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Kennedy cousin Michael Skakel won't be retried in 1975 killing, prosecutor says

By Edmund H. Mahony, The Hartford Courant on

Published in News & Features

STAMFORD, Conn. — Connecticut Chief State's Attorney Richard Colangelo told a Superior Court judge Friday morning he has decided not to retry Kennedy cousin Michael Skakel in the 1975 Greenwich killing of Martha Moxley — a decision that closes the book on the notorious case.

Colangelo told the judge that the state cannot prove the case beyond a reasonable doubt due to the death of witnesses. Skakel said nothing, nor did his lawyer. Colangelo said his review of the case showed 51 potential prosecution witnesses, 17 of whom are deceased. Colangelo entered a nolle in the case against Skakel, a legal device that will result in a dismissal in 13 months.

"I believe the state cannot prove the case beyond a reasonable doubt; therefore, the state is going to enter a nolle," Colangelo said. The case had been sealed under a state juvenile offender law.

The hearing in Stamford Superior Court convened in front of Judge Gary White, who said he had met with lawyers early in the morning in a closed court room and Skakel agreed to waive his privilege of confidentiality.

In the public session, Colangelo briefly recited the long history of the case beginning with Martha Moxley's death in 1975, concluding with the Supreme Court reversal of Skakel's 2002 conviction in 2018.

Colangelo said he has reviewed all the evidence in the case and was unable to find anything new to use in another trial.

 

Colangelo met Friday morning with lawyers for Skakel and members of the Moxley family. Throughout the process Colangelo said he stayed in touch with the Moxley family. "I have tried my best to keep them informed of my findings and what my decision is," he said. Dorothy Moxley, Martha Moxley's mother, did not attend Friday's hearing.

John Moxley was given a brief opportunity to speak and very briefly thanked all the employees of the state of Connecticut who were involved in the long investigation litigation of his sister's death. Skakel's lawyer, Stephen Seeger, told the judge his client had nothing further to add.

Outside the courthouse, after the charge was dropped, Skakel declined to speak to reporters. Seeger said the day had brought justice to his client.

"This is a day for justice for a lot of reasons," Seeger said. "One of them one of them is that you have an innocent man. And I have said many, many times I was looking forward to the day when we would walk out of a court room and this case was behind Michael. And that's what happened today. We are glad the result is what it is. And he is happy that it's over."

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