Moxley homestead to crumble
By J.A. Johnson Jr. - Greenwich Time

GREENWICH -A small piece of the darker side of Greenwich history may soon be just that - history.

A permit has been filed with the town to tear down the mansion in Belle Haven where 15-year-old Martha Moxley lived for little more than a year in 1975 before she was found brutally murdered in her yard.

The demolition permit for the 18-room dwelling at 38 Walsh Lane was filed Feb. 29 with the town Building Department by owners James and Barbara McEntee.

The McEntees, who also own the adjacent estate at 20 Walsh Lane, bought the former Moxley residence in 1995. They could not be reached for comment. James McEntee is a bond trader, formerly with the Greenwich-based Long Term Capital Management hedge fund.

The Moxley family - David, Dorthy and their children, John and Martha - moved from California and into the Walsh Lane mansion in summer 1974.

The Moxleys sold 38 Walsh Lane to Broadway actor Jon Lee in 1977 and moved to New York City. Lee sold it in 1995 to the McEntees.

Lee said although town land records state the former Moxley house was built in 1904, its actual origins were probably in the late 19th century.

"It was owned by the Days, a well-known family in town, and somewhere around the turn of the century, Mr. Day went to Spain, and when he came back he brought all these Spanish artifacts," Lee said. Those artifacts, such as the tiles used to create a formal garden, were used to transform the dwelling at 38 Walsh Lane into a "stucco Mediterranean" villa, he said.

Lee said he had only fond memories of the house despite its infamous past.

"I enjoyed being there. My kids grew up there," he said. "I wouldn't have lived there if I felt the closets held some evil. It just happened to be where something bad once happened."

Martha Moxley was murdered the night of Oct. 30, 1975. She was hit repeatedly with a golf club owned by the Skakel family.

Martha and her friends were at the home of the Moxleys' neighbors, the Skakels, where they were visiting with two of the seven Skakel children, Thomas and Michael. According to police reports, Michael, then 15, left the group at about 9:30 p.m. to drive a cousin to his backcountry home. Thomas told police he said good night to Martha shortly afterward.

Some of the friends in that group later told police that as they left the Skakel house for home, Martha remained behind with Thomas, then 17. The last the friends saw of the two was Martha pushing Thomas, then Thomas pushing back, and finally Thomas pushing Martha to the ground and either falling or lowering himself on top of her, police reports state.

According to police, Thomas is the last person known to have seen Martha alive. After Dorthy Moxley reported her daughter missing early the morning of Oct. 31, police as well as the teenage girl's friends searched Belle Haven. One of those friends, Sheila McGuire, found Martha's lifeless body at about 12:15 p.m. under a pine tree on the lawn of the Moxley estate.

Police said they recovered from the crime scene broken pieces of the murder weapon, a 6-iron. Thomas was the prime suspect for many years. But officials said new information - that Michael made incriminating statements about the murder while in a substance-abuse treatment center - began surfacing in 1996.

A grand jury was convened in 1998 to investigate the Moxley murder and after 18 months it issued a report that was used as a basis for the Jan. 19 arrest of Michael Skakel.

Because he was 15 in 1975, Skakel was arraigned for murder as a juvenile. Whether he will be prosecuted in an adult court is an issue that is to be decided during a June 20 probable-cause hearing in state Superior Court in Stamford.