In 1975, a 15-year-old girl was discovered slain in a bizarre manner. A suspect was apprehended decades later. Continue reading to learn more about the case and the defendants.
Martha Moxley, a bubbly and popular adolescent, was killed in 1975 near her house in a high-profile and gated neighborhood in Greenwich, Connecticut. Thomas and Michael Skakel, Kennedy cousins, were the leading suspects, but the police, who were thought to be on their father’s payroll, were unable to link them to the crime site.
Michael Skakel was convicted on the basis of circumstantial evidence twenty-five years after the occurrence and served more than a decade in jail. His attorneys have filed many appeals since then, and he has been free since 2013.
Skakel’s riches and connections were important factors in his release, but was he unfairly convicted?
|Full Name||Michael Christopher Skakel|
|Stage Name||Michael Skakel|
|Famous For||Allegedly killing Martha Moxley (convicted then released)|
|Date of Birth||September 19, 1960|
|Place of Birth||San Francisco, California|
|Mother||Anne Reynolds Skakel (1932-1973)|
|Father||Rushton Walter Skakel Sr. (1923-2003)|
|Weight||98 kg (216 lbs)|
|Lives in||Westchester County, New York|
|Profession||None (AA Volunteer Counselor)|
|Education||Curry College, Milton, Massachusetts, B.A., 1993|
|Wife/Spouse||Margot Sheridan (1991-2001, divorced)|
|Children||George (born 1999)|
|Total Net worth||$1M|
Wrongly Convicted Group Website
|Books about the Moxley case||Murder in Greenwich: Who killed Martha Moxley|
|Shows Featuring Moxley Case||Murder and Justice: The Case of Martha Moxley (2019) Michael Skakel – A Killing in Greenwich (TruTV, 2017)
Unsolved Mysteries (1996)
|Song Inspired by Martha Moxley Case||Martha Moxley (Rest in Peace) (2014, Chad Bromley feat Chris Webby, Kappa Gamma, Annoyd and Hayze)|
|Trivia||Michael Skakel was part of the US Speed skiing team in the 1990s.|
Michael Skakel: Family
Michael was born into a family of riches, with his grandpa George founding Great Lakes Carbon Corporation, one of the country’s largest and wealthiest privately held coal companies. George was a train worker who earned a fortune by blending coal and oil waste for use as a source of heat and energy.
Michael’s father, Rushton, was the heir to the company’s riches. He and his wife Anne have seven children and resided on a large sweeping house on Otter Rock Drive in Greenwich, Connecticut’s affluent Belle Haven area.
Michael Skakel: Early Life
Michael was 12 years old when Anne died of brain cancer in 1973, leaving the seven children—five boys and two girls—with their absentee father. Michael became an alcoholic at a young age when his mother died.
He was a bad student who was supposedly expelled from a dozen schools due to undiagnosed dyslexia.
Household assistance and nannies were a big part of Michael’s and his siblings’ childhoods, although they were mostly unsupervised.
Michael’s cousin, Robert F. Kennedy, Jr., later wrote that Skakel was a “small sensitive child with a harsh and occasionally violent alcoholic father who both ignored and abused him.”
When Michael was 17, he got into a high-speed pursuit with the cops near his family’s ski resort in Windham, New York. When Michael plowed down a telephone pole, the chase was called off.
Michael Skakel: A Spoiled and Violent Teen
Rather than scolding his out-of-control children, Rushton focused on damage control. Michael’s father made a deal with authorities to avoid going to jail, and they freed him on the condition that Michael check into a rehabilitation clinic.
Michael was sent to the Elan School in Poland Spring, Maine, in handcuffs, a residential behavior modification program and therapeutic boarding school for wealthy but disturbed and addicted children. Michael escaped twice and dropped out after two years at the institution.
Michael was regarded by his neighbors and teachers as a pampered boy with a nasty temper. Kenneth Littleton, the Skakels’ live-in tutor, described a horrifying event in which Michael crucified a chipmunk by putting its legs over the hole with a golf club.
Martha Moxley’s dead body was discovered behind a tree near her home a few weeks later. With a golf club, she was bludgeoned to death.
Martha Moxley: Who Was She?
