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Court TV

Diary gives rare glimpse into victim's short life

By John Springer
Court TV

NORWALK, Connecticut -- Martha Moxley died in 1975 without ever identifying her killer. But in diary excerpts entered into evidence in court Tuesday, she wrote about her problems with Michael Skakel, the man now on trial for her murder.

The excerpts, handwritten with the popular teenager's disregard for punctuation and grammar, also gave jurors a rare glimpse of Martha, who died sometime in the late hours of Oct. 30, 1975 at the age of 15.

The diary entries were entered into evidence by the prosecution over the objections of Skakel's lawyers. In them, Martha writes about her thoughts, her feelings, and her attitudes about home, school, her boyfriend Peter Ziluca and other topics that any high school sophomore girl might be interested in.

The diary entries for a handful of dates in September 1975 and early October of that year also reveal much about Martha's opinion of defendant Michael Skakel and his older brother, Thomas Skakel.

Both boys liked Martha but she wasn't thrilled about either. She calls Michael Skakel names and seemed ambivalent about Tom's flirting and touching. Prosecutors say the comments about the brothers amount to a motive for Michael Skakel, who was apparently mismatched as a rival for Martha's affections.

The following unedited excerpts from Martha's handwritten diary were admitted among those admitted into evidence:

Sept. 4, 1975

Dear Diary, Today was the 1st day of school. I have all my opens [free school periods] with Peter & Christy. Tonight I went pool hopping w/Jackie, Michael, David & Tom Skakel and Andy Pugh. When I got home my mom was really ticked at me. She might not let me go to the Allman Brothers concert with Peter which he asked me to go to today. She was being such a bitch. A royal bitch. She knows that I really want to go.

Sept. 7, 1975

Dear Diary, Today I went to Rye Playland w/Margie, Jacke & Allyson P. It was so fun! ... Tonight, me, Margie & Jackie wnet over to the Skakel's house & Miss Reese came in at 9:40 and told us 3 that she only sees us there at around 9:30 & she was kinda mad but it was hysterical. I've been having a lot of fun the last couple of days ... I've gone out every night. It's been a lot of fun. I definitely cannot go to the concert with Peter. Bummer!

Sept. 12, 1975

Dear Diary, Today was nothing extra special at school. Peter was being his usual self ... Me, Jackie, Michael, Tom, Hope, Maureen & Andra went driving in Tom's car. I drvoe a little then & I was practically sitting on Tom's lap 'cause I was only steering. He kept putting his hand on my knee ... I drove some more & Margie & I kept yelling out the sunroof & then we went to Friendly's & Michael treated me & he got me a double but I only wanted a single so I threw the top scoop out the window. The I was driving again & Tom put his arm around me. He kept doing stuff like that. Jesus if Peter ever found out I would be dead! I think Jackie really likes Michael & I think maybe he likes her (maybe because he was drunk, but I don't know).

Sept. 19, 1975

Dear Diary, Today was nothing extra special at school. Tonight ... it ended up w/me, Jackie, Tom, Michael, John, David & Peter Zamenksi. Michael was so totally out of it that he was being a real asshole in his actions & words. He kept telling me that I was leading Tom on when I don't like him (except as a friend). I said well how about you and Jackie? You keep telling me that you don't like her & you're all over her. He doesn't understand that he can be nice to her without hanging all over her. Michael jumps to conclusions. I can't be friends w/Tom just because I talk to him, it doesn't mean I like him. I really have to stop going over there. Then Michael was being such an ass. They all started fighting because he was being such a big "he man." He kept calling Tom & John fags & they were ready to have a fist fight so I said "Come on Jackie let's go."

Defense lawyer Mickey Sherman argued unsuccessfully that the diary passages had nothing to do with Skakel's guilt or innoncence and would be prejudicial to his client. Judge John Kavanewsky Jr. reviewed the diary in chambers before concluding that although hearsay, the evidence was admissible under several exceptions in state law.

Prosecutors argued in court papers that the diary passages suggest an age-old motive for the murder: rejection.

"The victim's relationship with the brothers, her annoyance with Michael, and ambivalence toward Tom's advances, are relevant to motive ...," prosecutor Susann gill wrote. "The state's evidence will show that the defendant has made admissions indicating his romantic interest in the victim, and has also stated that she rejected him the night she was killed ... [That] triggered the murder."




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