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Michael C. SKAKEL





Classification: Homicide
Characteristics: Juvenile (15) - Skakel is the nephew of Ethel Skakel Kennedy, the widow of Senator Robert F. Kennedy
Number of victims: 1
Date of murder: October 30, 1975
Date of arrest: January 19, 2000 (25 years later)
Date of birth: September 19, 1960
Victim profile: Martha Elizabeth Moxley, 15 (his neighbor)
Method of murder: Bludgeoned with a golf club, a 6-iron
Location: Greenwich, Connecticutt, USA
Status: Sentenced to 20 years to life in prison on July 19, 2002

The Moxley Murder Case Timeline

  • October 30, 1975:

    • Martha and some friends went out for an evening of "mischief night" pranks before stopping at the home of Tommy and Michael Skakel. Martha was due home around 10:00 PM; She never comes home.


    • Martha's family, neighbors, friends and the Greenwich Police begin searching for Martha around midnight. Dorthy Moxley waits up all night for Martha to return home.


  • October 31, 1975: The search continues throughout the night. Greenwich Police begin considering Martha's disappearance as a possible run-away.

    • 4:00 AM: Greenwich Police search Belle Haven.

    • 6:00 AM: John Moxley returns home from his search.

    • 10:00 AM: Dorthy Moxley went to the Skakel home looking for Martha and speaks to Michael.

    • 12:15 PM: While walking through the Moxley's backyard, 15-year-old Sheila McGuire finds Martha dead under a pine tree. The murder weapon was a golf club, which was later matched to a set owned by the Skakel family.

    • 12:30 PM: Police arrive at the crime scene.

    • 4:00 PM: GPD requests the Connecticut State Police Mobile Crime Scene Lab.

    • 4:30 PM: C.S.P. Crime Scene Lab arrives.

    • 5:30 PM: Martha's body is moved to Greenwich Hospital.

    • 5:40 PM: Tommy Skakel is taken to the Greenwich station for questioning; he returns home at 10:30 PM.


  • November 1, 1975: Dr. Elliot Gross conducts an autopsy concluding that Martha was killed with a golf club.


  • November 2, 1975: Greenwich detectives remove a set of golf clubs matching the murder weapon from the Skakel home. Greenwich Police put out a nationwide APB for a missing portion of the golf club.


  • November 3, 1975: Tommy Skakel is given a polygraph test. The results were inconclusive.


  • November 4, 1975: More than 500 people attend Martha's funeral in Greenwich surrounded by onlookers and the media.


  • November 9, 1975: Tommy Skakel is given a 2nd polygraph test and reportedly passes.


  • November 10, 1975: Greenwich Police conduct an extensive background check on Ken Littleton.


  • November 15, 1975: Detectives re-interview the Skakel's, Andrea Shakespeare, Jim Terrien and Helen Ix.


  • November 21, 1975: Ed Hammond is given a polygraph test and passes.


  • November 24, 1975: Greenwich Police ask a New York City Area Dry Cleaners Association to report any blood stained clothing.


  • December 2, 1975: Greenwich Police ask all Fairfield County Dry Cleaners to report any blood stained clothing received since the crime.


  • December 2, 1975: John Moxley is given a polygraph test and passes.


  • December 9, 1975: John Skakel is given a polygraph test and passes.


  • December 11, 1975: Greenwich Police search the Skakel's Windham, NY residence with Rushton Skakel's Permission.


  • December 12, 1975: Greenwich Police receive the autopsy report from Dr. Gross.


  • December 13, 1975: Detectives re-interview Tommy Skakel and take hair samples.


  • December 17, 1975: Dorthy Moxley is given a polygraph test. The results are inconclusive.


  • January 16, 1976: Detectives receive written permission from Rushton Skakel to obtain Tommy's school, medical and psychological records.


  • January 20, 1976: Greenwich Police are contacted by Chris Roosevelt of the Whitby School. He tells them that he will NOT release Tommy's school records without first speaking to the Skakel's. He also states that if Tommy was arrested, he would be defended by a battery of lawyers who would claim the boy was "temporarily insane".


  • January 22, 1976: Rushton Skakel formally WITHDRAWS permission to release Tommy's school records. Later that day Rushton collapses with chest pains and is rushed to Greenwich Hospital where he informs detectives that he has retained Manny Margolis as Tommy's criminal attorney.


