Report gives clues to who may be killer
By Leonard Levitt, Special to Greenwich Time

A 1993 report by former FBI behavioral scientists profiles the type of person who may have killed Martha Moxley and offers a graphic narrative of her murder.

The report depicts the killer as someone who knew Martha and the Greenwich neighborhood in which the murder occurred and who probably had sexual fantasies about her. It also recognized the brutality of the crime as a clue.

"Such force, when observed in sexual homicides, is often indicative of the offender knowing the victim," the report said, "and suggests personalized anger, probably associated with an angry verbal exchange."

In 1992, Rushton Skakel hired private investigators from the Long Island, N.Y.-based firm of Sutton Associates to clear his son, Thomas, of allegations he had beaten and stabbed his 15-year-old neighbor to death with a golf club as she left the Skakel home Oct. 30, 1975.

The documents Sutton produced included a 52-page analysis prepared on Oct. 8, 1993, by the Academy Group of Manassas, Va., that was written by former FBI behavioral scientists Kenneth P. Baker and Roger L. Depue. The report was based on information provided by Sutton investigators Jim Murphy, a former FBI supervisor and colleague of the two, and Willis Krebs, a former New York City police lieutenant. It included examinations of the area where the crime occurred and interviews with friends of Martha as well as with Thomas and his younger brother Michael, in which both boys admitted lying to the police about their whereabouts the night of the murder.

The report does not name any suspects. The profile, however, did not fit the police's second suspect, Kenneth Littleton, a tutor for Thomas and Michael, who had moved into the Skakel house the night of the murder and who did not know Martha. Sutton investigators initially focused on Littleton after a secret meeting at the home of Rushton Skakel in late 1991, during which state investigators led Skakel's attorneys to believe Littleton murdered Martha and may have been a serial killer.

Sutton investigators viewed the Academy Group profile as fitting Thomas as Martha's killer, while state investigators felt it came closer to matching Michael, who had initially been cleared as a suspect by the Greenwich Police Department. Michael was arrested and charged last month with the murder and was to be arraigned in Stamford today.

The report begins by describing Martha as an "All-American girl" and a "flirt" who "loved the attention of boys" and was "pretty, popular, confident and self-assured." The report said she occasionally drank beer and smoked cigarettes and sometimes marijuana. The autopsy revealed no signs of drugs or alcohol in her system.

It also described her as "moralistic" and "not promiscuous."

She was "not known to have had sexual relations," the report stated. "It should be noted that friends felt she was very strong-willed and would have vigorously resisted a physical attack or any attempt to take sexual advantage of her."

The report quotes witnesses as saying Martha flirted and participated in teenage "physical horseplay" with Thomas outside the Skakel's kitchen door at about 9:30 the night of her death. The horseplay was described as so "embarrassing" to Martha's friend Helen Ix that the teenager went home, leaving Martha and Thomas alone.

Though not mentioned in the Academy Group report, Thomas told Greenwich police in 1975 that he left Martha at 9:30 p.m. to return home to write a report for school. He subsequently told Krebs he returned outside, where he and Martha engaged in a sexual encounter that lasted about 20 minutes before he left her for a second time.

The Academy Group speculated that Martha, whose curfew was between 9:30 and 10 p.m., walked home at about 9:50 p.m. and was attacked. The attack began, the report read, with the offender punching Martha once or twice in the face as she approached the gravel driveway.

The report then used the word "overkill," noting that Martha was struck in the head with a golf club about 15 times. "Any one of several of the blows would have resulted in death," the report said. "This is strongly indicative of anger and rage directed in a very personal way to the victim."

The report also noted the lack of defense wounds.

"The absence of defensive wounds indicate (sic) that the victim was unprepared for the attack. It is apparent that the victim did not perceive danger from the perpetrator."

The report then noted that the offender chose to confront the victim outside on her driveway, saying "this provides several useful clues." First, that the attacker knew the victim; second, that he knew she would be returning home at around that time. "The fact that the offender chose this outside location to make his initial contact with the victim indicates he was comfortable functioning in the neighborhood," the report said.

