Grand jury starts work in Moxley case

Testimony begins in 23-year-old murder

By Associated Press, 07/12/98

BRIDGEPORT, Conn. - Twenty-three years after the crime, a one-man grand jury has begun taking testimony in an effort to find out who killed Greenwich teenager Martha Moxley.

Family members of the victim and one of the first police officers to arrive at the crime scene were among the first to testify Friday in the closed-door proceedings before Superior Court Judge George Thim.

He was appointed last month to serve as the grand juror as authorities attempt to rejuvenate their long-stalled investigation into the killing, in which two nephews of Robert and Ethel Kennedy were identified as suspects. The girl was found beaten to death with a golf club on her family's estate.

On Friday, Moxley's mother, Dorthy, brother John Moxley, and retired Greenwich police officer Daniel Hickman were escorted into the heavily guarded courtroom. The Moxleys had no comment before entering the courthouse, but Hickman told the Greenwich Time that he expected he would be asked to describe the crime scene. He also said he planned to testify about seeing the golf club handle imbedded in the victim when he arrived. Authorities have maintained the handle, which may hold the killer's fingerprints, was never recovered.

Hickman said he didn't mention seeing the handle during the initial investigation because he blocked out some details on the day he found the girl's bludgeoned body. His memory returned, he said, after he was interviewed for a book on the Moxley case, written by former Los Angeles detective Mark Fuhrman.

''I'm very glad we're doing this, glad we are investigating this matter a little further. I hope something good comes out of this for the sake of the [Moxley] family and the community,'' said Hickman.

As the grand juror, Thim can subpoena witnesses to testify. Prosecutors in Connecticut do not have subpoena power and have complained that they have been hamstrung in the Moxley case because they have been unable to force witnesses and suspects to talk to them.

Grand jury hearings are held in secret, and witnesses are forbidden from discussing their testimony.

Such grand juries are rarely called in Connecticut. The Moxley case is only the eighth case sent to a grand jury since 1985.

Over the years, police have identified several suspects, including Thomas Skakel, who was 17 at the time of the killing, and his brother, Michael Skakel, then 15, both nephews of Ethel and Robert Kennedy. Their father is Rushton Skakel, Ethel Kennedy's brother. The Skakel family lived near the Moxleys in the exclusive gated community of Belle Haven.

The Skakels were among a group of friends with Martha the night she was killed, Oct. 30, 1975. The golf club used to kill her was traced to a set owned by the Skakel family.

The Skakels and Kenneth Littleton, a tutor who lived with the Skakels, have denied any involvement in the killing.

This story ran on page B03 of the Boston Globe on 07/12/98.
Copyright 1998 Globe Newspaper Company