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.