It also noted that the crime "was carried out at considerable risk to the offender and occurred in an open area which could have been intruded on by anyone at any time. It was also in very close proximity to the victim's residence and had she been able to scream, assistance may have been rendered to her."

The report speculated that in all probability, the killer had sexual fantasies about the victim and may have consumed drugs and alcohol to build up his courage.

At the initial point of encounter, the report noted, the victim did not feel threatened because she knew her offender. The conversation between them "at some point became heated and threatening. We believe this occurred when the offender was verbally rejected by the victim. We believe the offender was attempting to obtain sexual favors from the victim," the report said. "We believe she verbally rejected him in such a way that it threatened his self-esteem and ego "

The report added that the offender's inhibitions to violence were probably lowered significantly by his consumption of alcohol or drugs. "We believe the attacker punched the victim in the face with his fist without warning. The fact that no screams were heard and that the victim had no defense wounds on her hands or arms indicate that she did not expect to be struck as she knew her attacker. In all likelihood (she) would have fought her attacker if she had perceived a physical attack "

After being struck, the report said Martha "managed to run from the gravel driveway across her lawn in the direction of her front door. It appears she was then overtaken by her attacker on her front lawn where she was again assaulted and knocked to the ground."

It was then, the report said, that the attacker's motivation "changed abruptly from sex to that of rage and hostility, because of the victim's rejection of his overtures to her. The attacker began striking the victim repeatedly and violently with a golf club. These repeated blows provide a clear indication of personalized rage again indicating an acquaintance with the victim."

The report describes the attack as taking place at three sites. The site of the initial encounter was on the gravel driveway leading to Martha's home. The site of the major attack was on her front lawn, where the portions of the murder weapon were found. The third site was where the body was disposed.

The report said the state of Martha's clothing suggested an "incomplete sexual assault." The autopsy revealed no sperm was present.

While at the second site, the report concluded, the offender was interrupted by the barking of a large English sheepdog owned by the Ix family, who lived across from the Moxley residence.

According to Helen Ix, she was on the phone between 9:50 p.m. and 10 p.m. when her dog began barking fiercely. She saw the dog go into the street and continue fiercely barking in the direction of the Moxley front yard. The housekeeper was afraid for Helen to go outside because of the severity of the dog's barking.

As the dog continued to bark, the report continued, the assailant moved the victim's body to another location rather than abandon the assault.

"He knew the dog was a 'barker,' not an attack dog," the report noted. "His selection of the site was not by accident. The attacker knew the area and was aware in the darkness (that) a specific spruce tree would provide some measure of concealment and 'safety' from detection."

The movement of the victim's body to the third site, the report said, extended the time frame of the crime, greatly increased his chances of being caught and further exposed the killer to being seen or discovered.

"If the offender's sole motivation had been to kill the victim, in all likelihood he would have left her dead or dying on the front lawn after inflicting the brutal attack. The fact that he took the time and effort to move the victim provides clear proof that his initial intentions were otherwise."

In the report, the analysts said that contrary to the belief that the offender dragged Martha to the remote site to conceal the body, the purpose in moving the body was to complete the sexual assault. The final obstacle was a second dog, that of a family named Bjork, that was let out of the house and also began to bark wildly and run toward the area near the spruce tree, according to the report.

The report says the offender's primary concern at this point was "self-preservation." Thus, it reasoned, the attacker stabbed the victim in the neck to ensure death.

The offender's final act of removing the broken golf club shaft and handle before leaving the crime scene also provided additional information as to his motive and mental state, the report concluded. "He either had a strong proprietary reason for wanting to retain the weapon or intended to dispose of it in such a way as to prevent it ever being discovered."

The report added that after leaving the victim's body, the offender returned to the scene of the crime before her body was discovered. "After departing the crime scene, he went home and thought about what had happened.

"Finding it hard to believe he had murdered his friend, he returned to verify that she was in fact dead."

Leonard Levitt of Stamford writes a weekly column for Newsday called "One Police Plaza" about the New York City Police Department. He has been a reporter with Newsday for 20 years and was previously the investigations editor of the New York Post and a correspondent for Time magazine.