Former wife of Skakel tutor says she tried to get him to confess
By John Springer - Court TV
NORWALK, Conn. — The former wife of onetime suspect Kenneth Littleton took the stand at Michael Skakel's murder trial again Tuesday as the prosecution continued to try to prove that Littleton never confessed to killing Martha Moxley.
Secretly recorded conversations between Mary Baker and Kenneth Littleton that stemmed from a failed 1982 bid by investigators to get Littleton to implicate himself are being pointed to be the defense as evidence that Littleton confessed. Littleton insisted on the stand Monday and last week that he never confessed, never met Martha and that any statements that sound like an admission of guilt are being taken out of context.
In a nutshell, the prosecution, Littleton, and Baker maintain that anything he said to his former wife about the case was the result of Baker telling him that he had blacked out after drinking and admitted that he had to stab Martha through the neck because she would not die.
Martha was 15 when she was beaten to death in October 1975 by a golf club linked to the household of Rushton Skakel Sr. of Belle Haven, an exclusive section of Greenwich, Conn. Skakel's son, Thomas, and Littleton, the family's live-in tutor, were prime suspects before police finally arrested Michael Skakel in January 2000 based on incriminating statements he allegedly made while enrolled at a reform school in Maine three years after the killing.
Before prosecutors can begin presenting evidence about those statements, which Skakel denies making, Bridgeport State's Attorney Jonathan Benedict first must move past the Littleton issue. The prosecution has been bogged down with testimony and hearings about the fruits of Baker's cooperation with authorities in 1991 and 1992.
After the defense got Littleton to say Monday that he once told a prosecution psychiatrist that he told his ex-wife "I did it," Benedict was more or less forced to let the jury the whole sordid affair. At a pretrial hearing, Benedict said an effort by investigators to recruit Baker to get Littleton to implicate himself was "bizarre."
Baker testified Monday and again Tuesday that Littleton made no such statements and that details of the murder she discussed with him were supplied by Connecticut investigators who showed up unannounced at her home in Ottawa in 1991.
With prosecutor Christopher Morano playing the role of Littleton, Baker on Tuesday read from a 98-page transcript of a recorded conversation she had with her ex-husband in a Boston Howard Johnson's motel on Feb. 10, 1992. Police officers obtained a court order and were listening to the conversation in the next room.
In the transcript, Littleton is quoted as saying that he never confessed to anything and explained that anything Baker claims he told her could have been the product of "psychotic" episodes when he was drinking heavily when they were married in the mid-1980s.
Baker tried a dozen different ways to suggest to Littleton that they only way she and him could get work out their problems and possibly reunite would be for him to reveal the "big secret" she claimed he had alluded to during their marriage. Littleton responded that questioning under the so-called truth serum sodium pentothal could help bring out details or "a clue" to break the case but did not agree with Baker that he was keeping such a secret.
Littleton also told Baker during the recorded conversation that he wanted to write a book about the Moxley murder and get rich. "It has everything — sex, violence and a Kennedy connection," Littleton told her.
In an another development, a prosecution source told Courttv.com and other media outlets that prosecutors have decided not to call Michael Skakel's brother, Thomas, to the stand during the state's case. The testimony of Thomas Skakel, whom police wanted to charge with Martha's murder in 1976 but were thwarted by a prosecutor, would be "cumulative" because other witnesses have testified already that Thomas Skakel was the last person seen with Martha on the night of the killing.
If neither side calls Thomas Skakel to testify, some courtroom observers believe the defense could ask Judge John Kavanewsky to give jurors a "missing witness" instruction permitting them to draw the inference that he might have said something helpful to the defense.
After Baker's testimony concludes, the prosecution is expected to call expert witnesses in an effort to establish that there is no conclusive link between two hairs found at the crime scene and "microscopically similar" hair found in a hairbrush Littleton used during a visit to his ex-wife's home. Baker turned the hairbrush over to Connecticut investigators.
Noting that Littleton had never actually implicated himself and was not under arrest, defense lawyer Mickey Sherman asked Baker why she would go to extremes to help police if her stated goal was to exonerate Littleton.
"But you believed he was innocent. Why would you do [all] that?" Sherman asked Baker.
"I did it because I wanted Ken to be free of this ... I hoped desperately that he was not [the killer]," Baker testified.