Moxley hearings continue on 2 fronts without result
Connecticut Post/AP
DANIEL TEPFER, Staff writer
October 17, 1998

BRIDGEPORT - Despite several hours on the witness stand Friday the owner of a private school in Maine steadfastly refused to dislose anything a nephew of Ethel and Robert Kennedy may have told him about the murder of a Greenwich girl 23 years ago.

Citing confidentiality, Joseph Ricci, the owner of the Elan School, a school and drug-treatment center attended in 1978 by Michael Skakel, refused to give any information about Skakel at a hearing before Superior Court Judge Edward Stodolink.

Meanwhile, Skakel's father, Rushton Skakel Sr., fought efforts in a Florida court Friday to bring him to Connecticut to testify before a one-man grand jury investigating the death of Martha Moxley.

The elder Skakel, 74, of Hobe Sound, is the brother of Ethel Kennedy. He wore plaid pants, sneakers and a bright blue blazer and listened to a parade of witnesses portray him as a man prone to outrageous, unpredictable and sometimes unsavory behavior.

He refuses to shower or brush his teeth, wears diapers and rubber pants, drives into mailboxes, and sometimes steals food from strangers' plates at restaurants, said his wife of, 16 years, Anna Mae Skakel. His toenails are so long they've put holes in his shoes, she said as part of an effort to prove he is incompetent to testify in Connecticut.

Martin County Circuit Court Judge John Fennelly gave lawyers two weeks to submit their written arguments. He did not indicate when he would rule.

Fifteen-year-old Moxley was beaten to death with a golf club Oct. 30, 1975, on the grounds of her family's home in the exclusive gated community" of Belle Haven.

No one has" been charged in the slaying.

Investigators have said their suspects in the murder include Michael Skakel and his brother Thomas.

Both Michael, then 15, and Thomas, then 17, were among a group of friends who were with Moxley the night she was beaten to death. Her body was found the next day and the golf club was matched to a set owned by the Skakel family.

Both Michael and Thomas Skakel have repeatedly maintained their innocence.

According to court papers, prosecutors believe Ricci, the owner and executive director of the Elan school in Poland, Maine, overheard Michael Skakel admit to killing Moxley during a therapy session at the school. But when he was brought before the one-man grand jury, Superior Court Judge George Thim, he refused to testify about any conversations he might have had or overheard involving Michael Skakel.

Michael Skakel's attorney, Michael Sherman, is seeking to bar Ricci from testifying, claiming what Skakel said at the school is privileged because of confidentiality laws protecting communication between psychiatrists and their patients.

While Ricci refused to discuss the matter in the courtroom, he did tell reporters he never overheard any admissions by Skakel when the latter was a student at Elan. "No one's ever told me, nor have I ever overheard [any confession]," he said. . Ricci is to be back on the witness stand Monday morning.

The Associated Press contributed to this story.