  • January 25, 1976: David Moxley sets up a meeting between Police and his friend John McCreight a consultant who wants Greenwich Police to bring in outside help.


  • January 28, 1976: Detectives request to permission re-interview Ed Hammond.


  • January 30, 1976: Attorney Manny Margolis advises Police that he has advised the Skakel's NOT to talk with police.


  • February 4-7, 1976: Detectives go to Detroit, MI to get advice from Detroit Police on the case.


  • February 9, 1976: Detectives go to Brunswick School to try and get a written statement from Ken Littleton - Littleton is unavailable.


  • February 18, 1976: Detectives meet with Skakel family advisors Fr. Tommy Guinan and Fr. Mark Connolly concerning medical and psychological tests they would like perform.


  • February 25, 1976: Detectives meet with Rushton Skakel, Fr. Mark Connolly and Attorney Manny Margolis concerning medical and psychological tests they would like perform.


  • March 3, 1976: Attorney Manny Margolis informs detectives that his client will NOT COMPLY and be tested.


  • March 5, 1976: Ed Hammond and his mother are re-interviewed.


  • March 15, 1976: Tommy Skakel is given a psychological exam in NYC under a false name.


  • March 16, 1976: Greenwich Police consult with Nassau County Police on the case.


  • March 25, 1976: Donald Browne holds a press conference and states they are frustrated by an unnamed family's lack of cooperation. He does not identify the family.


  • March 28, 1976: Rushton Skakel tells the Moxley's that Tommy has passed a psychological exam but refuses to give the results to police on advice of council.


  • March 31, 1976: Two Detroit detectives arrive in Greenwich to assist with the investigation.


  • April 2, 1976: Detroit detectives interview Robert and Mildred Ix.


  • April 5, 1976: Greenwich Police attempt to re-interview Ken Littleton - he declines.


  • April 7, 1976: Ken Littleton refuses to talk to detectives and refuses to sign a statement about Tommy Skakel.


  • April 13, 1976: Ken Littleton retains Attorney John Meerbergen and notifies police.


  • April 15, 1976: Police talk to witnesses regarding the barking dog the night of the murder.


  • April 16, 1976: Police check with Animal Control looking for "barking dog complaints" the night of the murder.


  • April 22, 1976: Detectives re-interview Ken Littleton with his lawyer present.


  • April 30, 1976: Tommy Skakel admitted to Greenwich Hospital.


  • May 11, 1976: Skakel's receive a full psychological report on Tommy Skakel from Dr. Lesse.


  • September 2, 1976: The Moxley's attorney informs police that the Skakel's have agreed to have Dr. Lesse speak to a doctor for the Moxley's.


  • October 18, 1976: Ken Littleton fails a polygraph test.


  • October 19, 1976: Ken Littleton tells police that his attorney has advised him not to submit himself for tests.


  • October 21, 1976: Detectives meet with attorney Margolis and tell him they would like to re-interview the Skakel's regarding Ken Littleton. Margolis is given a list of questions.


  • October 30, 1976: Detectives do an overnight stakeout of the murder scene.


  • November 9, 1976: Attorney Margolis contacts police with a list of answers regarding Ken Littleton.


  • November 12, 1976: Police do a background check on Ken Littleton.


  • March 3, 1977: The Moxley's attorney tells police that they have arranged a doctor to review Tommy Skakel's file.


  • May 1977: Ken Littleton is given 5-7 years suspended sentence for burglary charges in Nantucket, Mass. Littleton refuses to submit to a sodium amytal interview in return for reduced charges.


  • October 30, 1977: Detectives again do an overnight stakeout of the murder scene.


  • December 12, 1977: Detectives travel to Vermont where Tommy Skakel is attending school to obtain information.


  • December 14, 1977: Detectives travel to Boston to speak with Ken Littleton's Probation Officer.


  • March 5, 1978: Michael Skakel is arrested in Windham, NY on charges of unlicensed operation of a motor vehicle, speeding, failure to comply with an officer and DWI.


  • June 1978: Tommy Skakel is expelled from college for academic reasons.


  • October 17, 1978: Governor Ella Grasso authorizes a $20,000 reward.


  • October 28, 1978: Greenwich Police meet with a psychic who contacted them regarding dreams.


  • October 30, 1978: Detectives again do an overnight stakeout of the murder scene.


  • Mid-November 1978: Michael Skakel escapes from the Elan School and is returned a few days later.


