It [ the murder] is still in the back of my mind and Im sure its in everyone elses. The killing has especially put tremendous pressure on some Belle Haven children, Mrs. McGuire says, because it is widely believed that Martha's killer is not only a local resident, but one of the neighborhood youths who was with her that night. Michael Skakel, faced with returning to prison, then filed for reconsideration and in 2018, with a new judge on the bench, the Connecticut Supreme Court reversed itself, now ruling that Skakel is entitled to a new trial. Moxley went missing on October 30, 1975, after a night of partying with Skakel, his older brother Tommy Skakel and other teenagers in an affluent gated community in Greenwich, Connecticut. The Moxley family moved from Piedmont, California, to their sprawling home in Greenwich, Connecticut, during the summer of 1974. Geoffrey Byrnes father heads a metals company that bears his name, and Sheila McGuire, who couldnt make it that night, is daughter of the vice president of the pharmaceutical company that makes Vicks products. Tori Holland: I think it's they're trying to find a scapegoat. Here's what you need to know about the project. According to fifteen-year-old Michael Skakel, the last sight he had of Martha was her talking to his older brother, Thomas, seventeen, on the Skakels lawn at about 9:30 p.m. Martha had to walk only about a hundred paces in the same direction Helen had gone to get home safely. After only a year in town, Martha was chosen the girl with the best personality by her classmates. Len Levitt (2003): Tommy is seen again shortly after 10 o'clock with Ken Littleton. A few months after trial, Michael Skakel's cousin, Robert Kennedy Jr., accused the prosecutor of deliberately misrepresenting Michael's words in that closing argument. Larry Shoenbach: I am as certain as certain can be that neither had anything to do with this. On Halloween 1975, Martha was found brutally murdered - bludgeoned and stabbed to death with a golf club - beneath a tree on her own front lawn in the exclusive community of Greenwich, Conn. Jonathan Benedict: No, I don't think so. The plane exploded in the air over Oklahoma. "48 Hours" tried to reach him, but couldn't. And Michael Skakel claimed that Sherman failed to focus on a more viable suspect in Moxley's murder: Michael's own brother, Tommy. Robert Kennedy Jr: His tape-recorded words were used out of context by the prosecutor to imply that he was confessing to the crime. Erin Moriarty: What's the motive for Michael Skakel killing Martha Moxley? its a one-armed battle we cant win against gossip. In her entry, Martha doesn't mention Tony and she never uses the word strangers. The editorial writer acknowledged that gossip was inevitable, but added: When a person is almost being tried and convicted by a rumor-mill-run-riot, it should cause us all grave concern.. Angry and frightened townspeople say that family influence has put Thomas Skakel beyond the reach of the system that hounded Peter Reilly. Teenager Thomas Skakel, son of a wealthy and well-connected Greenwich family, figures prominently in the unsolved murder of his neighbor, Martha Moxley. Martha headed across the street to hang out with her very wealthy neighbors, the Skakel family. Speaking with CNN after the hearing, Skakels attorney, Stephan Seeger, maintained that his client was innocent. Investigators traced the trail of blood to the Moxley driveway. Outside of court, he told reporters that he still believed Skakel was responsible for his sisters death. Fifteen-year-old Martha Moxley was murdered 46 years ago outside her home in Greenwich, Connecticut. Mr. Skakel, a nephew of Ethel Kennedy, was charged on Jan. 19. On October 30, 2020, 45 years after Martha Moxley's murder, the State of Connecticut announced Michael Skakel would not be retried. Please enter valid email address to continue. Let's take the most vulnerable person in our society and accuse him. On August 24, 2003, Tony Bryant, a former classmate of Michael Skakel's, told Michael's attorneys two of his friends who were visiting Belle Haven the night of Martha Moxley's murder had confessed to killing a girl. Mr. Skakel, a nephew of Ethel. Reports had also begun to circulate that Michael had actually confessed to Martha's murder. Nearly 25. The report was an eye-opener. No commoners, these children; rather they are heirs to Whos Who in the world of American business. On September 12, Martha wrote in her diary about going for ice cream with Michael and Tommy: "Went driving in Tom's car I was practically sitting on Tom's lap He kept putting his hand on my knee.". Benedict put