A prosecutor said Friday that Kennedy cousin Michael Skakel will not face a second trial in the killing of Martha Moxley, an announcement that came 45 years to the day after the teenager was bludgeoned to death in her wealthy Connecticut neighborhood.
Chief State’s Attorney Richard Colangelo Jr. said at a hearing at Stamford Superior Court that the case could not be proven beyond a reasonable doubt.
Skakel, a nephew of Robert F. Kennedy’s widow, Ethel Kennedy, was convicted of murder in 2002 and sentenced to 20 years to life in prison. Several appeals followed. After serving 11 years behind bars, Skakel was freed in 2013 on $1.2 million bail after a judge overturned his conviction, saying his trial lawyer failed to adequately represent him.
The state Supreme Court upheld that ruling in 2018, and the U.S. Supreme Court declined to hear the state’s appeal last year.
Moxley’s brother, John, said outside the courthouse that he still believes Skakel killed his sister but he and their mother, Dorthy, are at peace with the decision not to seek a second trial.
“His life will never be the same. Mine will never be the same. I wouldn’t want to walk a mile in his shoes,” Moxley said.
Skakel did not comment during the hearing or outside court. His attorney, Stephan Seeger, said Skakel is innocent.
“He’s been innocent from day one. This crime should have never been something that ended up in a trial in the first place,” Seeger said.
The case drew wide attention because of the Kennedy name, Skakel’s rich family, numerous theories about who killed Moxley and the brutal way in which she died. Several other people, including Skakel’s brother Tommy Skakel who denied any role in the killing, have been mentioned as possible killers. Robert F. Kennedy Jr. has been one of Skakel’s most prominent defenders.
A retrial would have presented several difficulties for prosecutors. There was a lack of forensic and eyewitness evidence against Skakel. A new alibi witness emerged. A key witness who said Skakel confessed is dead. And the Moxley family is leery of going through another trial.
On the night of the killing, Martha Moxley and other teens in the Belle Haven neighborhood were out doing pre-Halloween pranks and had visited the Skakel home, police said.
Her body was found the next day on her family’s estate, across the street from the Skakel home. She had been beaten with a 6-iron owned by the Skakel family and stabbed in the throat with a piece of the golf club’s shattered shaft, police said.
At Skakel’s trial, prosecutors suggested Skakel was angry with Martha because she had spurned his advances while having a sexual liaison with his brother Tommy.
Michael Skakel said he was miles away from the crime scene watching a “Monty Python” television show with others at the likely time Moxley was killed. But prosecutors maintain he could have killed her after returning home that night.
Police interviewed numerous witnesses, but the case went cold.
Interest was revived in 1993, when author Dominick Dunne published a novel, “A Season in Purgatory,” based on the murder.
Then, in 1998, former Los Angeles police detective Mark Fuhrman, who gained notoriety in the O.J. Simpson murder case, published his own book, “Murder in Greenwich,” which asserted Michael Skakel killed Moxley in a jealous rage after seeing Thomas Skakel kiss her.
A one-judge grand jury was announced that same year to investigate the killing, resulting in Skakel’s arrest in 2000 and conviction in 2002.
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The Earth’s deepest secret was just revealed by scientists
The research into what lies deep, deep beneath our feet has yielded precious few details over the past few decades. We all grew up learning that we live on the Earth’s crust, which is just a thin layer above the mantle. Beneath that, the outer core surrounds the inner core, and… well, that’s it, or so we thought. Now, scientists have offered us an update to this model, and they believe the discovery may be concrete enough to warrant the rewriting of textbooks.
In a new paper published in the Journal of Geophysical Research, a small team of scientists says that the most widely accepted model of the interior of the Earth doesn’t necessarily jive with the data that is available. In its place, the researchers propose a new model that includes a new layer within the inner core, and they say that, based on the data, it may be evidence of a “traumatic event” somewhere in Earth’s history.
The new layer the researchers are said to have confirmed is distinct from the inner core and would represent a new “central inner core,” for lack of a better term. To do this, the team collected a massive amount of data from seismic events over decades, then tested them against models of the Earth’s interior. What they found was that the notion of a new core layer was the best way to match the data with a model.
“Traditionally we’ve been taught the Earth has four main layers: the crust, the mantle, the outer core and the inner core,” Joanne Stephenson, lead author of the work, said in a statement. “The idea of another distinct layer was proposed a couple of decades ago, but the data has been very unclear. We got around this by using a very clever search algorithm to trawl through thousands of the models of the inner core.”
How exactly this newly-identified layer formed is anyone’s guess, but it may point to a more complex story of early Earth formation than was previously accepted.
“We found evidence that may indicate a change in the structure of iron, which suggests perhaps two separate cooling events in Earth’s history. The details of this big event are still a bit of a mystery, but we’ve added another piece of the puzzle when it comes to our knowledge of the Earths’ inner core.”
The discovery of a new core layer may not change much when it comes to our daily lives, but it’s a big step toward better understanding how our planets and others like it form. If we hope to have a solid understanding of the nature of planets, figuring out what is hiding deep within them is a prerequisite and a pretty big one.
Bodies of 11 Infants Found in Ceiling of Funeral Home May Have Been Hidden Because Parents Couldn’t Pay
On Friday, Michigan state investigators received an “anonymous letter” directing them to a Detroit funeral home that closed in April for “deplorable, unsanitary conditions.”
According to the Detroit Free Press, investigators entered the Cantrell Funeral Home with permission from the new owner, who was in the process of converting it to a community center, Detroit Police Lt. Brian Bowser said.
There, they located the bodies of 11 infants and “stillborns” hidden inside a “drop-down ceiling” between the first and second floor of the building.
Nine of the bodies were located hidden inside a box, and two were found inside a garbage bag in a small casket, Bowser confirmed at a press conference.
Police have not confirmed the identities of the infants or why they were hidden in the ceiling. The bodies were badly decomposed; some were “mummified,” and others were “embalmed.”
In April, the funeral home was shut down over unsanitary conditions after inspectors found bodies that had been left to mold and decay.
Owner Raymond Cantrell II admitted he kept bodies when the families couldn’t pay. At the time, he told WJBK:
“Those who have asked me to hold their loved ones will know I was doing them a favor to accommodate them. For those that weren’t, like the many of the cremated they are trying to take from here or that they are taking from here. Those individuals we called we’ve tried to notify and they haven’t been picked up.”
Police have not confirmed that’s why the infants were kept. But Pastor William C. Curtis, who owns three Detroit funeral homes, said that could be the case.
He told the Detroit News:
“A lot of times the family don’t pay and you have to take them to court. There is no recourse, but holding a body isn’t justifiable. It’s not like repossessing a car, you can’t give the body back.”
Cantrell took over the funeral home from his father in 2017. Curtis said they “used to get a lot of business.”
The medical examiner’s office is currently working to identify all the infants and reunite them with their families, it said in a statement.
Cantrell is not facing charges in relation to the discovery at this time.
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