Skip to main content

Kennedy relative Michael Skakel denied parole

From Ronni Berke, CNN
updated 3:43 PM EDT, Wed October 24, 2012
Michael Skakel was denied parole Wednesday. He was convicted in 2002 of the 1975 killing of his neighbor, Martha Moxley.
Michael Skakel was denied parole Wednesday. He was convicted in 2002 of the 1975 killing of his neighbor, Martha Moxley.
  • He was convicted in 1975 beating death of 15-year-old girl
  • Nephew of Robert and Ethel Kennedy has maintained his innocence
  • He has served 10 years of a sentence of 20 years to life

(CNN) -- Michael Skakel, the nephew of Robert and Ethel Kennedy, has been denied parole after serving 10 years in prison for bludgeoning Martha Moxley to death with a golf club outside her home in 1975.

The decision Wednesday morning marked Skakel's first chance at parole since his conviction in Moxley's killing, according to a spokesman for the Connecticut Department of Correction.

The 15-year-old's body was found after a night of partying with Skakel, his older brother Tommy and other teenagers in an affluent gated community in Greenwich, Connecticut.

Robert F. Kennedy's son in court

Skakel, now 52, was also 15 at the time of the murder. Twenty-seven years later, he was tried and convicted as an adult.

Martha Moxley's mother, Dorthy, said she wanted Skakel to serve at least 20 years.

"I'd like him to stay in longer, if possible. Only 10 years of a 20-to-life sentence -- that doesn't seem right to me," she said.

Skakel has maintained his innocence.

In a letter to the parole board, John Moxley spoke of the toll his sister's murder had taken on his family and asked that Skakel's parole be denied.

"I believe that Michael Skakel is representative of the most dangerous aspect of our society in that he was raised in an environment in which he was exposed to and at some point embraced the mind-set that the rules of our general society did not then and do not now apply to him."

Skakel's attorney, Hope Seeley, said in a statement, "Michael's conviction was a miscarriage of justice, but that aside, his further incarceration would also be a miscarriage of justice since he should have been sentenced as a juvenile with a maximum sentence of four years."

2007: Defense witness gives Skakel alibi

She added that "there has never been a person more deserving of parole than Michael Skakel."

"His track record during the past 10 years shows the person we all know him to be -- caring, generous, and committed to his faith, family and friends," Seeley said.

His defense has submitted 65 letters to the board on Skakel's behalf. Several describe him as a model prisoner and deeply religious, and said he has taken an interest in mural painting while in prison.

A letter from Robert F. Kennedy Jr. calls Skakel "kind, forgiving, and guided by God in all his actions and transactions. He is as incapable of violence or injuring another human being as any person I've ever met."

2002: Shock, happiness greet Skakel verdict

Part of complete coverage on
updated 10:26 AM EST, Wed February 6, 2013
Advocates say the exam includes unnecessarily invasive and irrelevant procedures -- like a so-called "two finger" test.
updated 7:09 PM EST, Tue February 5, 2013
Supplies of food, clothing and fuel are running short in Damascus and people are going hungry as the civil war drags on.
updated 1:01 PM EST, Wed February 6, 2013
Supporters of Richard III want a reconstruction of his head to bring a human aspect to a leader portrayed as a murderous villain.
updated 10:48 AM EST, Tue February 5, 2013
Robert Fowler spent 130 days held hostage by the same al Qaeda group that was behind the Algeria massacre. He shares his experience.
updated 12:07 AM EST, Wed February 6, 2013
As "We are the World" plays, a video shows what looks like a nuclear attack on the U.S. Jim Clancy reports on a bizarre video from North Korea.
The relationship is, once again, cold enough to make Obama's much-trumpeted "reset" in Russian-U.S. relations seem thoroughly off the rails.
Ten years on, what do you think the Iraq war has changed in you, and in your country? Send us your thoughts and experiences.
updated 7:15 AM EST, Tue February 5, 2013
Musician Daniela Mercury has sold more than 12 million albums worldwide over a career span of nearly 30 years.
Photojournalist Alison Wright travelled the world to capture its many faces in her latest book, "Face to Face: Portraits of the Human Spirit."
updated 7:06 PM EST, Tue February 5, 2013
Europol claims 380 soccer matches, including top level ones, were fixed - as the scandal widens, CNN's Dan Rivers looks at how it's done.
updated 7:37 AM EST, Wed February 6, 2013
That galaxy far, far away is apparently bigger than first thought. The "Star Wars" franchise will get two spinoff movies, Disney announced.
updated 7:27 PM EDT, Fri July 25, 2014
It's an essential part of any trip, an activity we all take part in. Yet almost none of us are any good at it. Souvenir buying is too often an obligatory slog.