Judge orders Joe Ricci to comply with grand jury subpoena
PORTLAND, Maine, Sept. 14 - Despite assertions that he has no information to offer, race track owner Joseph Ricci was ordered Monday to appear before a Connecticut grand jury investigating one of the countryís best-known murder mysteries. Investigators believe Ricci overheard a teen-age boy admit involvement in the 1975 slaying of Greenwich teenager Martha Moxley. At the time, the boy was a resident of the Elan School for troubled adolescents, which Ricci had co-founded. Ricci said Monday he had nothing to offer and vowed to resist the subpoena requiring him to testify September 22nd. I donít know anything about this case and Iím not going to go to Connecticut unless the Supreme Court of the state of Maine tells me to, Ricci said after a hearing in Cumberland County Superior Court.
Michael Skakel, the teen-ager who spent time at the Elan School, has maintained his innocence in the killing of 15-year-old Moxley. Skakel, who was 15 at the time of the killing, and his brother, Thomas, who was 17, have both been considered suspects, although neither has been charged.
The Skakels, a wealthy industrial family, lived near the Moxley family in a gated Belle Haven community in Greenwich at the time she was beaten and stabbed to death. Police have said the murder weapon, a golf club, came from the Skakel house. Skakelís father, Rushton, is the brother of Ethel Kennedy, U.S. Senator Robert Kennedyís widow.
Michael Skakel attended the Elan school from 1978 to 1980, according to court papers filed by Fairfield Stateís Attorney Jonathan Benedict. Benedict said in court documents that he has been informed by several former residents of Elan that Joseph Ricci was present and overheard Michael Skakel make admissions to the murder of Martha Moxley. Ricci said he doesnít want to testify in Connecticut because he never heard anyone admit to a killing. He also said confidentiality rules prohibit him from discussing the cases of people who stayed at Elan, which was licensed as a mental health facility. I would have remembered that, said Ricci, who called the subpoena a fishing expedition. Ricci said Skakel was treated by his partner at the school, who has since died. He said that his own recollection of Skakel has grown dim with the passage of time. He seemed like a very shy, introverted, troubled person; very confused, not very aggressive, Ricci said. I wouldnít know him if I bumped into him. Ricci, a two-time Democratic gubernatorial candidate, said he would appeal the order signed Monday by Justice Margaret Kravchuk to the Maine Supreme Judicial Court.
The Moxley murder has been the subject of at least two books, including one by former Los Angles Police Detective Mark Fuhrman. In June, shortly after the books were released, the 23-year-old case was revived with the appointment of the one-man grand jury.
(Associated Press Writer Tom Kirchofer contributed to this article.)