Moxley case testimony disputed

Thursday, November 05, 1998

By DANIEL TEPFER
Staff writer

BRIDGEPORT - A former student at a Maine school for troubled teen-agers testified Wednesday that its owner has known about a murder involving another former student since 1978.

State's attorneys investigating the case of Martha Moxley, a 15-year-old Greenwich resident who was killed in 1975, contend that the other student is Michael Skakel, the nephew of Ethel and Robert Kennedy.

Former student Chuck Seigan testified Wednesday that during a general meeting at the Elan School in 1978, Skakel was "held up to the gods of therapy," and owner Joseph Ricci said Skakel was at the school because he was involved in a murder.

The testimony contradicts Ricci's statement last month in Bridgeport Superior Court. Ricci said he never heard a confession from Michael Skakel about the Moxley murder.

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

Ricci "did bring out the fact that there had been a murder," Seigan said. However, Judge Edward Stodolink prevented Seigan from saying what Ricci or Skakel said about the murder.

The state is trying to force Ricci to testify before a grand jury investigating Moxley's murder.

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 in Greenwich.

No one has been charged.

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

In a court affidavit, State's Attorney Jonathan Benedict says that during the time Ricci was director of the Elan School, he "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."

Michael Skakel, then 15, and Thomas Skakel, then 17, were among a group of friends who were with Moxley the night she was killed. Her body was found the next day. The golf club used to kill her was later matched to a set owned by the Skakel family.

Both Michael and Thomas Skakel maintain 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. He claimed he has a privilege that protects the confidentiality of anyone who attended his school.

Testimony in the case is to continue this morning.

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