"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 defense.

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 statement.

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 privileged.

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.