  • November 29, 1978: Michael Skakel escapes from the Elan School again.


  • December 12, 1978: Michael Skakel escapes from the Elan School again.


  • October 30, 1979: Detectives again do an overnight stakeout of the murder scene.


  • October 30, 1980: Detectives again do an overnight stakeout of the murder scene.


  • July 31, 1981: Police contact a second psychic about the case.


  • September 27, 1981: Police meet with the second psychic about the case.


  • October 30, 1981: Detectives again do an overnight stakeout of the murder scene.


  • July 13, 1982: Greenwich Time newspaper requests to see the investigation reports.


  • July 20, 1982: Police DENY the request.


  • August 6, 1982: Greenwich Time newspaper "formally" requests to see the investigation reports under the "Freedom Of Information Act".


  • October 4, 1982: Police request to see and edit Len Levitt's Greenwich Time article before publication. Their request is denied.


  • October 30, 1982: Detectives again do an overnight stakeout of the murder scene.


  • December 9, 1982: An FOI hearing is conducted regarding the police reports.


  • January 5, 1983: Detectives talk to Ken Littleton who states he has been talking to reporter Len Levitt. He also states that he is now willing to undergo tests to prove his innocence.


  • May 11, 1983: FOI Committee decides that police must hand over selected parts of the police report.


  • Summer 1983: Len Levitt's article is written on the case - Greenwich Time and Stamford Advocate REFUSES to publish it (so it sits on the self).


  • In 1988: Martha's father, David Moxley, dies unexpectedly in New York City. Mr. Moxley is buried in Greenwich next to Martha.


  • April 30, 1991: Greenwich police and the State of Connecticut announce that they are reinvestigating evidence in the case.


  • June 2, 1991: Len Levitt's article is published in the Greenwich Time under the headline "Moxley Murder Case Still Haunts Greenwich".


  • August 9, 1991: The Moxley family increases the reward to $50,000. They also set up a toll-free telephone number to assist in an announced reinvestigation by the State Attorney's office by Frank Garr and Jack Solomon.


  • SOMETIME IN 1991: The Skakel's hire Sutton Associates to investigate the murder.


  • 1993: The book "A Season in Purgatory," by Dominick Dunne, is published.


  • October 1993: Dr. Henry Lee submits his findings to the Greenwich Police, the report is 6 inches thick.


  • January 5, 1994: At a press conference, Jack Solomon admits that there is nothing new in the investigation at this point - he also blames the Skakel family for not cooperating.


  • September 30, 1994: Frank Garr retires from the Greenwich Police to work as an investigator for the State Attorney's Office. He is assigned full time on the Moxley Case.


  • November 26, 1995: Len Levitt writes an article for "Newsday Magazine" in which he states that Tommy Skakel has changed his story about what he was doing the night of the murder.


  • June 19, 1996: The Moxley's double the reward money to $100,000.


  • October 1996: Evidence is taken to Washington D.C. to the Defense Department for DNA testing.


  • June 1998: Superior Court Judge George Thim starts an 18-month, one man grand jury review of information gathered by Frank Garr and the State Attorney's office.


  • Spring - Summer 1998: The books "Greentown" by Timothy Dumas and "Murder in Greenwich," by former Los Angeles Police Detective Mark Fuhrman, are published.


  • September 1998: goes online.


  • November 1998: The grand jury interviewed more than 30 witnesses in connection the case. Some reportedly are former residents and staff of the Elan School in Poland Springs, Maine. At the same time counsel for Michael Skakel, headed by Stamford based defense attorney Michael Sherman, has made a motion to suppress all testimony from staff and residents of the Elan School citing "doctor - patient confidentiality".


  • December 10, 1998: In his ruling, Superior Court Judge Edward Stodolink stated that the owner of the center, where the state alleges former Greenwich resident Michael Skakel may have made admissions as to the murder, must give grand jury testimony.


  • March 11, 1999: Suffolk County (New York) Judge Michael Mullen ruled that private investigator, Willis Krebs must appear before the grand jury in Bridgeport.


  • March 24, 1999: When Krebs appeared before the grand jury, Willis Krebs refused to divulge those names on the basis that it was confidential information, but was later ordered to do so.


  • July 28, 1999: A Florida appeals court ruled that Rushton Skakel, the father of Michael and Tommy Skakel, was ordered to testify before the Connecticut grand jury investigating the Moxley Case.


