Lawyer: Skakel Is Unfit To Testify
By KAREN TESTA, The Associated Press
WEST PALM BEACH, Fla. (AP) - Rushton Skakel barks and growls, steals food off
people's plates in restaurants and has been known to rub bellies and noses
with perfect strangers.
Still, prosecutors in Connecticut believe the 74-year-old brother-in-law of
the late Sen. Robert F. Kennedy may have some information about the 1975
slaying of a 15-year-old girl. Skakel's sons are suspects.
His attorney argued Wednesday that Skakel has brain damage and
Alzheimer's-like dementia, making him mentally unfit to be questioned. The
lawyer asked a state appeals court to throw out a judge's order compelling
Skakel to travel to Connecticut to testify.
``This man is totally out of control. He's in diapers and he can't carry on a
conversation with anyone,'' attorney Richard Lubin told the three-judge panel
of the 4th District Court of Appeal. ``He is entitled not to be dragged to
Connecticut when he's incompetent and incontinent.''
Skakel was not in court. The judges did not indicate when they would rule.
Skakel's sons, Michael and Thomas, have been identified as suspects in the
slaying of Martha Moxley, who was bludgeoned with a golf club on her family's
Greenwich, Conn., estate. Michael, who was 15 at the time, and Thomas, then
17, have denied any involvement.
The 6-iron used in the slaying was matched to a set of clubs owned by the
Skakel family, and the elder Skakel told authorities 20 years ago that the
club came from his house.
Prosecutors argued that Skakel may know more than he has said. A vague
affidavit by an investigator suggests Skakel might have overheard one of his
sons discussing the death.
He may not be as crazy as his attorney would like the court to think, said
James Carney, a Florida assistant attorney general. He pointed out that
Skakel sat calmly through a four-hour hearing on his mental competency last
However, Lubin noted Skakel did give a jovial belly-bump to a bailiff during
a break in the proceedings.
The investigation into Martha's slaying was revived a year ago when a one-man
grand jury was appointed and two books were published, including one by
former Los Angeles Detective Mark Fuhrman. The grand jury investigation is
still going on.
Copyright 1999 The Associated Press.