Prosecutor reveals police wanted to arrest defendant's brother in 1976
NORWALK, Connecticut -- It is unclear whether Michael Skakel's jury will ever hear about it but a prosecutor disclosed Wednesday that Greenwich, Connecticut, police applied for an arrest warrant in 1976 seeking to charge the defendant's brother, Thomas, with Martha Moxley's 1975 murder.
The revelation, made public for the first time, came as defense lawyer Mickey Sherman was trying to question a law enforcement witness, Thomas Keegan, about his earlier suspicions that "Tommy," and not his younger brother, Michael, killed Martha with their late mother's golf club.
"Why don't we have that?" Sherman asked, after the jury was dismissed from the courtroom. "We're entitled to that."
Prosecutor Jonathan Benedict said he believed the arrest application was a "collateral issue," meaning it was not relevant to the murder trial of 41-year-old Michael Skakel, who was charged with the crime 24 years after Moxley was killed.
The prosecutor revealed that in 1976 Greenwich police approached then-prosecutor Donald Browne with an affidavit, seeking a warrant to arrest Thomas Skakel, who is believed to have been the last person to see Martha Moxley alive. Browne did not approve the warrant.
Martha Moxley's bludgeoned body was found on her family's estate in the exclusive Belle Haven community in Greenwich. She had been killed the night before Halloween, Oct. 30, 1975, known as "Mischief Night" by the locals.
The Skakels, who are related to the Kennedys by marriage, lived next door and became the focus of the investigation early on because the Skakel boys were friends with Martha. The sensational trial got under way Tuesday, 26 years and six months after the murder. Prosecutors say Skakel killed Martha after she rejected his advances.
Sherman argued Wednesday he has repeatedly asked prosecutors to turn over any arrest and search warrant applications for any suspect. Sherman said he was hearing for the first time Thursday what he had long suspected.
Judge John Kavanewsky appeared annoyed that the issue had not been dealt with prior to the start of Skakel's trial. Kavanewsky noted that Sherman went to great lengths and great detail during pre-trial arguments in seeking the court's permission to point the finger at former Skakel tutor Kenneth Littleton, who was also considered an early suspect.
Kavanewsky, raising his voice, told Sherman that he would entertain a motion about disclosing the arrest warrant application and hold a hearing later Wednesday afternoon. Sherman said he had already made that motion and was incredulous that the prosecution had not responded by turning over the document.
"I'm hearing that for the first time from the state," Sherman said. Kavanewsky called a recess and told Benedict and Sherman he wanted to speak to him in chambers.
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