Court overturns Kennedy relative's murder conviction in 1975 killing
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The Connecticut Supreme Court on Friday overturned the murder conviction of Kennedy relative Michael Skakel over the 1975 bludgeoning death of teenager Martha Moxley in Greenwich, Conn.

In a 4-3 decision, the court ruled that Skakel’s trial attorney had failed to identify a witness for Skakel’s alibi, depriving him of a fair trial, The Associated Press reported.

In late 2016, the same court had reinstated Skakel’s conviction after a lower court had ordered a retrial based on mistakes by trial attorney Mickey Sherman.

It is not yet clear if there will be a new trial for Skakel. His first cousin, Robert Kennedy Jr., told CNN he was skeptical about the possibility of a retrial.


"It would be pretty hard to pass the threshold of reasonable doubt," said Kennedy, who wrote a book maintaining that Skakel is innocent.

Skakel, a nephew of Robert Kennedy’s widow, Ethel Kennedy, was convicted of murder in 2002 for the 1975 death of Moxley when both were teenagers.

He had served 11 years of his 20 years to life prison sentence when a court overturned his conviction in 2013.

A trial prosecutor had originally said that Skakel had been mad at Moxley for rejecting his advances while being involved with his brother Tommy Skakel.

Michael Skakel’s appellate lawyer, Hubert Santos, has said that Sherman made poor decisions, including not focusing on Tommy Skakel as a suspect and not attempting to contact a witness that could have backed Skakel’s alibi, the AP reported.

On Friday, the majority opinion said that Skakel had been prejudiced in the case because of Sherman’s failure to obtain alibi testimony from a witness, Denis Ossorio.

The majority argued that without Ossorio’s testimony, Skakel’s alibi was attacked as a family conspiracy to cover up his involvement in a crime, even though the alibi was for a time period when it’s highly likely Moxley was killed.

The dissenting opinion argued that an exact time of the killing was never established and that an alibi is not a solid defense when it’s possible the crime happened outside the alibi time period.