Lock him up for good: Moxley's mom wants
life sentence for Skakel
By Maggie Mulvihill - Boston Herald
Dorthy Moxley has spent a good part of this summer lingering
over thoughts of hate.
``I'm trying not to hate him. Hate is so destructive,'' she
said as she prepares herself for Wednesday's sentencing of
Michael Skakel, the Kennedy cousin convicted of murdering
Dorthy's daughter, Martha.
But despite her efforts in the months since the verdict to
find a way to forgive Skakel, who at the time of the slaying
was a motherless, child alcoholic with a smoldering temper,
she wants to see him sentenced to life in prison.
``I had thoughts of leniency for Michael, but then I would
think about how, because of him, Martha is not with us
anymore,'' said Moxley, 70. ``Martha got a sentence of
death. We got a sentence of life without Martha. Why
shouldn't Michael get the same?''
Moxley, who has toiled relentlessly since 1975 to see her
daughter's murder solved, and her son John will address the
court at the sentencing hearing.
Without DNA evidence or an eyewitness, Skakel was convicted
of bludgeoning Martha Moxley to death with a golf club in a
jealous rage when they were 15-year-old neighbors in
Skakel will be brought to Norwalk Superior Court from his
cell at the Garner Correctional Institution to hear his
fate. Skakel has been incarcerated at the facility near New
Haven since the June 7 verdict.
His trial attorney, Michael ``Mickey'' Sherman, would not
divulge last week if Skakel, now a 41-year-old divorced
father, would also address the court.
Skakel's attempt to speak to the jury in the dramatic
moments after the verdict was read, was quickly cut off by
Judge John F. Kavanewsky.
Sherman said he does expect Skakel's large group of family
and friends, as well as perhaps his cousin Robert F. Kennedy
Jr., to attend. But he would not discuss whether they too
might make a plea for leniency to the judge.
``Stay tuned. I don't want to preview anything,'' Sherman
said during an interview last week just after he visited
Skakel in prison.
``He is as upbeat as anyone can be under the
Though Skakel will be sentenced according to guidelines in
place in 1975, he still faces the grim possibility of being
sentenced to the minimum, 10 years to life, or the maximum
of 25 years to life, Sherman acknowledged.
And Wednesday's hearing, like the riveting month-long
murder trial that preceded it, promises to be fueled with
Skakel, a scion of the now-dwindling Skakel family fortune,
grew up in a world of privilege - a world of uniformed maids
and gardeners who tended to the Skakel's white-brick mansion
in the toney enclave of Greenwich, Conn.
He once bragged that he was ``a Kennedy'' and would ``get
away with murder,'' according to a classmate.
Skakel and his siblings were chauffeured to private
schools, dined at their oceanside country club, partied in
exotic hotspots with his Kennedy cousins or at his family's
New York ski chalet.
Now that world is a shadow.
Save for Kennedy Jr., none of his famous relatives put in
an appearance at the trial, including Ethel Kennedy, who
Skakel has said turned to him many times for help with her
own children's addiction problems.
Skakel, a former campaign aide to U.S. Sen. Edward M.
Kennedy (D-Mass.) appears to have lost the backing of his
powerful relatives and instead faces the prospect of sitting
out the rest of his life in a windowless state prison cell
with only some snapshots of his toddler son, George, to
These realities propelled the shocked Skakel family to drum
up support for the convicted murderer within hours of the
An urgent call, led by younger brother Stephen Skakel, went
out to supporters almost immediately to raise funds for an
And at campskakel.com - a Web site started before the trial
by a Skakel supporter in California - states ``the Skakel
family also urges anyone who has had a positive experience
with Michael . . . to write a letter to Judge John
About 20 letters have been sent to Kavanewsky weighing in
on the sentence Skakel should receive, state officials said.
A defense fund bank account has been established in New
York and a set of high-priced appellate lawyers has been
hired in the ``Never Give Up Hope'' campaign, according to
the Skakel Web site.
As probation officers have labored since June to gather
information about Skakel that Judge Kavenewsky will use in
crafting a sentence, Sherman and his legal team have also
been preparing arguments they will make Wednesday seeking a
The defense motion for a new trial was filed within days of
the verdict. It claimed the prosecutors withheld key
exculpatory evidence during the trial and that Skakel's
rights were prejudiced by Judge Kavanewsky's admission of
certain evidence as well as several instructions he gave to
A distraught Sherman said in the moments after he lost the
case the jury's decision was ``the most upsetting verdict
I've ever had, or will ever have, in my life.''
He vowed then, along with Skakel's brothers, that ``as long
as there's a breath in my body, this case is not over.''
It's that foreboding thought that has also weighed on
Dorthy Moxley's mind this summer as she braces herself for
Though she has some peace knowing the person convicted of
killing her only daughter is in prison she says she hasn't
``found great reason to jump up and down and be excited.''
``It will never really be over. There will be appeals and
petitions for parole,'' she said. ``I think I am going to
have Michael Skakel as an appendage for the rest of my