Two journalists arrested on Skakel property
By Linda Barr - Greenwich Post
As the world's media descended on Greenwich en masse for the arrest last week
of Michael Skakel, Greenwich police were forced, yet again, to initiate
contingency plans for dealing with some 200 journalists, photographers and
camera crews, not all of whom abided by the law, police said.
Two journalists were arrested and charged with trespassing after allegedly
ignoring requests from security staff to leave the exclusive Belle Haven
complex where the 1975 Martha Moxley murder occurred.
Journalists Robert MacDonnell, 37, of Niantic, and Thomas Puleo, 38, of West
Hartford were allegedly trying to conduct interviews outside the old Skakel
residence on Otter Rock Road when security personnel from the Belle Haven
Association asked them to leave.
The area is posted with numerous "No Trespassing" signs and, when the
reporters allegedly refused to go, police were called. Both men are due to
appear in court Feb. 4 to answer the trespassing charges.
As the dust settled this week, police Capt. David Ridberg said patrol cars
would continue to be vigilant for anyone attempting to ignore Greenwich laws.
"We always try to make arrangements to accommodate the media during such
high-profile cases," said Ridberg, "something that allows the media to do
their job without breaking the law. The police department understands the
importance of freedom of the press and access to information, however, they
are not exempt from the law."
When Skakel left GPD Jan 19, after being charged with murder, police chief
Peter Robbins issued a statement to some 200 media representatives outside the
Bruce Place headquarters.
Afterwards, he said: "Greenwich police department has become accustomed to
dealing with a large press corps and so this latest event was not unusual. We
had 400 journalists for the [Lauren] Bessette funeral and more than that for
the [George W.] Bush visit, so we do have experience in dealing with this.
As well as keeping an eye open for stray reporters, the Belle Haven patrol
units will be on guard for one man in particular.
Former Los Angeles police detective Mark Fuhrman, who wrote the book "Murder
in Greenwich" about the case, is still under police order to stay off the
family's property after he was the subject of trespassing complaints while
researching the book in 1997.