Moxley home razing may face delays
By J.A. Johnson Jr. - Greenwich Time
A request to delay demolition of the former Martha Moxley residence is being considered by the lawyer representing the 15-year-old Greenwich girl's accused killer in the event the case goes to trial and the jury wants to view the crime scene.
Michael Sherman, defense lawyer for murder defendant Michael Skakel, said he plans to speak with the Moxley case prosecutor to determine whether there will be a need to preserve the 18-room mansion to keep the site looking much as it did at the time of the 1975 homicide.
"It's certainly something we've thought about, and it's something the state's attorney and I will have to talk about," Sherman said yesterday.
Authorities say Moxley was attacked in the driveway of her family's home at 38 Walsh Lane the evening of Oct. 30, 1975, and her bludgeoned and stabbed body was found the next day beneath a pine tree on the Moxleys' 3-acre estate in the private Belle Haven section of Greenwich. The murder weapon was identified as a golf club owned by the Skakel family, who lived across the street from the victim.
Skakel and Moxley were among a group of neighborhood friends gathered at the Skakel residence the night of the murder.
The crime scene could figure prominently in a trial because Skakel allegedly places himself at or near the site of the fatal assault in a statement he gave to private investigators working for his family. According to police reports, Skakel originally told detectives he left Moxley and the other youths to drive to a cousin's house, and that upon returning home he went directly to bed. But when interviewed by employees of the Sutton Associates private investigations firm, hired by the defendant's family in 1992, Skakel allegedly admitted he had lied to police and that after returning from his cousin's he went back out in an attempt to meet with Moxley, on whom he had a romantic crush. According to a Sutton Associates draft report, Skakel said he climbed a tree on the Moxley estate.
"He went to the window of Martha Moxley's room and made an effort to contact Martha by calling out her name," the Sutton report states. "After his efforts proved unsuccessful, Michael states he (climbed) É a tree outside her window before returning home."
The Moxley family sold the Walsh Lane property in 1977, and the new owner sold it in 1995 to the present owners, James and Barbara McEntee. On Feb. 29 of this year, the McEntees filed an application for a demolition permit for the dwelling with the town Building Department. The permit application is still pending.
Soon after it was filed, a member of the Greenwich Police Department notified the prosecutor's office in Bridgeport of the plans to raze the old Moxley house. State Inspector Frank Garr, the lead investigator in the Moxley case, said he and State's Attorney Jonathan Benedict discussed the pending demolition permit, and they decided preservation of the Moxley house was not crucial to their case.
"We have tons of photos and diagrams of the crime scene, so there's really no reason" to seek a delay in the house's demolition, Garr said yesterday.
But according to Sherman, photographs and other illustrations will not be able to help jury members visualize what happened the night of the murder as well as touring the actual site with original landmarks intact can.
"There's no question that the value of a visit is greatly diminished" through destruction of the former Moxley residence, Sherman said.