Martha Elizabeth Moxley, a well-known sophomore who lived near and hung out with the Skakels, was set to join the cheering team. Just nine months after transferring to Western Junior High School, her classmates had elected her the girl with the “best personality” and she was the most popular female.
Martha was sociable, athletic, and talented, according to her brother John Moxley. She was a happy, easygoing kid who was a breeze to get along with.
Who was Martha Moxley’s killer?
Her last sighting was with the Skakels. She’d arrived for Mischief Night, flinging eggs and toilet paper, as well as powder bombing houses, streets, and automobiles.
Martha’s mother, Dorthy Moxley, became concerned when she didn’t return home until late at night. They looked everywhere for her but couldn’t find her.
Her body was recovered the next day behind a pine tree near her home, covered in blood. Martha may have been heading to the driveway when she was attacked, with the attacker smacking her in the head from behind, according to police reports.
The victim was stabbed in the neck with the shattered shaft of a steel golf club, which had been struck with such force that it had broken. Despite being found with her trousers and panties pulled down, police concluded she had not been sexually assaulted.
Skakels are the source of evidence.
The murder weapon was eventually discovered, a 6-iron golf club from a set that had belonged to the Skakel family’s deceased grandmother Anne. The Skakel brothers, Michael and Thomas, were the last people to see Martha alive.
According to Littleton, police questioned the Skakel brothers for a short time before releasing them since there was no evident evidence linking them to the murder case.
Michael Skakel’s Father
Rushton Skakel blocked authorities from accessing Thomas (Tommy) and Michael’s school and mental health records, preventing the police from digging deeper into his sons as possible suspects.
The public chastised the police for being overly lenient with the well-connected Skakels.
Prosecutors considered the lack of hard physical evidence against Mr. Skakel, who said he was at a cousin’s house miles away when the murder occurred. Later in court, a witness testified that Michael did not leave the Skakel residence on the night of the murder.
The Diary of Martha Moxley
According to a September 1975 writing in the victim’s notebook, Tommy and Michael are vying for Martha’s attention. She described an event in which Michael approached her and told her to cease socializing with his elder brother, Tommy.
This is one of the theories linking Michael Skakel to Martha Moxley’s assassination. The journal entries were eventually found to be acceptable evidence in the Martha Moxley murder trial in 2002, although the judge highlighted that Moxley’s writings were hearsay.
Michael Skakel: Prime Suspect
Tommy, his elder brother, and Kenneth Littleton, their live-in tutor, were also suspects, but prosecutors named Michael Skakel as the most probable suspect, accusing him of murdering Moxley in a jealous frenzy.
The investigation stayed cold for several years, perhaps due to a lack of evidence or the police’s reluctance to link the rich and Kennedy-related Skakels to the killing.
Michael Skakel: The Kennedy Relationship
The murder of Martha Moxley drew international attention since the suspect, Michael Skakel, is Ethel Skakel Kennedy’s nephew. Rushton Skakel is the sister of Senator Robert F. Kennedy’s widow, Ethel.
Michael is close to his Kennedy relatives and welcomes them at his family’s Windham ski lodge on a regular basis. He also gave assistance to a few Kennedys who were struggling with drug addiction, notably David, who died of a heroin overdose in 1984.
After the Moxley Murder, what happened to Michael Skakel?
Michael continued on with his life despite the suspicion that he was involved in the heinous murder. He traveled to many recovery institutions until conquering his addiction in the 1980s after leaving Elan School after two years.
He was identified as dyslexic at the age of 25. Michael went to Curry College, which has a particular program for people with learning challenges, as part of his quest to improve his life. He earned his bachelor’s degree in 1993, at the age of 33, using audiobooks and audiotapes as his primary learning resources.
Ex-wife and son of Michael Skakel
Michael switched to athletics after overcoming his addiction and qualified for the United States World Cup skiing team in the 1990s.
Professional golfer Michael was attracted to Margot Sheridan, who was also raised in Belle Haven, and the pair married in 1991. Years later, the couple and their young son George relocated to a gated enclave in Hobe Sound, Florida, near Rushton’s mansion.
In 2000, shortly after Michael was arrested and accused with Moxley’s murder, Margot filed for divorce. A year later, the union was dissolved.
The case of Martha Moxley’s murder has been reopened.
