Tags: Skakel's | Defense | Rests

Skakel's Defense Rests

Tuesday, 28 May 2002 12:00 AM

The prosecution was expected to call several rebuttal witnesses today, with closing arguments likely before week's end.

Defense attorney Michael Sherman called a medical expert as his final witness to help establish the approximate time Moxley died the night of Oct. 30, 1975, a critical element to Skakel's alibi.

Based on a number of factors, Houston Dr. Joseph Jachimczyk said he estimated death most likely occurred about 10 p.m., although he agreed it could have been an hour or so either way.

Skakel, 61, nephew of Ethel Kennedy, claims he was at a cousin's house about that time and not in his own Greenwich, Conn., neighborhood around the time Moxley was killed.

Skakel's fate may depend on whether the jury believes the alibi testimony from relatives only.

Brother Rushton Skakel Jr. and cousin James Terrien Dowdle have testified Michael left the Skakel home with them and brother John Skakel about 9:30 p.m. on a 20-minute drive to Dowdle's home to watch the 10 p.m. show "Monty Python's Flying Circus" the night Moxley was last seen alive.

Michael Skakel did not return to his home until after 11 p.m., according to testimony. Sherman contends Moxley was slain about 10 p.m., a time he says his client was not in the neighborhood.

John Skakel, 43, testified Tuesday morning and backed up the previous testimony from relatives.

The only compelling testimony that cast doubt on that claim came on May 9 from prosecution witness Andrea Shakespeare Renna, a friend of Skakel's sister Julie.

Renna testified Michael never left his neighborhood the night Moxley was slain. Sherman called her back to the stand in Norwalk Superior Court on Friday in an attempt to shake her testimony. He got her to admit she told investigators in 1991 that she never actually saw Michael.

"Do you remember right now whether Michael Skakel went to the Terrien home with his brothers, Rush Jr., John, and cousin Jimmy Terrien?" Sherman asked.

"He did not," Renna replied.

"How do you know that Mr. Skakel did not go to the Terriens?" Sherman asked.

"I remember that he did not go," Renna replied. "My memory tells me Michael was still there when the car left."

She said she based her assumptions on stories she'd heard for years.

During the 1991 interview, Renna said she believed there were four young people in the Skakel's back yard: Tommy and Michael Skakel, Helen Ix and Martha.

Ix has testified when the older boys drove to the Terriens' house, the four left behind were Tommy Skakel, Jeffrey Byrne, Martha and herself.

On Friday, under questioning from Assistant State's Attorney Susann Gill, Renna said "yes" when asked if she had an "abiding conviction" that Michael was home after the car left.

Sherman, however, questioned how she could be so certain.

"Where did you see Michael after the car left?" Sherman asked.

"I did not see Michael after the Terrien car left," Renna answered.

Renna also said her belief that Skakel remained at home was bolstered by what he told her and his sister the following day just hours after Moxley was found dead under a tree outside her home.

Renna said as she and Julie Skakel arrived home from school in a car, Michael ran to greet them.

"Michael told us that Martha had been killed and that he and Tommy were the last to see her that night," Renna said.

Copyright 2002 by United Press International.

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The prosecution was expected to call several rebuttal witnesses today, with closing arguments likely before week's end. Defense attorney Michael Sherman called a medical expert as his final witness to help establish the approximate time Moxley died the night of Oct. 30,...
Skakel's,Defense,Rests
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2002-00-28
Tuesday, 28 May 2002 12:00 AM
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