Facts about Martha Moxley

Martha Moxley died at 15 years old
Born: August 16, 1960
Best known as: The young victim who was the subject of the book A Murder in Greenwich

     

Martha Moxley Biography

After a night of pre-Halloween revelry in October 1975, 15-year-old Martha Moxley was bludgeoned to death with a 6-iron in the exclusive Belle Haven section of Greenwich, Connecticut. Her neighbor Michael Skakel was convicted of the crime years later, but the case is now officially unsolved again after Skakel’s conviction was rescinded in 2018.

Michael Skakel and his brother Thomas were teenagers at the time of the murder, and both were regarded as suspects early on — partly because the golf club used to kill Moxley came from the Skakel family garage. (One point which made the case a sensation was that the Skakels were nephews of the late Robert F. Kennedy and his widow, Ethel Skakel Kennedy.) But in the years after the murder, nobody was arrested or charged with the murder.

In 1993 author Dominick Dunne wrote a best-selling novel, A Season in Purgatory, based on the incident. Dunne later encouraged former Los Angeles policeman Mark Fuhrman — notorious from the O.J. Simpson murder trial, which Dunne also covered — to investigate the Martha Moxley murder. Fuhrman’s 1998 book A Murder In Greenwich declared Michael Skakel to be the prime suspect.

In January of 2000, Skakel (then aged 39) was arraigned for the Martha Moxley murder. Nearly two years of pre-trial hearings and discussion followed concerning whether Michael Skakel should be tried as an adult or as a juvenile (since he was 15 at the time of Moxley’s death). On November 19, 2001, the Connecticut Supreme Court upheld an earlier juvenile court ruling that Skakel should be tried as an adult.

Skakel’s trial began in May of 2002, and on June 7, 2002 the jury found him guilty in Martha Moxley’s death. In August 2002 he was given a sentence of 20 years to life in prison. After years of legal maneuvers by Skakel and his family, Skakel was granted a new trial in 2013 after a Connecticut judge ruled that his original lawyer had represented him poorly.

In December of 2016 the Connecticut Supreme Court ruled 4-3 that his legal representation had been adequate and the original conviction should be upheld. But Skakel stayed out of prison while he filed further appeals, and in May of 2018 the Connecticut Supreme Court (now with one new justice) ruled 4-3 in Skakel’s favor, officially vacating his 2002 conviction.  Martha Moxley would have turned 58 that year.


     

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