  • August 5, 1999: The state Appellate Court has reversed a state Superior Court judge's order that a drug and alcohol rehabilitation center's owner must testify what he knows about admissions a suspect allegedly made concerning the Martha Moxley murder. It remains unclear, however, whether the Appellate Court decision would affect testimony the grand jury has already heard from others who attended the rehab center with Skakel.


  • September 9, 1999: Rushton Skakel Sr. spends over an hour answering a grand jury's questions about what he might know concerning his sons' possible involvement in the 1975 murder. In addition the grand jury is still looking for testimony from James (Dowdle) Terrin, cousin of Michael and Tommy Skakel, who was with the Skakel brothers the night of the murder.


  • December 10, 1999: The Grand Jury officially ended its investigation. By law, Judge Thim had a maximum of three, six-month terms to complete his investigation. His final term ended on Friday December 10. Judge Thim had 60 days to say whether he believes there is enough evidence to make an arrest. The prosecutors office is not bound by his decision. Even if Judge Thim finds probable cause for an arrest, prosecutors may decide there is not enough evidence for them to win a conviction.


  • January 19, 2000: 9:00 AM: At a news conference which was held in Bridgeport, Connecticut, prosecutors announced that an arrest warrant had been issued for an unnamed juvenile. Attorney Mickey Sherman told reporters that his client, Michael Skakel, was on his way to Connecticut to surrender to authorities. 3:00 PM: Greenwich, CT, Michael Skakel surrendered to Greenwich Police. Skakel was charged as a juvenile. The Skakel family posts $500,000 bail and he is released.


  • February 8, 2000: At what could only be described as a 'media circus', Michael Skakel was scheduled to appear in Stamford Juvenile Court for arraignment. But, Juvenile Court Judge Maureen Dennis decided to postpone his arraignment on murder charges until March 14, reportedly so she can look into whether to open the proceedings to the news media.


  • March 10, 2000: Judge Maureen Dennis rules on a request from five newspapers and The Associated Press which had asked to open the juvenile proceeding to the public. The judge agreed to allow press coverage and moved the arraignment to Stamford Superior Court, Tuesday March 14th.


  • March 14, 2000: In a four-minute court appearance, Skakel heard the charges against him read aloud and was advised of his Constitutional rights. Because this is a juvenile case, Michael Skakel was entitled to a "reasonable cause" hearing, which was held on June 20, 21 and 28, 2000. When leaving court, Michael Skakel approached Dorthy and John Moxley and said "I feel your pain," Skakel followed with "but you've got the wrong guy." John Moxley said he told Skakel, "We'll find out in court."


  • June 20, 21 and 28, 2000: Michael Skakel appeared for a "Probable Cause Hearing". Skakel was flanked by his brother, sister and cousins Robert F. Kennedy Jr. and Douglas Kennedy. Witnesses appeared for both the prosecution and defense on whether Skakel actually admitted to the murder while attending the Elan School in Poland Springs, Maine.


  • August 17, 2000: Judge decides Skakel will stand trial. Stating evidence from a probable cause hearing showed "well beyond mere suspicion" that Michael Skakel could have caused the death of Martha Moxley.


  • October 5, 2000: The Juvenile report from a court-ordered background investigation was been delivered to the presiding judge.


  • January 31, 2001: Kennedy nephew Michael Skakel will be tried as an adult in the 1975 murder of Greenwich teen-ager Martha Moxley, a judge ruled Wednesday.


  • February 11, 2001: The prosecution filed a motion to have the case of Martha Moxley murder defendant Michael Skakel moved to Bridgeport from Superior Court in Stamford, which a judge only last week designated as the trial site.


  • February 14, 2001: Michael Skakel appeals judge's decision to try Skakel as an adult.


  • February 21, 2001: Michael Skakel is charged as an adult.


  • November 2001: The CT State Supreme Court said it would not hear Skakel's appeal of the decision to transfer his case to adult court, saying it was too early in the legal process to consider that issue. Appeals are not normally granted until verdicts are reached.


  • December 11, 2001: Connecticut State Superior Court Judge John Kavanewsky denied a long-standing motion to dismiss the charges against Michael Skakel.


  • May 4, 2002: Trial took place in Connecticut State Superior Court in Norwalk with Judge John Kavanewsky presiding.


  • June 7, 2002: With the family and friends in the courtroom the 12 person jury found Michael Skakel "Guilty as Charged of Murder in the 1st Degree"



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