel family to clear Thomas Skakel of the murder.
In separate interviews, the Skakel brothers admitted to Sutton investigators that they had lied to Greenwich police about their whereabouts the night of the murder. In 1975, Thomas Skakel told Greenwich police he last saw Moxley at 9:30 p.m., when he left her to return home to write a school paper.
In the early 1990s, Thomas Skakel told Sutton Associates he then returned outside, where he and Moxley engaged in a mutual sexual encounter for 15 to 20 minutes before leaving her and returning home.
In 1975, Michael Skakel told Greenwich police that he drove to the home of his cousin, Jimmy Terrien, at about 9:15 p.m., then returned home at 11 p.m. and went to bed.
He told Sutton investigators he then went to visit Moxley, climbed a tree outside her window, threw stones to awaken her, masturbated in the tree, then passed by what turned out to be the murder scene, where he said he heard voices that frightened him and he ran home.
The accounts of the brothers' changed stories appeared in The Advocate, Greenwich Time and Newsday in 1995. Connecticut authorities say it was the publication of those accounts that led them to approach "Unsolved Mysteries" two months later.
In 1998, former Los Angeles police Detective Mark Fuhrman published a book on the Moxley case based on the Sutton investigation. In the book, Fuhrman claimed to have solved the Moxley case, naming Michael Skakel as the killer.