Date set for Skakel trial
By Lindsay Faber - Greenwich Time

NORWALK -- Jury selection is scheduled to begin April 2 for the trial of Michael Skakel, who is accused of murdering teenage neighbor Martha Moxley in 1975.

The trial is scheduled to begin May 7, but that date may change depending on how long jury selection takes.

Teams from the prosecution and the defense met for a private conference with Superior Court Judge John Kavanewsky Jr. yesterday in Norwalk Superior Court to square away the details, and both sides said they agreed on the dates. It is not known yet where the trial will be held, though it will remain within the Stamford-Norwalk judicial district at either the existing Stamford courthouse, the new Stamford courthouse slated to open this spring, or the Norwalk courthouse.

"We're ready any time," said State's Attorney Jonathan Benedict, who will prosecute the case. "We're certainly eager to start on April 2."

Dorthy Moxley, Martha's mother, said she was pleased the case is moving forward, but slightly disappointed it would not be tried sooner.

"I'm pleased we're going to court. I wish we were going a little sooner, but it's fine," she said. "It'll be the spring and it'll be nice to travel."

Defense attorney Michael Sherman said he had spoken with Skakel on the phone to inform him of the dates.

"He's very happy this case is finally going to trial," Sherman said of his client, who was not present for yesterday's meeting.

Skakel, 41, a nephew of the late U.S. Sen. Robert F. Kennedy, is charged with the 1975 murder of Moxley, who was bludgeoned to death with a golf club. Her body was found on her family's Belle Haven lawn on Oct. 31 of that year. Both she and Skakel were 15 at the time.

No one was charged in the murder for more than 24 years, until Skakel was arrested in January 2000. His lawyer tried to keep the case in juvenile court by appealing a judge's decision to transfer it to adult court, and he also filed a motion to dismiss the case altogether, arguing there was a five-year statute of limitations in effect at the time of the murder.

But in late November, the state Supreme Court dismissed the motion to return the case to juvenile court, saying it was too early in the legal process to hear an appeal. Last week, Kavanewsky denied the long-standing motion to dismiss the charges against Skakel.

Sherman said he does not plan to appeal that ruling.

"Both sides are eager to get this going," he said, adding that jury selection is likely to be a time-consuming process. "Time is on no one's side here."

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