Childhood friend keeps Martha Moxley's
memory alive on the Web
Net Life/by Stephanie Schorow
Boston Herald - Tuesday, June 27, 2000
Like many of Martha Moxley's childhood buddies, Tom Alessi fervently hopes that whoever killed the 15-year-old Greenwich, Conn., girl will face justice someday.
Until then - and even for long afterward - Alessi will keep alive the memory of the bright, blond teen known for her friendly spirit.
Alessi is Webmaster of MarthaMoxley.com, a Web site devoted to his friend's life and unsolved murder.
``There were years that nobody talked about (the case),'' said Alessi, 40, who attended junior high school with Martha. ``I thought it was a lost cause until the Internet came along.''
In October 1975, Moxley's battered body was found near her home in an exclusive area of Greenwich. For 25 years, suspicion has surrounded two of Ethel Kennedy's nephews, Tom and Michael Skakel, who lived nearby.
In March, Michael Skakel was arraigned in a Connecticut juvenile court on charges that he killed Moxley; this week, a hearing continues over whether Skakel (who was 15 in 1975) should be tried as an adult.
What is striking about MarthaMoxley.com is its straightforward (if not entirely dispassionate) recounting of the case, including a timeline, news archives and murder scene maps. There is also information on the Skakel and Kennedy families, the grand jury's investigation and a (somewhat bizarre) book proposal reportedly put forth by Michael Skakel entitled: ``Dead Man Talking: A Kennedy Cousin Comes Clean.''
More affecting, however, is the section where Martha's friends have posted memories of her and a guestbook in which hundreds of people have recorded impressions of the site or the murder.
No advertising is accepted.
Alessi, a facilities administrator for Stamford's 911-emergency system, and the married father of an 8-year-old, seems to have no other agenda than ensuring that the victim won't be overlooked amid the hype of yet another celebrity trial. He acknowledges he has been accused of Kennedy bashing, but the information provided on the Web site is fairly neutral - even if many guestbook comments are not.
``I don't want to come across as judgmental or pointing the finger, because I don't know (who killed Moxley),'' Alessi said.
Of course, he suspects. And he may have played a bit role in the investigation. Friends of Moxley have contacted him through the site, as well as former residents of Elan School in Maine (a drug rehabilitation center where, prosecutors contend, Michael Skakel spoke of the murder), and Alessi has passed along the e-mails to authorities.
But if a court declares Skakel not guilty, ``Not guilty will be the headline on the Web site,'' Alessi said.
Alessi also runs 27 other Web sites, many on unsolved crimes, including others that occurred in Greenwich. He launched MarthaMoxley.com two years ago after he came across a ``Who Murdered Martha Moxley'' Web site created by an Austrian graduate student. Through e-mail with the student, Alessi arranged to take over the site, but only after checking with Martha's mother, Dorothy, about registering the Moxley name.
Although the Internet is awash with unsolved-crime sites stuffed with rumors, speculation and innuendo, Alessi believes they often encourage folks to come forward with real information.
On a personal level, the Web site has reconnected Alessi with old friends, many of whom he had not seen for 20 years, who all wanted the world to know Martha Moxley as they had known her.
The murder has ``always nagged at the community. With all the other unsolved murders in Greenwich, it's given the town a black eye and deservedly so,'' Alessi said.
The Internet can't solve crimes, but, maybe, it might serve justice.