holes in Michael's alibi, but he later said Michael himself provided the most damaging evidence. The deadline for sending in seeds was October 15th, but there are still plenty of ways to get involved. HUBERT SANTOS [to reporters outside courthouse] An innocent man now goes free . But why? Their father Rushton struggled to parent them. But that confession came from an exhausted and confused Reilly after a long and at times merciless night of browbeating by state police interrogators. Martha's friends told police that Tommy wanted to date her, but his advances may not have always been welcomed. No arrests were made. The tree in the backyard where the murder took place is apparently still there. Since 1975, the tony neighborhood of Belle Haven, in Greenwich, Connecticut has been haunted by the death of Martha Moxley, a 15-year-old girl who was bludgeoned with a golf club. Remember, Michael told police that around 9:30 p.m., he had left to go to his cousin Jimmy Terrien's home and Martha had stayed behind with Tommy. And that drinking may have created conflict with Martha. Captain Keegan says the police are close-mouthed because their talking could jeopardize eventual prosecution of a suspect. With lush green lawns underfoot and giant shade trees arching overhead, the private grounds of Belle Haven are like lovely, verdant living rooms. He was doing 20 to 25 bags of heroin a day. Looking at the evidence, your honor, looking at the state of the case, it is my belief that the state cannot prove this case beyond a reasonable doubt, he said. Well- heeled children of executives, doctors, and lawyers, the Belle Haven kids roamed for several horn's on Doorbell Night, stopping at various homes; some of them sneaking an occasional beer or a slug of wine. There they discovered a piece of the murder weapon: the shaft of a golf club. The Skakels were cousins of the Kennedys. A police source who has seen his share of wounds describes it as the worst he has seen, a real crime of passion. Near the body, police found the bloodied head of the club, with only part of the shaft attached. Updated on: June 2, 2022 / 10:08 AM "48 Hours:" Friends of murder victim speak out after 46 years, Martha Moxley recorded in her diary that she was particularly concerned with Michael's behavior. On one side are the Moxleys, a tight-knit family of four who moved from Northern California to Connecticut's prestigious enclave of Belle Haven just a year before Martha's slaying. There was a long blood trail clearly showing she was dragged. Jonathan Benedict: Andrea Shakespeare is one of the witnesses who was certain that Mister Skakel never took that alibi ride. Fear grips the neighborhood; parents escort their children, even when they are just going next-door. Hopefully, Martha Moxley's family will finally see justice for Martha and case solved. We left no stone unturned, insists Keegan. At the dance he kept putting his arms around me making moves.". (Rushtons brother, George, used to keep a mated pair of giant sea lions in the backyard. Steve Carroll [2000]: she had been bludgeoned right near the driveway because there was a huge pool of blood. then I woke up to Mrs. Moxley saying, "Michael have have you seen Martha?" They made sure that Thomas exercised his rights including the Constitutional right to remain silent. Only a few hundred feet and Martha would have been safely home. Reilly won his freedom only after he attracted the attention and the financial help of his community and of celebrities such as playwright Arthur Miller and author William Styron. Whoever murdered Martha Moxley had up to fifteen hours to cover his (or her) tracks before the body was found; fifteen hours to dispose of the section of golf club, wash off the blood, wash or dispose of bloodied clothes, and compose an alibi. But Thomas describes in some detail the four-hour grilling he had that first night at police headquarters and several other questioning sessionswithout his lawyer presentshortly after the killing. Please enter valid email address to continue. GREGORY COLEMAN (news report): The first words he ever said to me was, "I'm going to get away with murder. It was Stairway to Heaven. She was always a great friend. It took the jury four days. The Skakels, like most of their neighbors, are special peopleonly in some ways more so. For 20 years, investigators seemed stymied in their effort to find Martha's killer, but all that changed in 1995 when someone leaked the Sutton Report to the press. . Lynne Tuohy: Tommy and Michael were both known to have very explosive tempers. Martha Moxley's murder however was unusual, and in their attempts to