By Thomas Mellana - Staff Writer
For the first time in the 24 years since her daughter was murdered, Martha Moxley's mother has said publicly who she thinks is the killer.
Anxiously awaiting the outcome of a grand jury that has been investigating the 1975 murder for the last 24 years, Dorthy Moxley says the killer is former Greenwich neighbor Michael Skakel.
She first made the accusation while appearing last week on the "Leeza" morning talk show. When asked what she would say to her daughter's killer if she could, Moxley said she would ask Michael Skakel to confess.
"I would tell Michael to turn himself in and confess," Moxley said. "Save your parents and me and my family from all that trauma."
Skakel is one of two men police still name as a suspect in the case. The other is his older brother Thomas.
Police say Michael and Thomas, then 15 and 17, respectively, were with 15-year-old Martha the night she was killed with a golf club matching a set owned by the Skakel family, who lived across the street from the Moxleys.
"I'm convinced he's the one who killed Martha," Dorthy Moxley said in a telephone interview last week. She was speaking about Michael.
Recent information that has come out of the investigation has focused on the younger Skakel brother. Prosecutors contend that while he was a patient at a drug and alcohol rehabilitation center in the late 1970s, he made incriminating statements about Martha's death.
Courts have ruled statements Michael Skakel may have made to staff or administrators at the Maine facility cannot be considered by the grand jury, but statements to fellow patients can be.
The one-judge grand jury is to finish its investigation next month. It will then have 60 days to issue its findings, which could be a recommendation that an arrest be made.
"We've had enough people implicate him for years now," Dorthy Moxley said, rattling off a list of evidence she said points to Michael.
She said speaking out now just seemed the right thing to do.
"I just decided I am positive Michael killed Martha, and there is nothing they can do to me," she said. "I am not a rich woman."
Michael Skakel's attorney, Michael Sherman of Stamford, said Dorthy Moxley's conclusions are wrong.
"Obviously I disagree with her," Sherman said. "But I am not going to in any way criticize her, because she's coming from a place none of us can truly appreciate."
Martha Moxley's body was found beneath a tree in the yard of her Belle Haven home on Oct. 31, 1975. No arrest has been made in the time since, but Dorthy Moxley has tirelessly courted media outlets to keep attention focused on the case, and petitioned law enforcement agencies to pick up the investigation, which had gone cold several times over.
"Dorthy Moxley is an incredibly courageous woman," said Sherman. "Her tenacity has kept this case alive, and I have nothing but admiration for her."
Dorthy Moxley said she knows a confession from Michael Skakel is unlikely, but that she will continue "beating the drum" until the murder is resolved.
"I want some justice for Martha," she said. "He has gotten away with it for 25 years. That's long enough."