Connecticut court rejects request to return Kennedy cousin to prison

Michael Skakel –The Associated Press

HARTFORD, Conn. (AP) — A request by prosecutors to revoke Kennedy cousin Michael Skakel’s bail and send him back to prison while his murder case appeal is pending has been rejected.

The Connecticut Supreme Court ruled against the state prosecutors’ request late Wednesday but did not elaborate.

Skakel, a nephew of Robert F. Kennedy’s widow, Ethel Kennedy, was convicted of murder in 2002 in the bludgeoning death of Martha Moxley in their wealthy Greenwich neighborhood in 1975, when they were teenagers. He was sentenced to 20 years to life in prison, but another judge granted him a new trial in 2013, citing mistakes by his trial lawyer.

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Skakel then posted $1.2 million bail and has been free since.

A spokesman for the chief state’s attorney’s office, which filed the request to revoke Skakel’s bail last month, had no immediate comment Thursday. Skakel’s appellate lawyer Trent LaLima declined to comment.

In November 2013, prosecutors appealed the new trial ruling to the state Supreme Court, which reinstated the conviction in December 2016. Skakel’s lawyers asked the high court to reconsider the decision, a request that has remained pending for more than a year.

In the motion to revoke Skakel’s bail, prosecutor James Killen wrote that the Supreme Court usually rules on a request to reconsider within weeks and it’s unclear why it is taking so long.

“The petitioner has enjoyed more than a year of additional freedom from serving his sentence, with only the most minimal restrictions on his liberty,” Killen wrote.

The case has drawn international attention because of the Kennedy name, Skakel’s rich family, numerous theories about who killed Moxley and the brutal way in which she died, bludgeoned with a golf club. Several other people, including Skakel’s brother, have been mentioned as possible killers but have denied any involvement. Skakel’s cousin Robert F. Kennedy Jr. has written a book arguing Skakel is innocent.