Skakel ordered to receive new trial in Moxley slaying

A Connecticut judge has ordered that Michael Skakel, who was convicted in 2002 for the 1975 slaying of Martha Moxley in Greenwich, receive a new trial.

Mr. Skakel has been serving a 20-year to life sentence for the killing of Ms. Moxley who was his neighbor in the Belle Haven section of Greenwich. The case received national notoriety because Mr. Skakel is the nephew of Ethel Kennedy, who was married to former U.S. Sen. Robert Kennedy, and because it took more than 25 years for charges to be brought in Ms. Moxley’s death. The case inspired a poorly received TV movie and Mr. Skakel, who did not testify at the trial but did allegedly confess during a stay at a controversial drug addiction rehabilitation center has professed his innocence.

In the ruling on Wednesday by Judge Thomas Bishop, which legal analysts said was a surprise, it was found that Mr. Skakel did not receive adequate defense from Greenwich attorney Michael Sherman. Judge Bishop wrote, “Although defense counsel’s errors of judgment and execution are not the fault of the state, a defendant’s constitutional right to adequate representation cannot be overshadowed by the inconvenience and financial and emotional cost of a new trial.”

Claiming that Mr. Sherman did not adequately defend his client has been the centerpiece of attempts since 2002 to have a new trial granted. There’s no word yet on when or where that trial will be but the state is expected to appeal the judge’s ruling.

The Post will have more information as it becomes available.

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