uncover the murderer, the police would face some very unusual problems. Robert Marchant July 31, 2017. All Rights Reserved. Martha's mother Dorthy spoke with "48 Hours" in 2000. Weve also followed a few you could never think of. For instance, Keegan recalls, police looked back several years into the unsolved New Canaan murder of a young girl named Mary Mount. Lynne Tuohy: It came from a set owned by Anne Skakel, Michael's and Tommy's late mother. It's very upsetting. Lynne Tuohy: I think it very well may have been the lynchpin. It will remain until the case is solved. Her body was found the next day on the three-acre estate. You can subscribe to Connecticut Magazine here, or find the current issue on sale here. Erin Moriarty: Seeing Tony Bryant, do you remember that at all? While the worried mother spent hours making frantic calls around the Belle Haven neighborhood and while the police were searching the Moxleys three-acre spread, Marthas body lay close by. His plane went down in Riggins, Idaho, while on an elk-hunting expedition. MICKEY SHERMAN: He was going to invoke the Fifth Amendment no matter what we did. At the dance, he kept putting his arms around me and making moves.". Median income is more than $18,000, twice the national average, thanks to the multimillionaires and the executives. It will be good to get away, he adds, for he is leaving Greenwich to attend a private school in Vermont. And then of course there was Michael's own words from that tell-all book proposal. Using Martha's diary as evidence, Kennedy claims that three weeks before her murder, Martha wrote that she saw Tony and two strangers at a dance, but that's not quite accurate. Richard Burns: They definitely got into a lot of trouble. His account is confirmed at least indirectly by Captain Keegan. Michael told police that after watching "Monty Python's Flying Circus" at his cousin Jimmy Terrien's house, he came home around 11:30 p.m. and went straight to bed, but he told his dad's investigators another story: MICHAEL SKAKEL (audio recording): And I remember thinking, oh my God, if I tell anybody that I was out that night, they're going to say I did it. At least 12 dead after winter storm slams South, Midwest, The Saturday Six: Dental device controversy, scientist's bug find and more, Indonesia fuel depot fire kills 18; more than a dozen missing, 3 children killed, 2 others wounded at Texas home, Man charged for alleged involvement in 2 transformer explosions, Nikki Haley slams potential GOP contenders, and Trump and George W. Bush, Duo of 81-year-old women plan to see the world in 80 days, Tom Sizemore, actor known for "Saving Private Ryan" and "Heat," dies at 61, Alex Murdaugh trial: What to know about the double murder case. Its an eerie feeling, says another Belle Haven mother. Thomas Skakel says he answered police questions and kept answering until he thought he was done with it several weeks after the murder. Thomas Skakel says he originally planned to enroll at a better school in upstate New York for his senior year, but he believes the Moxley case contributed toward his not being accepted; the school denies this. Adds Skakel, Even [Police Chief] Steve Baran cant talk to that boy. Tori Holland: and I could see Mrs. Moxley at the front door and she's going [waves hands] she didn't want me to come any further. In 2003, Tony Bryant was videotaped by Michael Skakel's team. At the center of the investigation into the 1975 murder of 15-year-old Martha Moxley are two families ripped apart by a brutal tragedy. In 1955, George Skakel, Sr., Rushtons father and the founder of Great Lakes Carbon, along with his wife Anne, took off from Bridgeport Airport in the company plane, a converted World War II bomber. It wasnt until 3:45 a.m. that an exhausted and frightened Dorothy Moxley made the call to the Greenwich Police Department. And and that was really the segment that everybody agrees ended up convicting Michael Skakel. The beasts lived on the tennis court and dined on fish in a stocked pond.) Tori Holland: My backyard sort of melded into her front yard. [1] The next day Moxley was found bludgeoned and stabbed to death, and a broken golf club was found near her body. On Mischief Night, Martha and two other friends met Michael at the Skakel house around 9 p.m. In closing arguments, Prosecutor Benedict played an edited excerpt for the jurors: MICHAEL SKAKEL (audio recording): " oh, my God, did they see me last night?" All fifteen detectives on the 150-member Greenwich police force were immediately thrown into the case, which would become the biggest investigation in the eighty-year history of the department.