(HARTFORD, Conn.) — The murder conviction of Michael Skakel, the nephew of Robert F. Kennedy’s widow Ethel Kennedy, was reinstated by a Connecticut Supreme Court on Friday after a lower court ruled Skakel had “inadequate” legal representation.
With a 4-3 majority, the state’s highest court reversed the decision and concluded “the petitioner’s trial counsel rendered constitutionally adequate representation.”
Skakel was convicted in 2002 for the 1975 murder of his 15-year-old neighbor Martha Moxley. Skakel, now 56, was also 15 at the time. Moxley’s body was found bludgeoned and stabbed with a golf club on her family’s estate in Greenwich, Connecticut, across the street from where Skakel lived with his father and six siblings.
After a request for a new trial was denied by the state’s Supreme Court in 2010, Skakel appealed against his trial lawyer, Michael Sherman, arguing that he did not adequately represent him. He was granted a new trial in 2013 and has been free from serving a prison sentence of 20 years to life since then.
Skakel’s criminal defense attorney Stephan Seeger said in a statement Friday: “We are taken aback by the decision. But we have not as of yet fully digested it.
We will be working through the night doing some legal research.
And will begin preparing for other contemplated procedures Including a motion for reconsideration by the Connecticut Supreme Court.”
Robert F. Kennedy Jr., who is Skakel’s cousin and authored the book Framed: Why Michael Skakel Spent Over a Decade in Prison For a Murder He Didn’t Commit, said to ABC News: “Right now we just want to concentrate on the legal process.”
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