Former Skakel tutor testifies he offered
to take a truth serum
By John Springer - Court TV (3PM ET)
NORWALK, Conn. — A former Skakel family tutor, considered a prime suspect in the early 1990s in the slaying of Martha Moxley, once told police he was a Kennedy and offered to take a truth serum if the father of the victim would pay for it.
Kenneth Littleton also testified Monday that he told a judge during a 1998 grand jury inquiry that he believed he had once been injected with cocaine by someone and had the "paranoid suspicion" that the "Skakels/Kennedys" were trying to kill him by "blowing out his heart."
The testimony came as part of an attempt by the defense to pin the killing on Littleton, who was a newly-hired, live-in tutor for the Skakels when Martha Moxley was murdered on Oct. 30, 1975. Michael Skakel, now 41, is on trial for the murder of his childhood neighbor when both were 15 years old.
Judge John Kavanewsky Jr. has yet to rule on whether the defense can ask Littleton about conversations he had with his ex-wife, in which he allegedly conceded he may have confessed to the crime during a drunken blackout. Littleton has since testified he had nothing to do with the slaying, and was granted immunity from prosecution years ago.
On cross-examination Monday, Littleton, 49, also testified that it was his idea to take Michael Skakel and three other family members to the Skakels' ski lodge in upstate New York the day after Martha's body was discovered under a large pine tree on her parents' estate in the Belle Haven section of Greenwich.
His answer contradicted his testimony from last week, when he said it was a lawyer's idea to take the children away, but conceded that it was his idea when confronted with a videotape statement he gave to a prosecution psychiatrist in December 1992.
"I think I came up with the original idea, to be perfectly honest with you, I remember thinking, 'What is going to be the best thing for the kids in this situation?'" Littleton told the psychiatrist, according to the videotape played in court Monday outside the presence of the jury.
The testimony is important for the defense because jurors may have been left with the impression by Littleton's earlier testimony that the defendant, two brothers and a cousin were spirited away to keep them from talking to police. Littleton also said that he did not think it was unusual that no one discussed the murder on that trip because Rushton Skakel's children often did not open around him.
Littleton also testified that he told police in Florida in the early 1980s that his name was "Kenny Kennedy." The jury did not hear the defense's claim that the incident happened while Littleton was drunk and that he climbed a tall structure and recited parts of President John F. Kennedy's famous "Ich ben ein Berliner" speech in Germany. The defense said its investigation showed that Littleton told police he was "the black sheep" of the Kennedy clan.
He also testified that:
- Michael Skakel and three other siblings each ordered one Heineken, despite being underage, at a dinner at the Belle Haven Club on the night of Martha's murder that lasted until about 8:30 p.m. The defense has not drawn the connection for jurors yet but may laying the foundation that Skakel had no time before the murder to get so intoxicated that he would have blacked out — which is what later prosecution witnesses are expected to testify Skakel told them in 1978 or 1979.
- He once contacted Martha's father, who died of a heart attack in 1988 that his widow believes was brought in part by the murder, and offered to take a so-called truth serum. "When I called Mr. Moxley, I didn't have any faith in the Connecticut authorities," said Littleton, who has immunity from prosecution. "I wanted to see if there was anything that possibly remained in my mind, in my subconscious, that could bring a break in the case."
- Littleton also testified that he told David Moxley in the same conversation that he and the Moxleys had a "mutual tragedy."
"My life went down the tubes after my arrest on Nantucket the following summer," Littleton testified. "I was being continually pursued by the Connecticut authorities and cooperated with them, but my life was such a mess. The tragedy to the Moxley family is quite obvious ... It was a tragedy for me, too."
Jurors were excused from the courtroom five times while the lawyers argued about what defense attorney Mickey Sherman can properly ask Littleton. He is an important witness for the state because he testified that Michael Thomas Skakel was with Littleton watching TV about the time many believe that Martha Moxley was being attacked, giving Michael Skakel's older brother an alibi. Littleton is also an important witness for the defense, which is seeking permission to mount a defense that points an accusing finger at the former tutor.
Both Thomas Skakel and Littleton were prime suspects long before police began focusing their attention on Michael Skakel and statements he allegedly made to fellow residents of a Maine reform school in which, the prosecution claims, he implicated himself. Martha, who was friendly with both Thomas and Michael Skakel, was killed with a golf club linked to a set once used by their mother.
Kavanewsky permitted the defense to ask Littleton about his past cocaine use, his use of the name "Kenny Kennedy" and his grand jury testimony in which he expressed fear that Skakels/Kennedys were trying to kill him. The judge has yet to rule, however, whether jurors may hear statements Littleton made to a defense psychiatrist indicating that he had confessed to killing Martha to his ex-wife.
His ex-wife, Mary Baker of Ottawa, testified outside the jury's presence Friday that two prosecution investigators recruited her to tell Littleton that he had made such statements in alcohol-induced blackouts. One of the investigators, now retired, has insisted that Baker told him that Littleton had implicated himself in the past and that he was trying to corroborate those statements when police monitored a conversation between Littleton and Baker in a Boston hotel room in 1992.
Another investigator, Frank Garr, testified that Baker never told authorities that Littleton confessed but wanted to assist the investigation in order to exonerate Littleton, if possible.