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Prosecution rests in Skakel trial


NORWALK, Connecticut (CNN) -- Prosecutors rested their case Tuesday against Kennedy cousin Michael Skakel, accused of murder in the 1975 slaying of his 15-year-old neighbor, Martha Moxley.

Their final prosecution witness Tuesday was Skakel himself -- on audiotapes from interviews with a ghostwriter Skakel collaborated with on a book proposal in 1997.

The jury listened to the tapes as Skakel, 41, charged with beating Moxley to death with a golf club in October 1975, described how he drank and smoked marijuana the night of the girl's killing -- "mischief night," the night before Halloween.

Skakel, who also was 15 at the time, said he went upstairs and went to bed, but couldn't sleep. "A part of me wanted to sleep, and then another part of me was, got horny," Skakel said. He said he wanted to see "this lady on Walsh Lane," an apparent reference to a woman he used to watch getting undressed on the same block where Martha lived.

"I ran to that lady's house, and you know, I was, like, spying in her window and hoping to see her naked," he said on the tape.

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Skakel said he was "kinda drunk," and thought about Moxley. He said he went to Moxley's house and remembered climbing up a tree outside her window. "I think I threw rocks or sticks at the window, and I was yelling her name. ... I find out later it wasn't her window," he said.

Skakel described himself as "a little out of my mind. I pulled my pants down, I masturbated for 30 seconds in the tree, and I went, 'This is crazy. If they catch me they're going to think I'm nuts.'"

After climbing down from the tree, he walked onto the Moxley driveway, but it was dark. "Something in me said, 'Don't go in the dark over there,'" he said.

"I remember yelling 'Who's in there? Who's in there?' and chucking rocks," he said. Then Skakel said he remembered fearing that someone might have seen him.

Skakel said he did not remember anything else until the next morning, when Martha's mother asked him if he knew where her daughter was.

After he found out Martha had been found dead, said Skakel, he thought: "Oh my God, if I tell anybody that I was out that night, they're going to say I did it."

'Asked me why I killed my neighbor'

Earlier Tuesday, a former acquaintance Skakel testified that she once overheard Skakel say to friends, "Ask me why I killed my neighbor."

Geranne Ridge said in court that she heard the statement in the spring of 1997, when, her friend Marisa Verrochi, who was staying with her, brought Skakel and some friends over to her apartment.

Ridge said she overheard Skakel telling his friends, in jest, to ask why he killed his neighbor. She did not hear what preceded that comment, and she remained in the room only for a few minutes, Ridge said.

"There was a lot of talking, chatting," Ridge said. The group had appeared to be drinking, she testified.

Verrochi was a babysitter for Michael Kennedy and had a highly publicized affair with him. Michael Kennedy, the son of Ethel Kennedy and the late Sen. Robert Kennedy, was Skakel's cousin. He died in a December 1997 skiing accident.

Ridge stopped short of incriminating Skakel any further, saying she didn't recall Skakel saying anything else that day.

At an earlier hearing, prosecutors sought to call back to the stand Skakel's childhood friend, Andrew Pugh. He said Skakel mouthed threatening obscenities to him while he testified Monday, prosecutors said.

"The defendant was mouthing obscenities to him like, 'You eff-ing liar,' " Assistant State's Attorney Chris Morano said. "It made him uncomfortable. It's intimidation of witnesses."

Judge John Kavanewsky did not allow Pugh to return to the stand. The judge said he saw no evidence of intimidation, nor did Pugh did not change his testimony because he appeared afraid of Skakel, he said.

Morano is challenging the ruling, citing legal precedents in which a jury was allowed to hear about witness intimidation.

-- CNN Producer Ronni Berke contributed to this report.




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