Seth Wenig / AP
Updated at 4:30 pm ET
Connecticut prosecutors are closing the 45-year-old murder case involving Kennedy’s cousin Michael Skakel, who was previously charged with the murder of 15-year-old neighbor Martha Moxley in Greenwich.
State Attorney Richard Colangelo Jr said on Friday – exactly 45 years after Moxley’s death – that the state would not seek a second trial for Skakel.
During a hearing at the Stamford Superior Court, Colangelo filed the so-called “nolle” – a legal statement allowing the dismissal of the case in question 13 months later, his office confirmed to NPR .
The decision comes after Colangelo’s review of the case discovered that of the 51 likely witnesses indicted, 17 died, making it more difficult to prove the case than a reasonable suspicion. , his office said.
The decision effectively concludes a case that has captured the public’s attention for decades, in part due to the Skakel family’s wealth and the creepy details of the atrocities.
“Today was a great day for justice,” Skakel’s criminal defense attorney Stephan Seeger said after the hearing. The case of the state against his client was “thin from the start.”
Skakel was found guilty of murder in 2002 and has been free of bail since 2013, when a state judge vacated his sentence. At the time, Superior Court Judge Thomas Bishop ruled that the pleading in the trial presented by Skakel’s original lawyer was flawed and requested a re-trial. One flaw in the defense was the inability to call an alibi for Skakel.
The Connecticut Supreme Court ordered a new trial in 2018. Seeger said his office is working to prepare for that trial leading up to Friday’s trial.
Seeger said Colangelo’s decision not to seek a second trial also stems from his attempt to show the prosecutor loopholes in the case against Skakel, which he said, including witnesses. suspected alibi and evidence could reasonably identify other potential suspects.
Moxley was found dead in the affluent Connecticut suburbs of Greenwich in 1975. She was beaten with a golf club, later found to belong to the Skakel family, and was also stabbed with a broken metal shaft. .
The case had cooled for 25 years until Skakel was arrested in 2000. Skakel was only 15 years old at the time of his death.
Skakel, now 60 years old, is the grandson of Robert F. Kennedy’s widow Ethel Kennedy.