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Shock, happiness greet Skakel verdict

NORWALK, Connecticut (CNN) -- When Friday's verdict was announced in the Michael Skakel murder trial, the defendant stood frozen; Moxley's mother and brother wept.

Prosecutor Benedict said he was always confident of getting a conviction. "I put a lot of time in on a closing arguments," he said. "It was an easy case to argue.... I think 90 percent of the people in the courtroom wanted to see me connect the dots."

"I just could hardly believe it," Dorthy Moxley, Martha's mother, told reporters soon after the verdict was announced. "I just feel so blessed and so overwhelmed. This is Martha's day." (Read about the challenges facing the prosecution in the case.)


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This is a hollow," said Martha's brother, John, halting before adding the word "victory."

Skakel's younger brother, David, expressed disappointment at the verdict.

"I would say that fortunately we are a family with a bedrock of faith. Our faith has been tested today immeasurably."

He said, "Martha's short life and the manner of hear death should never be forgotten," but added later, "truth is more important than closure."

Noting that the family had cooperated with investigators throughout, he said, "This trial has felt like a witch hunt."

Dorthy Moxley said she has "great empathy for the Skakel family. They have been very supportive of their brother, I think that is to be commended."

She said that for the future, "I am hoping I can now go out and help other mothers who have lost their children and feel there is no hope."

Defense attorneys countered that no physical evidence exists linking Skakel to Moxley's death.

Benedict said jealousy motivated Skakel to kill Moxley, who was last seen flirting with Tommy Skakel in the Skakel driveway.

He pointed to Skakel's frequent admissions over the years that he had been near the place where the crime occurred on the night of Moxley's death, he said.

Skakel's siblings claimed they could not remember much else about the night, except for Skakel's alibi, prompting Benedict to say, "They feigned a lack of recall because in their actual recall lies the truth."

Defense attorney Mickey Sherman zeroed in on the apparent weaknesses of the state's case against Skakel.

"They have no physical evidence. They have no forensic evidence. They have [a] sketchy motive. They have several 'I Love Lucy' wannabes," said Sherman, saying prosecution witnesses were motivated by a desire to be in the spotlight.

Sherman also highlighted previous testimony that showed the extent to which investigators had earlier pursued Tommy Skakel and former Skakel tutor Ken Littleton as suspects.




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