Skakel: Wild, Horny And Frustrated
By Andy Thibault, CT Law Tribune

Michael Skakel, accused of bludgeoning pretty blonde neighbor Martha Moxley with the family 6-iron, could be a prosecutor's best friend.

In his own words, Skakel:

1. Is an entitled Kennedy scion, and was a party animal,
a drunk and a liar.

2.Was at the murder scene.

3. Lusted after Martha.

None of this is in dispute.

Did Michael really confess? Did his brother Tommy or someone else help move Martha's body around? Can prosecutors put together a puzzle of circumstantial and physical evidence beyond a reasonable doubt? Pending a ruling by Stamford Superior Court Judge Maureen Dennis, a jury will decide. Despite suffering a smashed skull with the golf club 25 years ago in the exclusive Belle Haven section of Greenwich, Martha Moxley might still have been breathing. The killer was stunned; he shattered the club. He proceeded to stab her in the neck - repeatedly -- with the jagged shaft of the Toney Penna 6-iron. Then he continued to drag 15-year-old Martha face-down to a safe hiding place. The killer knew his turf.

Michael and Tommy Skakel, nephews of Ethel Skakel Kennedy, were the party boys of Belle Haven 25 years ago. They liked "good pot" and booze, Monty Python and the family "Lust-Mobile," a Lincoln Continental. Michael told police that Tommy felt Martha's leg in that car a short time before she was murdered on Oct. 30, 1975. Some say Michael was jealous of Tommy's affection for Martha.

Martha, a transplanted California girl, was both pretty and popular. She was a skier and a tennis player. She just had her braces removed; her body was beginning to blossom. She had a steady boyfriend, too. "I wanted to kiss her. I wanted her to be my girlfriend," Michael Skakel says in his book proposal, Dead Man Talking: A Kennedy Cousin Comes Clean.

Michael initially told police he last saw Martha about 9:10 p.m. in the "Lust-Mobile." Then he went to a cousin's house to get high and watch TV, returning for bed around 11.

For many years, police believed the time of death was about 10 p.m. Tommy Skakel, also an admitted liar, initially said he last saw Martha about 9:30, then shortly before 10, supposedly after making out with Martha. Dogs in the neighborhood barked loudly about that time. Martha's autopsy indicates she died between 10 p.m. and 5 a.m.

Michael later changed his story to say he went back out sometime between 11 and midnight. He said he climbed a tree near Martha's bedroom, threw pebbles at her window and masturbated. "I couldn't settle down," he says in the book proposal. " I was keyed up, nervous and horny " Even his tree story doesn't add up. Police and others familiar with the Moxley and Skakel yards say the nearest climbable tree is about 160 feet away.

Walking home near Martha's body, Michael went on to say he heard some noises, threw a rock and then ran to his house.

Former Greenwich Police Chief Thomas Keegan testified June 20 in a probable cause hearing that the killer knew the Skakel name was on a missing piece of the 6-iron. He pointed to Michael as the killer. Michael's purported confession came in a long discussion with a fellow patient at a treatment center in Maine. They were on "Night-Owl" duty together, watching for escapees.

Michael's attorney, Mickey Sherman, is the "go-to guy" for Fairfield County defendants accused of killing ducks, spouses or love rivals. Sherman once convinced a jury that a man who confronted his girlfriend's cousin in the shower and stabbed him to death was acting in self defense. He's a familiar face on Court TV, well-liked by adversaries for his wit and charm. They also admire his track record. Prosecutors have said they would hire Sherman if accused of a serious crime.

Sherman calls the evidence against Michael Skakel "flimsy." Likewise, Tommy Skakel's lawyer, Emmanuel Margolis, says his client is innocent.

Can Mickey Sherman save Michael Skakel? A lot depends on which judge runs the impending trial, and what evidence is allowed into the record. But cops, initially pessimistic, now see the odds for a conviction improving with each passing day.

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