Tags: kennedy | cousin | michael skakal | prison | prosecutors

Send Kennedy Cousin Skakal Back to Prison, Say Prosecutors

Image: Send Kennedy Cousin Skakal Back to Prison, Say Prosecutors

Michael Skakel during the 2002 trial for Martha Moxley's 1974 murder. (REUTERS/Douglas Healey/Pool)

By    |   Thursday, 25 Feb 2016 09:51 AM

Kennedy family member Michael Skakel should return to prison to finish his 20-year sentence for a murder four decades ago, prosecutors told Connecticut's highest court.

Skakel, the nephew of Ethel Kennedy, widow of slain U.S. Senator Robert F. Kennedy, has been free on a $1.2 million bond since 2013. He had served 11 years in prison for fatally beating Martha Moxley, his neighbor in Greenwich, Connecticut, with a golf club when both were 15 years old.

Skakel, now 55, was convicted in 2002 and sentenced to 20 years in prison. An appeals court overturned his conviction in 2013 after he argued that his trial lawyer did a poor job.

The Connecticut Supreme Court heard the state's appeal of that decision on Wednesday, reported Reuters.

"This was far from a slipshod defense. This was a well-planned, well-thought-out defense," said Susann Gill, a supervisory assistant state's attorney.

During the trial, prosecutors presented evidence from three people who knew Skakel and said that he had admitted the killing, Gill said. Skakel's attorneys questioned the reliability of these witnesses, noting that two had been fellow patients at a controversial and violent drug-treatment facility Skakel had been sent to in the late 1970s.

"It has always mystified me that there was a myth that has come up that this was a weak case," Gill said. "It was not."

Skakel's current attorney, Hubert Santos, argued that his client's original lead attorney squandered resources during the trial and was more focused on winning fame than his client's freedom. He contended Skakel's trial defense team should have presented evidence of other suspects in the case, including Skakel's brother, Thomas, who was never charged.

"This defendant did not get a fair shake," Santos said, adding the defense team was ineffective at challenging witness credibility.

He said the original attorney failed to explain the concept of "reasonable doubt" in his closing argument after the judge prevented him from using a chart he had prepared.

"I have been doing this for a number of years and I can assure you I can't remember a summation where a lawyer did not mention the concept of reasonable doubt," Santos said. "It was just kind of a meandering summation."

Michael Skakel's attorneys have said he is innocent.

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Kennedy family member Michael Skakel should return to prison to finish his 20-year sentence for a murder four decades ago, prosecutors told Connecticut's highest court.
kennedy, cousin, michael skakal, prison, prosecutors
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2016-51-25
Thursday, 25 Feb 2016 09:51 AM
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