Sunday, December 8, 2013
By JOHN CHRISTOFFERSEN The Associated Press
NEW HAVEN, Conn. - Kennedy cousin Michael Skakel, who will get his first parole hearing Wednesday, deserves to be released from prison a decade after he was convicted of killing his neighbor because he was a victim of a miscarriage of justice and has been a model inmate, his supporters say.
In this Jan. 24, 2012, photo, Michael Skakel listens to a statement from John Moxley, brother of victim Martha Moxley in court in Middletown, Conn. Skakel's first parole hearing is scheduled for Wednesday.
But the victim's relatives want Skakel kept in prison the rest of his life, saying he was properly convicted and has shown no remorse.
Skakel is serving 20 years to life for beating Martha Moxley to death with a golf club in 1975 in Greenwich when they were 15-year-old neighbors. Skakel is a nephew of Robert F. Kennedy's widow, Ethel Kennedy.
During his trial, former classmates at the Elan School in Poland, Maine, testified that Skakel confessed the murder to them when he attended the school.
"There's never been a person more deserving of parole than Michael Skakel," his attorney, Hope Seeley, said in a prepared statement. "His track record during the past 10 years shows the person we all know him to be -- caring, generous and committed to his faith, family and friends. His conviction was a miscarriage of justice, but that aside, his further incarceration would also be a miscarriage of justice in light of the fact that he should have been sentenced as a juvenile."
Skakel has lost appeals challenging his conviction that raised the juvenile issue and other claims.
Martha Moxley's mother, Dorthy, and brother, John, want him kept in prison for life. Skakel has shown no remorse, John Moxley said.
"Michael Skakel is representative of the most dangerous aspect of our society in that he was raised in an environment in which he was exposed to and at some point embraced the mindset that the rules of our general society did not then and do not now apply to him," Moxley wrote in a letter to the parole board. "And, I believe that Michael Skakel's inbred sense of self and his self-confessed quick temper will always represent a threat to society."
Skakel, convicted in 2002, is eligible for parole consideration because of laws in place at the time of the crime, including good behavior credits.