Moxley diary gives glimpse of victim
By Angela Carella - Greenwich Time
It was New Year's Eve, 1975 was dawning, and in her diary, 14-year-old Martha Moxley lamented the passing of an exciting year.
"Today is the last day of '74. Boo hoo!" Martha wrote. " '74 has been one of the best years of my life . . . hope '75 is as good."
The teenager had every reason to be optimistic. With her parents, David and Dorthy Moxley, and her older brother, John, Martha lived in Belle Haven, one of the most exclusive enclaves of Greenwich, one of the most exclusive towns in the nation.
Popular, pretty, outgoing and confident, she would spend most of 1975 making new girlfriends; meeting boys; joining school clubs; attending parties, dances, concerts and country-club events; pool-hopping; shopping; playing tennis; skiing; boating; and visiting New York City, Washington, D.C., Aspen, Colo., and Lake Tahoe, Calif. -- all of it recorded in her diary.
No one could have imagined Martha would not live to the end of the year.
Now the diary, about 250 pages, is evidence in the trial that will decide whether Martha's then-neighbor, Michael Skakel, was the one who killed her with a golf club, striking her head and face repeatedly with a force that broke the shaft, which was thrust through her neck. Largely because Skakel is a cousin of the Kennedys, his trial in state Superior Court in Norwalk is being covered by dozens of media organizations from around the world.
Skakel and Martha were 15 at the time of the killing. In court last week, the evidence presented to the jurors resurrected the Halloween day 27 years ago when her body was found beneath a tree near her home -- the brown leather boat shoes, one with "Tom" written on the side, that were removed from her feet; the pieces of golf club that were found near her body; and photos of Martha in death, down jacket covering arms that were stretched over her head, pants pulled down, head bludgeoned, long blond hair matted with blood.
Now the evidence speaks for what happened to Martha. Through one piece of it, though, Martha speaks for herself.
She was loving life, her words reveal.
"Dear Diary," she wrote in late January 1975. "Nothing too exciting has happened. Went to a dance Friday, went to a movie Saturday . . . I got my braces off today!! I am so glad!! I am so sick of basketball practice, I can't stand it. Beth is too much to handle, too! She is a bragger and she cheats on tests -- some of them. I also can't stand sitting with Sue and Christine in bio. It took me 5 or 10 minutes to open my locker after lunch with Buddy, Peter, Danny and Tom all attacking me at the same time. It's kinda fun but I sure am late to O'Brien's class a lot. My teeth feel so queer!"
She documents high scores on several tests, but when she earned a D, she wrote, "My first D ever!" and left it at that. It didn't seem to get her down.
"Alan found out who both Mei and I like, and he told Mark," she wrote immediately after reporting the low test grade. "Jeff wasn't at school today. But Alan has a big mouth so Jeff will probably find out."
A Western Junior High School classmate named Jeff is the subject of many diary entries for the next four months.
"Dear Diary," Martha wrote in February. "Mei asked Jeff who he likes. He said that he is going out with someone at Eastern (Junior High School). She said if you weren't going out with her, who would you like? And he said that he would like someone who just went to Aspen . . . that's me! Alright!!"
She eventually won Jeff away from his girlfriend, only to break up with him after two months because he often wasn't nice to her.
"Yesterday I broke up with Jeff for over the summer, but I really think it's gonna be forever," Martha wrote after breaking off the relationship after school one day. When she saw Jeff at a concert that night, he told her he loved her. "Oh, well," she wrote. "What can I say?"
Martha was typically boy-crazy, and the boys, according to the diary, were Martha-crazy.
"I was waiting for the late bus and Danny and Bob and Joe threw my geometry book into the boys' locker room," one entry reads. "So I ended up in the boys' locker room. Then they were carrying me around the locker room. I got a full tour."
In many ways, she lived a teenager's dream.
She recounts a trip to a mall when she bought "a really cute red and white checked pants suit, some new bras, some (lip gloss) and a nighty and some candy for tomorrow's party at school."
She and her friends ate pizza at DaVinci's on Greenwich Avenue, shopped at Ann Taylor nearby, sunbathed at Greenwich Point, watched the Grammy Awards on television, smoked cigarettes and talked constantly of who's going out, who's breaking up, who could get together, who's cute, who's "weak" and who is "too faggy for words." They went to see the movies "Alice Doesn't Live Here Anymore" and "Blazing Saddles," listened to Elton John and saw the musical "Tommy" on Broadway, followed by a trip to Saks Fifth Avenue. She seemed to make new friends each week.