Michael Skakel was recognized as Martha Moxley’s murderer by detective Frank Garr and police reporter Leonard Levitt. Skakel was also recognized in 1998 by Mark Fuhrman, a former Los Angeles cop turned novelist, after doing his own investigation. Fuhrman was well known for his role in the OJ Simpson trial.
As a result, in June 1998, Connecticut Superior Court Judge George Thim convened a one-person grand jury to consider the material acquired by investigators in the Moxley case during an 18-month period.
Conviction and Imprisonment of Michael Skakel
Following the completion of the investigation, an arrest warrant was issued for Michael Skakel in connection with the murder in 2000, and he surrendered to the authorities. For his interim release, he obtained a $500K bail.
Skakel was convicted and sentenced to 20 years in jail in June 2002, nearly two years after the trial began.
He was transported to Cheshire Correctional Institution, then to Garner Correctional Institution, where he spent more than a decade serving his sentence. In 2003, Skakel filed a discrimination complaint in Garner, which was refused by then-Corrections Spokerperson Christina Polce.
Appeals of Michael Skakel
Michael Skakel’s attorneys attempted to have his conviction overturned in 2003, but the Connecticut Supreme Court maintained the ruling in 2006. Skakel’s conviction was upheld after the US Supreme Court declined to consider his appeal.
Skakel’s lawyers filed an appeal in 2010, saying that his trial counsel, Mickey Sherman, was incompetent.
Michael Skakel was refused parole by the state parole board in Suffield, Connecticut in 2012.
After a Connecticut Appellate judge agreed that defense counsel Mickey Sherman’s representation of Skakel was “constitutionally defective,” a Connecticut Appellate judge ordered a fresh trial for him a year later. Michael Skakel was released in 2013 after paying a $1.2 million bond by Superior Court Judge Gary White.
Michael Skakel’s Publication
Skakel’s conviction was dismissed by the Connecticut Supreme Court in 2018, thus freeing him. The prosecution sought an appeal, but the United States Supreme Court declined to hear Connecticut’s petition for review of Skakel’s conviction in 2019.
Dorthy, Martha’s mother, expressed her dissatisfaction with the Supreme Court’s ruling in 2019, stating she wants Skakel back in jail and will support attempts to retrial him.
Is Michael Skakel a guilty man?
In 2007, Skakel’s former high school classmate Gitano “Tony” Bryant, the cousin of dead basketball sensation Kobe Bryant, cleared Skakel, bringing the case to a surprise conclusion. Bryant went public with his claim that he knew who killed Moxley, but the court questioned his reliability, and Skakel’s request for a new trial was granted.
Michael Skakel Net Worth
|Estimated Net Worth 2020||$1M|
|How Much Did Michael Skakel Earn Last Year?||None|
|What Is Michael Skakel’s Income Source?||Family estate|
Michael Skakel’s Legal Battle Cost Him How Much?
Michael Skakel’s family spent millions establishing his innocence in the Martha Moxley case due to a long-running legal struggle. According to New York Times in 2013, “Skakel and his family have spared no expense in their efforts to clear his name,” including hiring “expensive lawyers, private investigators and expert witnesses, one at $250 an hour.”
Michael is probably worth $1 million at best, given that the family money is nearly depleted. Michael’s stepmother, Anna Mae, stated that Michael’s father, Rushton, died penniless. Michael’s grandparents, who perished in a plane crash in 1957, left each of their grandchildren $383K trusts in 2007. The Skakels obtained that estate as their final inheritance.
Where is Michael Skakel Now?
Because of the 2013 Court judgment, he is still free.
Michael is supposed to volunteer as an Alcoholics Anonymous counselor and aid in the rehabilitation of feral animals to make up for his wild past.
Despite the Judge’s terms that Skakel not leave Connecticut without court consent, wear a GPS tracking device, refrain from contacting the Moxleys, and report to a bail commissioner, he continues to travel frequently, according to sources.
He spends a significant portion of his leisure time refining his tell-all book, Dead Man Talking: A Kennedy Cousin Comes Clean. The Kennedys are portrayed in a negative light throughout the novel. Michael Skakel’s confession to the murder of Martha Moxley is slated for posthumous release, but it’s unclear if he’ll eventually admit to it, reversing his decades-long denial of guilt.