"Grand Jury Hears From Skakel's Boyhood Friend" Greenwich Time, Sept. 24, 1998 By J.A. Johnson Jr. Staff Writer BRIDGEPORT - A boyhood friend of murder suspect Michael Skakel yesterday testified before the grand jury investigating the 1975 slaying of Greenwich teenager Martha Moxley. Prior to entering the grand jury's sealed Fairfield County Courthouse courtroom, 37-year-old Andy Pugh said he had been subpoenaed after recently coming forward with information about his former best friend deemed relevant to the probe. According to Pugh, who in 1975 lived across the street from the Skakels on Otter Rock Drive, then-15-year-old Michael Skakel had been upset the day Moxley's body was found because he believed his older brother, Thomas, was being blamed for her murder, and that later the same day a man in a suit at the Skakel house prevented him from talking to his best friend. Pugh said that before he returned home from soccer practice the afternoon of Oct. 31, 1975, several hours after Moxley's stabbed and battered body was found, Michael Skakel had gone to his house and excitedly told Pugh's mother, "They're trying to pin it on Tommy." When he went to the Skakel house after soccer practice, as he did nearly every day, Pugh said a man in a suit he had never seen before told him, "Michael is indisposed," and, "You won't be able to talk to Michael for a while." Pugh's testimony could be significant because the events he cited occurred before police had identified possible murder suspects. Pugh was subpoenaed as a grand jury witness after he earlier this year contacted Stephen Carroll, who was the senior local investigator on the Moxley case before retiring as a Greenwich detective in 1978. According to Carroll, the appearance of the man in the suit at the Skakel residence came before any Greenwich detectives went there to question family members, which led him the believe the man was a lawyer. "It says to me (the Skakels) already contacted lawyers because there was a problem and the family needed to be protected by lawyers," Carroll said. According to police, then-17-year-old Thomas Skakel eventually became a suspect because he was the last person to be seen with Moxley before she was murdered, and the murder weapon was identified as a golf club coming from a set of clubs owned by the Skakels. Attorneys for Michael and Thomas Skakel have maintained their clients are innocent. Pugh said although he had been Michael Skakel's best friend, that friendship effectively ended with the Moxley murder. He said he met Michael at Christ Church years later, in the early 1990s, and that his former friend later telephoned him to talk about what happened the night Moxley was slain. Police said Skakel told detectives he had left Moxley at about 9:30 p.m., then went to his cousin's house in the backcountry and returned home at 11 p.m. That story apparently changed, however, when in 1993 Michael Skakel gave a different account to private detectives hired by his family in an attempt to clear the Skakel brothers as suspects. According to published reports, Michael told investigators with Sutton Associates from Long Island, N.Y., that after returning home from his cousin's house he climbed a tree and threw stones at what he believed to be Moxley's bedroom, trying to wake the girl up, and then masturbated in the tree. Pugh, now a bond trader living in Fairfield, yesterday related a similar story, stating that in one of his telephone calls in the early 1990s, Skakel told him he had climbed a different tree - the Ponderosa pine tree on the front lawn of the Moxley residence under which Moxley's body was found. Pugh said that during the summer that preceded the murder, he, Skakel and Moxley had become good friends, and that Skakel was "obsessed" with the 15-year-old girl. Pugh said Skakel's and Moxley's relationship had never been sexual, although he did see them kiss on several occasions. Pugh was among the many friends of Moxley and the Skakels who were questioned by police following the murder. When interviewed on Nov. 2, 1975, police reports state, Pugh told detectives that "he was out on the evening of Oct. 30, 1975, but he returned to his house at approximately 8 p.m. He stated he didn't see anything suspicious while he was out." Pugh said that even though he believed he had information detectives would be interested in, he did not come forward with it until after learning the Moxley grand jury had been convened in July. It was then that he called Carroll, the retired detective, who in turn related his conversation with Pugh to a state inspector working with the grand jury. Pugh was later interviewed by the inspector and subsequently subpoenaed. Also testifying before the grand jury yesterday were three unidentified women and two unidentified men. Testimony is expected to resume this morning.
Thanks to J.A. Johnson Jr. for the article.