"Skakel Cousin Still Sought on Alibi"
By J.A. Johnson Jr.
Greenwich Time, April 8, 1999
One of the few remaining witnesses prosecutors hope to present to the grand jury
investigating the 1975 Martha Moxley murder is a cousin of suspect Michael
Skakel who helped provide Skakel with his alibi for the night the Greenwich
teenager was slain.
But the cousin, James (Dowdle) Terrien, now lives in the Bahamas, and it is
unclear how or even whether prosecutors can bring the potential witness to this
country for his testimony.
The lead investigator for the Moxley case, state Inspector Frank Garr, confirmed
yesterday that Terrien was being sought for questioning, but he would not
comment on reports that a subpoena had been lodged with officials in the
Bahamas. "Jimmy Terrien is among the remaining individuals who we wish to make
contact with, and that's all I can say on this matter," Garr said.
According to edited police reports obtained by Greenwich Time in 1983 under the
state's Freedom of Information laws, Terrien - who told police he was with his
cousin at about the time Moxley was believed to have been murdered - was
questioned three times in the days following Moxley's murder on the evening of
Oct. 30, 1975
Terrien's testimony is believed to be crucial to the investigation because of
allegations that Michael Skakel and his brother, Thomas, also a suspect in the
murder case, changed their alibis when questioned years later by private
detectives hired by their lawyers in preparation for a possible criminal
In their revised alibis, the Skakel brothers either placed themselves with
Moxley or near the crime scene at about the time of the murder, according to
court documents filed in connection with the grand jury investigation. The
Skakels' 15-year-old Belle Haven neighbor was bludgeoned and stabbed with a 6-
iron police said came from a set of golf clubs owned by the Skakel family.
On Nov. 2, 1975, police reports state, Terrien "related that on the night in
question, he was at the Skakel residence and at approximately (time deleted)
p.m., he left the Skakel residence and was driven home by his cousins Rush, John
and Michael Skakel. He stated that he met Martha Moxley and when he left she was
standing in the driveway talking to another cousin, Thomas Skakel."
On Nov. 8 - his 18th birthday - Terrien was questioned again, with investigators
apparently concentrating on times he had given in the first interview. "He
related the same story as in the original interview," according to police
reports. "He further stated that he was positive that he left the Skakel
residence around (time deleted), give or take five minutes either way. They
arrived at his house sometime around (time deleted), (and) he stated they didn't
make any stops on the way to his house. He stated they watched television and
the Skakel brother(s) left his house sometime around (time deleted)."
On that same day, police questioned Terrien's sister, Georgeann, then 25, who
told detectives that she saw her brother return home with his three cousins, all
of whom then went into her brother's bedroom. The times the Skakels arrived and
left their cousin's house were deleted from the report. Reports show that
Terrien appeared at police headquarters on Nov. 15, 1975, to tape record his
Although prosecutors will not comment on how much of its investigation the grand
jury has completed, it is believed nearly every planned witness has provided
testimony. Except for Terrien, the only other known planned witnesses not to
have testified are Michael Skakel's father, Rushton Skakel Sr., and Joseph
Ricci, owner of a drug and alcohol rehabilitation center where Skakel allegedly
made possibly incriminating statements concerning the Moxley murder during his
stay from 1978 to 1980.
An appeal contesting Skakel Sr.'s subpoena is pending in Florida, where the
elder Skakel lives. Another appeal of a Connecticut judge's ruling that Ricci
must testify is pending before the state Supreme Court in Hartford. Ricci has
said that information concerning Skakel's stay at the rehab center is
Among the 50 witnesses who have appeared before the Bridgeport grand jury are
two of the suspects' brothers, John and Steven Skakel; their sister, Julie
Skakel; and two cousins, Georgeann Dowdle and Desneiges Terrien, both of whom
are James Terrien's sisters. Georgeann Dowdle dropped the last name of her
mother's second husband, George Terrien, in the years after the Moxley murder.
Her brother did likewise and is living in the Bahamas as James Dowdle.