"Skakel P.I. Appears Before Grand Jury"
By J.A. Johnson Jr.
Greenwich Time, March 25, 1999
BRIDGEPORT - After five months of legal wrangling over a subpoena, a former
private investigator who interviewed both suspects in the Martha Moxley murder
finally appeared yesterday before the grand jury investigating the Greenwich
girl's 1975 slaying.
However, it appeared unlikely prosecutors heard the testimony they were hoping
for concerning Willis Krebs' interviews with suspects Michael and Thomas Skakel,
in which the brothers allegedly changed their alibis for the night their 15-
year-old neighbor was murdered with a weapon police said came from their home.
Krebs, who conducted the interviews while working for a private detective agency
hired in 1992 to probe the murder in preparation for a possible criminal
defense, was accompanied by his attorney as he entered the sealed grand jury
room of the Fairfield Judicial District Courthouse in Bridgeport yesterday.
Previous witnesses who have willingly cooperated with the grand jury have not
been represented by counsel during questioning.
Neither Krebs; his attorney, Norman Bloch; nor prosecutors would comment after
spending about 30 minutes in the grand jury room.
Preceding Krebs in the grand jury room yesterday afternoon was Manhattan
attorney Thomas Sheridan Jr., who was Michael Skakel's defense attorney at the
time the Sutton Associates detective agency was hired to investigate the Moxley
murder. Sheridan, who also was represented by Bloch during questioning, refused
to comment after spending about 90 minutes before the grand jury.
Prosecutors have alleged Sutton Associates had worked for the Skakel family -
not the Skakel lawyers - and that Sheridan's grand jury testimony was needed to
clarify relationships among the private investigations firm, the Skakels and the
It took five months to get Krebs before the grand jury because even though he
did not contest the subpoena signed by a Connecticut judge in September,
attorneys representing the Skakel brothers intervened with a motion to quash the
order after the subpoena was endorsed by a county judge in Krebs' home state of
New York. The motion, which claimed Krebs' interviews of the Skakel brothers
were confidential under the attorney-client privilege, was denied March 12.
In ruling against the motion to quash the subpoena, Suffolk County, N.Y., Judge
Michael Mullen stated any claims of attorney-client privilege must be
adjudicated in Connecticut.
Michael and Thomas Skakel, who in 1975 were 15 and 17, respectively, were both
with Moxley the night their 15-year-old Greenwich neighbor was murdered,
according to police. Police identified the murder weapon as a 6-iron from a set
of golf clubs owned by the Skakel family, who lived across the street from the
Moxleys in Belle Haven. Although police have said both Skakels initially claimed
to have been nowhere near the Oct. 30, 1975, crime scene, prosecutors allege
that the brothers told Krebs of either being at the crime scene or with the
victim at the estimated time of the murder.
In an affidavit filed in conjunction with the earlier motion to quash the
subpoena, Krebs stated he interviewed Thomas Skakel twice and Michael Skakel
once. The affidavit stated: "At the time of my investigation in the (Moxley)
case, I was an employee of Sutton Associates. . I always participated in these
conversations with the understanding that these conversations were strictly
confidential and protected under the attorney-client and work product
A subpoena also was issued to Sutton Associates President James Murphy, but in
January a Nassau County, N.Y., judge ruled he would not enforce the order not
because of a claimed privilege, but because Murphy had not personally
interviewed either Skakel brother and therefore was not a material witness. But
in the same ruling, Judge Jerald Carter said hearings he presided over had
established that two other Sutton Associates investigators - including Krebs -
"are witnesses with firsthand knowledge of the alleged Skakel interviews."