Elder Skakel Won't Talk To Jury

ASSOCIATED PRESS (August 30, 1998)

STAMFORD -- The father of two suspects in the 1975 killing of Greenwich teenager Martha Moxley is refusing to return from Florida to testify before the one-man grand jury investigating her death. Rushton Skakel Sr., 74, the brother of Ethel Kennedy, U.S. Sen. Robert Kennedy's widow, said he has no plans to appear Sept. 21 before Superior Court Judge George Thim.

"My wife and I have totally negated that," Skakel told the Palm Beach Post on Friday. "I wasn't there personally. I was hunting when the [slaying] happened. I just wasn't there and was there after the fact."

Fairfield State's Attorney Jonathan Benedict has asked Florida Circuit Judge John Fennelly to order Skakel to testify, calling his testimony "material and necessary" to the investigation.

The Skakels, one of the wealthiest industrial families in America, lived near the Moxley family in Greenwich, Conn., at the time Martha Moxley was beaten and stabbed to death. Police have said the murder weapon, a golf club, came from the Skakel house.

The 23-year-old case was revived in June when the grand jury was appointed. That followed the release this spring of two books about the case, including one written by former Los Angeles homicide Detective Mark Fuhrman. Fuhrman, who testified in the O.J. Simpson trial, theorized that 15-year-old Michael Skakel killed Moxley in a jealous rage after seeing her kiss his 17-year-old brother Thomas.

The Skakels have consistently denied any involvement in the killing. "I just think it's too bad," Rushton Skakel said of the accusations against his sons. "It's really hurting them in a very bad way and we feel they had nothing to do with it."

Rushton Skakel was scheduled to appear Thursday for a hearing in a Florida courtroom, but prosecutors agreed to delay it until Sept. 8 at the request of Skakel's attorney, Richard Lubin of West Palm Beach.