School Owner: Never heard boy say he killed girl
BY DANIEL TEPFER, Staff writer

BRIDGEPORT - The area's top proslecutor is standing by his claim that the owner of a private school in Maine overheard a nephew of Ethel and Robert Kennedy admit to the murder of a Greenwich girl.

But Joseph Ricci, owner of the Elan School, testified Monday in Superior Court that he never heard such a confession from Michael Skakel.

"It would be an absolute lie," Ricci said when asked about the sate claims.

In an affidavit released in court Monday State's Attorney Jonathan Benedict states that during the time Ricci was director of the Elan School "the undersigned has been informed by several former residents of Elan that Joseph Ricci was present and overheard Michael Skakel make admissions as to the murder of Martha Moxley; that said admissions were made by Michael Skakel in response to being confronted by Mr. Ricci and other Elan staff members as to Skakel's involvement in the matter."

Benedict said he is standing by that statement, but wouldn't comment further. The state is trying to force Ricci to testify before a grand jury investigating the 1975 murder of Martha Moxley.

"The issue is what privilege, if any, exists and how far it extends," said Executive Assistant State's Attorney Domenick Galluzzo, who questioned Ricci on the stand Monday.

"The merits of the case are not even part of this."

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 Martha the night she was murdered. Her body was found the next day and the golf club used to kill her was later matched to a set owned by the Skakel family.

Both Michael and Thomas Skakel have repeatedly maintained their innocence.

In June, the state convened a one-man grand jury to investigate the case. Last month Ricci was called before the grand juror, Superior Court Judge George Thim, but refused to testify claiming he has a privilege that protects the confidentiality of anyone who attended his school.

During a hearing held last Friday and Monday the state attempted to convince Superior Court Judge Edward Stodolink to force Ricci to testify before the grand jury.

Inspector Frank Garr, of the state's attorney's office, testified Monday that on, March 5, 1978, Skakel was arrested and charged with driving while intoxicated after a car accident in New York state.

As a result of that arrest he was sent to the Elan School, which at that time was for teenagers with behavior problems and/or drug and alcohol abuse. Skakel left the school on May 23, 1980.

Ricci testified that when Skakel was, admitted to the school, Ricci's former partner, Dr. Gerald Davidson, a psychiatfist who has since died, told him he would be personally taking, Skakel's case.

"He told me the Skakels were relatives of the Kennedys and he was friends with the Kennedy family," he said. Ricci said Davidson showed him two letters written by Michael Skakel's lawyer at the time, Thomas Sheridan, emphasize, and that the case was to be kept confidential.

The hearing is to continue on Nov. 4.