Shift in probe brings mixed feelings from Thomas Skakel
By Ryan Jockers - Greenwich Time
The attorney for Thomas Skakel, the prime suspect in the murder of 15-year-old Martha Moxley long before his brother, Michael, emerged as a suspect and was arrested Jan. 19 for the 1975 bludgeoning, said yesterday his client felt "bittersweet" about the arrest.
"He's delighted with the fact that the albatross has been removed from his neck," Emanuel Margolis, who represents Thomas Skakel, said in a phone interview from his Stamford office. "But he is sad that it's been placed around his younger brother's."
On Oct. 30, 1975, Moxley was beaten and stabbed to death with a woman's 6-iron from a set of golf clubs owned by the Skakels, who at the time were neighbors of the murdered Belle Haven girl. Michael and Thomas, then 15 and 17, respectively, were with Moxley the night she was killed.
Thomas Skakel was for many years considered a prime suspect in the case, along with the Skakels' live-in tutor, Kenneth Littleton. Not until 1995 did police consider Michael Skakel a suspect, after a report by private investigators hired by the Skakels revealed that the brothers had changed their stories. Michael altered his alibi, placing himself at the scene the night Moxley was killed. Littleton was given immunity in 1998 after testifying before a grand jury.
Michael Skakel, now 39 and living in Hobe Sound, Fla., surrendered to Greenwich Police last week after a warrant was issued charging him with Moxley's murder. He posted $500,000 bond and is to be arraigned Feb. 8 in Juvenile Court in Stamford.
Margolis said he has advised his client that "he is out of the woods," and does not anticipate that Thomas Skakel will be implicated by the one-man grand jury that, after 18 months of hearing witnesses' testimony, provided evidence for State's Attorney Jonathan Benedict to issue the arrest warrant for Michael Skakel.
"Tommy was not mentioned in the grand juror's report," Margolis said, adding his opinion that the grand jury's finding of probable cause to arrest Michael Skakel was "an error."
Michael Skakel's attorney, Michael Sherman of Stamford, could not be reached yesterday for comment, but has maintained his client's innocence and has said there will be no plea bargain.
Some people who worked extensively on the Moxley case have said that Thomas Skakel is in some way involved with the murder.
Steve Carroll, a former Greenwich detective who was among the first on the scene and investigated the Moxley case from 1975 to 1976, has said he believes Thomas Skakel has at least knowledge of the events that unfolded that unseasonably cold Halloween Eve.
"I'm hoping that information comes out," Carroll said last week, "and there will be enough for Tommy to be charged as a conspirator in the murder."
Timothy Dumas, a Greenwich native and author of "Greentown: Murder and Mystery in Greenwich, America's Wealthiest Community," said this week that he believes Thomas Skakel knows how Moxley died. Thomas Skakel, according to the private investigator's report, claimed to have had a sexual encounter with Moxley shortly before the time police believe she was killed.
"It strains credulity to think that Tommy has no idea what happened," said Dumas, the managing editor of a now-defunct town weekly.
Mark Fuhrman, the former Los Angeles detective who wrote "Murder in Greenwich: Who Killed Martha Moxley?" offered a different scenario this week. He said Michael Skakel was protected by his family and that Thomas Skakel was "offered up" as a suspect because "he could pass the polygraph and they knew it."
Margolis said yesterday that Thomas Skakel, now living in Stockbridge, Mass., was "disappointed and extremely unhappy" with his brother's arrest in the murder that hung over his head for 24 years. However, "for Tommy and his wife and children, this is welcome news," he said.
Margolis said Thomas Skakel has two jobs, but would not further specify.
"He is supporting his family," Margolis said, adding that he will continue to defend his client's reputation.
Dumas reports in his 1998 book that Thomas Skakel married Anne Gillman in 1989 at Christ Church Greenwich; joined the Episcopal church in his current hometown; and serves as a volunteer fireman.