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Kennedy cousin Michael Skakel seeks release from prison

By Michael Martinez, CNN
updated 8:06 AM EDT, Fri October 25, 2013
Michael Skakel, the nephew of Robert F. Kennedy, has been charged in the murder of his 15-year-old neighbor, Martha Moxley in 1975.
Michael Skakel, the nephew of Robert F. Kennedy, has been charged in the murder of his 15-year-old neighbor, Martha Moxley in 1975.
STORY HIGHLIGHTS
  • NEW: The victim's brother says he would oppose Skakel's release
  • Skakel seeks a bond less than $500,000 cash or surety
  • Skakel's motion says he won't flee and he has close contact with a 14-year-old son
  • The prosecutor plans to appeal ruling giving Skakel a new trial

(CNN) -- A day after he won a new trial in the murder of a 15-year-old girl, Michael Skakel, the nephew of Robert and Ethel Kennedy, filed a bond motion Thursday asking he be released from prison pending a second trial's outcome.

Fifteen years ago, on July 16, 1999, John F. Kennedy Jr. and his wife, Carolyn Bessette-Kennedy, died in a plane crash off the coast of Martha's Vineyard in Massachusetts. Her sister was also aboard the plane. The tragedies the Kennedy family has faced have become part of American history. Click through to see other moments of tribulation for the family. Fifteen years ago, on July 16, 1999, John F. Kennedy Jr. and his wife, Carolyn Bessette-Kennedy, died in a plane crash off the coast of Martha's Vineyard in Massachusetts. Her sister was also aboard the plane. The tragedies the Kennedy family has faced have become part of American history. Click through to see other moments of tribulation for the family.
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The motion asks the court to set a bond in an amount "no greater than $500,000 cash or surety."

Skakel, 53, who has spent more than a decade behind bars, is accused of killing Martha Moxley with a golf club in 1975. Twenty-seven years after her death, he was convicted and sentenced to 20 years to life in prison.

For years, Skakel fought unsuccessfully for his conviction to be overturned. On Wednesday, a Connecticut judge ordered Skakel's conviction to be set aside, ruling that the defense in the 2002 trial had been inadequate.

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State's Attorney John Smriga said prosecutors planned to appeal the ruling.

Skakel poses no flight risk and has maintained strong ties to the community throughout his imprisonment, his motion argued.

Skakel has a 14-year-old son "with whom he maintains close contact and has remained actively involved in his rearing, to the extent possible from prison," the motion said.

His continued incarceration isn't "necessary to protect" the public or the Moxley family, which now resides outside of Connecticut, court papers said.

Skakel would agree to electronic monitoring upon release from prison, the motion said.

Prior to his trial, Skakel voluntarily surrendered to authorities in January 2000, and when he was released on bond after that arrest, "he never failed to attend court," the motion said.

John Moxley, Martha Moxley's brother, told CNN Thursday that he still believes that Skakel is guilty and would be opposed to his release from prison.

"My mother and I wouldn't be in favor of bail, but you know, the reality is, we have no control over it," Moxley told CNN's "AC360."

"And I can't let myself get consumed, and my mother's not going to get consumed, by stuff that's out of our control. ... If it comes to a trial, we'll be there supporting the state of Connecticut."

Moxley's body was found in 1975 after a night of partying with Skakel, his older brother Tommy and other teenagers in an affluent gated community in Greenwich, Connecticut.

Authorities said she was bludgeoned and stabbed to death; a broken golf club was found near her body.

The case languished for more than two decades.

A series of books on the high-profile crime renewed interest, leading to new tips and a new suspect in January 2000: Skakel, who was 15 at the time of the killing.

Skakel has always proclaimed his innocence.

But a jury convicted Skakel of murder on June 7, 2002. He is behind bars at the MacDougall-Walker Correctional Institution in Suffield, Connecticut.

CNN's Catherine E. Shoichet contributed to this report.

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