"Skakel Cousin, Friend Testify Moxley Grand Jury Revisits Sispect's Alibi."

(Greenwich Time, Sept. 23, 1998)

By J.A. Johnson Jr.
Staff Writer


BRIDGEPORT - The Martha Moxley grand jury apparently continues to scrutinize one
of the murder suspect's alibis, as it heard testimony for the second day in a
row from a family member who placed the suspect miles from the crime scene when
interviewed by police 23 years ago.
Testifying in the closed proceedings at the Fairfield County Courthouse
yesterday was 48-year-old Georgeann Dowdle, a cousin of suspect Michael Skakel
who, days after Moxley's murder on Oct. 30, 1975, told Greenwich detectives that
Skakel, two of his brothers and her own brother had been at her Cliffdale Road
estate.
On Monday, the grand jury heard the testimony of Michael Skakel's brother, John,
now 39, who in 1975 also told police that on the night his 15-year-old neighbor
was murdered, he and brothers Michael and Rushton Skakel Jr. drove cousin James
Terrien from their house to the same Cliffdale Road home.
Georgeann and James are children of Georgeann Skakel Terrien, the sister of the
Skakel brothers' father, Rushton Skakel Sr. After her first husband, John
Dowdle, died in 1957, she married George Terrien, a close friend and former
roommate of the late Robert Kennedy, uncle of the Skakel brothers.
In the years following the Moxley murder, all of the Terrien children changed
their last name to Dowdle, except for Desneiges Terrien.
Rushton Skakel and George Terrien, along with Skakel friend and attorney Thomas
Sheridan, helped establish the private Whitby School, which is now on Lake
Avenue but initially held classes in the former stables of "Sursum Corda," as
the Terriens' backcountry estate on Cliffdale Road was known.
According to an edited version of a police report - obtained by Greenwich Time
under freedom of information laws - Georgeann Dowdle told detectives on Nov. 8,
1975, that "she observed her brother and the Skakel brothers - Rushton, John and
Michael - return to the house" the night Moxley was slain, but the time she
cited for their return was blacked out. "She further stated that her brother and
the Skakel brothers went to her brother's room," says the police report, on
which the time the Skakels left the Terrien house is also blacked out.
When questioned days earlier, on Nov. 2, 1975, a police report states, James
Terrien told detectives that just prior to being driven home the night of the
murder by John, Michael and Rushton Skakel Jr., he saw Martha Moxley in the
Skakel's Otter Rock Drive driveway, talking to his other cousin, Thomas Skakel.
James Terrien stuck to that story when reinterviewed on Nov. 8, 1975, police
reports state.
Desneiges Terrien, who also gave grand jury testimony Monday, told police in
1975 that she had gone to bed at about 10 the night of the murder, and although
she did not see her brother return home, she later heard him and the Skakel
brothers talking.
Thomas and Michael Skakel, who at the time of the murder were 17 and 15 years
old, respectively, were with the 15-year-old Moxley prior to her murder the
evening of Oct. 30, 1975, and police identified the murder weapon as a golf club
belonging to a set of clubs owned by the boys' family.
Attorneys for both brothers have maintained their clients' innocence. 
Greenwich police believe Moxley was killed between 9:50 and 10 p.m., based on
the fact that two neighborhood dogs began barking uncontrollably at that time.
In 1975, police said, Michael Skakel told detectives he had left Moxley with his
brother, Thomas, in their driveway at about 9:15 p.m. the day of the murder, and
returned from the Terrien house at 11 p.m. and went to sleep.
Also in 1975, Thomas Skakel told detectives he last saw Moxley at 9:30 the night
in question, when he left her to go inside his house to write a school report on
Abraham Lincoln, police said, an assignment which detectives later determined
had never been assigned.
But according to published reports, both Skakel brothers in recent years changed
stories concerning their whereabouts in 1975, with Thomas allegedly saying he
returned outside for a sexual encounter with Moxley at precisely the time police
said she was murdered, and Michael stating after returning from the Terriens he
went to Moxley's house at about 11:30 p.m. and, believing she was alive, threw
stones at her window to awaken her. 
The brothers gave their revised stories in 1993 to private detectives hired by
their family who wrote a report that later was leaked and is now in the
possession of the grand jury.
The grand jury on Monday also heard from a third sibling of the suspects, Steven
Skakel, who, according to a book about the Moxley case published this year,
allegedly acknowledged that one of his brothers was the murderer.
The only other person to testify yesterday was Elizabeth D'Agostino, identified
by court officials as a Skakel family friend. The officials said after the
dormant Moxley case was revived in 1991, investigators were contacted by someone
who allegedly had been told by D'Agostino that she overheard a conversation
among Skakel family members that could be pertinent to the murder investigation.
D'Agostino denied to investigators that she heard such a conversation, the court
officials said, and therefore was subpoenaed to tell what she knows, under oath,
to the grand jury.
Testimony is set to resume this morning.

Thanks to J.A. Johnson Jr. for the article.