HARTFORD, Conn. (CBSNewYork/AP) — An attorney for the state of Connecticut is asking the state Supreme Court to reinstate a murder conviction against Kennedy cousin Michael Skakel that was overturned in 2013.
Skakel was seated in the gallery of the courtroom for Wednesday’s hearing, as was his cousin, Robert F. Kennedy Jr., as arguments were heard.
Skakel was released in 2013 after a lower court judge ruled the trial lawyer, Mickie Sherman, did not provide an adequate defense to the charge that Skakel fatally bludgeoned Martha Moxley with a golf club in 1975 when they were teenage neighbors. He was convicted in 2002, 27 years after the fact.
Skakel’s new attorney says the defendant’s own brother should have been offered as an alternative killer, CBS2’s Lou Young reported.
“The evidence that was before the … court leads to the inescapable conclusion that the probable killer was Tommy Skakel,” said the lawyer, Hubert Santos. “Now my client really doesn’t want me to say that — it’s his brother.”
Prosecutors scoffed at the idea that the $1.7 million in legal fees the Skakels spent was all wasted.
“This was far from a slip-shod defense,” said Susan Gill, assistant state’s attorney. “This was a well-planned, well-thought-out, professional defense.”
Skakel is the nephew of Robert F. Kennedy’s widow, Ethel. He maintains his innocence while the victim’s family has said they remain convinced he’s guilty.
“I am sure that Michael is the young man who swung the golf club,” said Dorthy Moxley, the victim’s mother. “There’s no doubt in my mind about that.”
The Supreme Court can void the lower court ruling and send Skakel back to prison or uphold it and allow him to remain free, at which point prosecutors must decide if they want to try him again, 41 years after the killing.
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