"Moxley Probe Could End in '98"

Greenwich Time, Sept. 29. 1998

By J.A. Johnson Jr.
Staff Writer

BRIDGEPORT - Although the grand jury investigating the 1975 murder of Greenwich
teenager Martha Moxley is on a short break, officials said the probe is moving
along at a pace that could enable the completion of its work by the end of the
year.

Renewed testimony in the case will have to wait until next week, when a Superior
Court judge will be asked to compel testimony from a witness who may have heard
an admission to the Moxley murder.

On Thursday, Joseph Ricci, owner of a Maine school for troubled adolescents,
refused to discuss before the grand jury allegations that he overheard suspect
Michael Skakel admit to killing the 15-year-old Greenwich girl 23 years ago.
A hearing has been scheduled for Oct. 8, when Judge John Ronan will consider
arguments that the sought information is privileged because the alleged
admission of guilt was made during Skakel's 1978-80 stay at Ricci's Elan School,
a licensed mental health facility in Poland Springs, Maine. If Ronan rules
against Ricci's privilege claim, the judge will order him to testify before the
grand jury that is being headed by Superior Court Judge George N. Thim behind
closed doors in the Fairfield County Courthouse.

Officials said they are awaiting the outcome of Ronan's ruling before scheduling
additional testimony.

To date, the grand jury has heard testimony from about 35 witnesses since
starting up in July, and officials, who asked not to be named, estimate that
more than three-fourths of the witness list has been exhausted.
Only three people have ever been identified by authorities as suspects in the
Moxley case. One of them, Kenneth Littleton, a then-23-year-old live-in tutor
who moved into Skakel's house the night of the murder, was given immunity in
return for his testimony last month. The move left Michael Skakel and his older
brother, Thomas, as the only remaining suspects.

Michael and Thomas Skakel, who at the time were 15 and 17 years old,
respectively, had been with Moxley prior to her murder the evening of Oct. 30,
1975. Police identified the murder weapon as a golf club from a set of clubs
owned by the Skakel family, who lived across the street from the Moxley's in the
Belle Haven section of town.

Earlier this month, the grand jury questioned three siblings and two cousins of
the suspects, but was temporarily thwarted in its attempt to gain testimony from
the suspects' father, Rushton Skakel Sr. Attorneys for the elder Skakel, now
living in Florida, claimed their client was unable to comply with a subpoena to
testify due to health problems, and a Sept. 11 hearing to determine the
potential witness' competence was canceled at the last minute by Connecticut
authorities. The hearing is expected to be rescheduled for sometime in October.
Under Connecticut law, Thim has until December - six months after his June
appointment as a one-judge investigative grand jury for the Moxley matter - to
complete the murder probe, and another 60 days to prepare a report recommending
whether or not arrests should be made.

And although the state grand jury law would allow Thim a maximum of two six-
month extensions to investigate the Moxley murder - which could extend matters
through December 1999 - officials working with the grand jury expect the judge
will complete his work before the initial December 1998 deadline.
Working with Thim on the grand jury is State's Attorney Jonathan Benedict, whose
office would prosecute anyone arrested for Moxley's murder. Assisting Benedict
has been Executive Assistant State's Attorney Domenick Galluzzo, an aide to
Chief State's Attorney John Bailey who has previous grand jury experience. The
Moxley probe marks only the seventh time a state grand jury has been convened in
Connecticut since 1985.

While the grand jury is in recess, officials will be determining the
availability of remaining witnesses and are expected to issue a new round of
subpoenas by the end of this week.