Many of them were boys who put their arms around her, tried to kiss her, teased her about who she liked, asked her to have dinner with them. If a boy asked her out and she didn't want to go, Martha told them no. If she liked a boy, she put the word out through her network of friends. That seemed to make her nervous, but she had enough confidence to overcome the risk of rejection.
In one entry, Martha complained that several girlfriends accused her of being a flirt.
She reported going to "first base" and "second base" with boys, and even "third base" two or three times, but never "all the way."
"I was sitting in this bean bag chair with Peter and he bit my nose so I bit him back," Martha wrote in one diary entry. "Then he bit off all of my finger nails and he bit my nose a few more times. Then we were just making out. We had such a good time."
She liked Peter a lot, according to the diary.
"He told me that he'd cry if I died," she wrote. "How sweet."
Martha was strong enough to stand up for herself, according to an entry that reports an unspecified disagreement with a teacher.
"I got really mad and yelled at Mr. Stein," she wrote. "I started crying (not out loud). But I really yelled at him."
The next day, Martha wrote, "Mr. Stein was super nice to me today. He's kissing up. Nobody (that I know of) has ever yelled at him in front of a class."
Many of her friends at school and in her Belle Haven neighborhood drank beer and alcohol, according to the diary.
"Dear Diary," Martha wrote one winter day. "I am writing sloppy because I am sorta drunk. I had 2-1/2 screwdrivers, 1-1/2 Baccardi and Cokes, and an aspirin. Then Alan came over for about 3-1/2 hours and I got really drunk. I dropped a butter dish, ate a Pop-Tart. We called Peter . . . I made an ass out of myself in front of Giff. Me and Christy took a walk without our coats. It's about 10 degrees outside. Alan sat on me for a long time."
One entry showed that Martha, too, was astounded by the affluence of her neighborhood.
"No school today," she wrote in the diary. "Alison and I walked down to the Belle Haven Club and just around Belle Haven. I have never seen some of the houses around here! AMAZING!"
In the summer of 1975, Martha and a girlfriend met a young man who worked at a luxury car dealership in Greenwich, Grand Prix Ltd. The young man took them for a ride in a Lamborghini one day, and a Ferrari another day, according to the diary.
"Boy, it was so neat," she wrote. "We have to go back for the Mazaratti."
That summer she went to Forest Hills in Queens, N.Y., to watch a U.S. Open tennis match. She got Jimmy Connors' autograph. She also "touched Rod Laver" and saw Bjorn Borg play.
After a doctor's visit just before her 15th birthday on Aug. 16, she wrote, "I weigh 115 and I am in perfect health!"
Three days after her birthday, she reported an early experience with marijuana and her first encounter with the Skakels. That day, friends threw her in the Skakels' pool.
On Sept. 1, her first day at Greenwich High School, Martha wrote that she went pool-hopping at night with some friends and Michael, Thomas and David Skakel. She and some friends went to the Skakel home again on Sept. 7, according to the diary. Five days later, she and friends went driving in Thomas Skakel's car.
During the murder trial Thursday, Martha's friend, Jackie Wetenhall, read passages from the diary that explained how, on that night in 1975, Martha reached over to steer the car and "was practically sitting on Tom's lap." Thomas Skakel "kept putting his hand on my knee," according to the diary.
Driving around that night, Michael Skakel bought her a double ice cream but she only wanted a single, Martha wrote, "so I threw the top scoop out the window." Thomas Skakel kept putting his arm around her and Michael Skakel was drunk, Martha wrote.
On Sept. 15, Martha and Jackie went to the Skakel home again and "as usual" sat in the family's mobile home parked in the driveway, according to the diary. She reported smoking marijuana several times in September.
On Sept. 17, Martha wrote that Michael Skakel "was so totally out of it that he was being a real (expletive)," and he accused her of leading on his brother, Thomas. Then the Skakel brothers started to fight and Martha told Jackie they should leave.
"I really have to stop going over there," Martha wrote about the Skakel house.
Still, she returned to the Skakel house on Sept. 21 and hung out with Thomas Skakel, who was drinking. For the remainder of the diary, Martha reports alcohol and marijuana use whenever she and her friends got together.
She saw the Skakel brothers at a dance on Oct. 4, and wrote that she ran into Michael on Oct. 10. Diary entries are unclear after that.
When Martha's body was found on Oct. 31, there was no indication of a sexual assault or alcohol consumption, the medical examiner has said.