Martha Moxley Killing: Verdict Overturned, Kennedy Cousin Michael Skakel Faces New Trial

Martha Moxley was killed the night before Halloween in 1975, but after nearly four decades her family will have to wait a bit longer for a chance at closure.

It took police 27 years to arrest Michael Skakel, the Kennedy cousin who lived near the Moxleys in an affluent Greenwich, Connecticut, neighborhood.

On Wednesday, a Connecticut judge granted the 53-year-old Skakel a new trial on the grounds that he was not adequately represented at trial.

Skakel had been arrested for the murder in 2000, but charged as a juvenile because he was 15 at the time of the killing. Skakel was convicted of killing Martha Moxley in a 2002 jury trial, and sentenced to 20 years in prison.

Martha had gone out with friends to do some pre-Halloween pranking in the neighborhood, and never came home at night. The next day her family found her body underneath a tree on her property.

Police determined that she was beaten to death with a golf club that came from the Skakel son, leading police to 15-year-old Michael and 17-year-old Thomas Skakel as suspects, along with a 24-year-old tutor who lived at the home.

Skakel may also remain free until the conclusion of his trial. His lawyer planned on Thursday to seek Skakel’s release on bail pending the trial.

Ethel Kennedy, Robert F. Kennedy’s widow and Michael’s aunt, said she would be “overjoyed” if Skakel was freed during the trial.

“She knows also that Michael is innocent,” Robert F. Kennedy Jr. told CNN.

The mother of Martha Moxley does not share the sentiment, saying she was confident that Skakel was the one who bludgeoned her daughter to death.

“I am totally, 100 percent convinced in my heart that Michael Skakel is the person who swung the golf club and killed my daughter,” Dorthy Moxley told Hearst Connecticut Newspapers. “This is just a bump in the road. We’ve had lots of little bumps in the road and it’s taken us a long time.”

A judge had denied in previous bids at a new trial, but this week Connecticut Judge Thomas Bishop granted a new trial in the Martha Moxley killing after determining that Skakel’s high-profile lawyer failed to adequately represent him at trial.

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