A Family Problem for Skakel

  • Share
  • Read Later
A sibling may produce a dramatic twist in the murder trial of Kennedy cousin Michael Skakel. So far, relative after relative has backed up Ethel Kennedy's nephew, who is on trial in Norwalk, Conn., for the 1975 murder of his teenage neighbor Martha Moxley. He has said he was nowhere near the murder scene — Moxley's home, across the street from the Skakels' in Greenwich — at 10 p.m. that Oct. 30, the time forensic experts estimate Moxley died. And last week Skakel's elder brother Rushton Jr. and cousin James Dowdle testified that the defendant left home at 9:30 p.m., drove with them to Dowdle's mansion some 20 minutes away, watched Monty Python on television and went home, arriving at about 11:20 p.m.

However, the prosecution expects to get a different story when it calls Skakel's sister Julie to the stand as its rebuttal witness. Though a fervent supporter of her brother, she told the police in 1975 and a grand jury in 1998 that she thought she might have seen Michael near the crime scene about the time Moxley was slain. According to sources familiar with the grand jury testimony, Julie said she called out, "Michael, come back here," when she saw a figure in the bushes outside the Skakels' front door. She also told investigators that when she was inside the Skakel house, she saw a person dart past the kitchen window. "She could be the missing link," the victim's brother John told Time. Andrea Renna, a former friend of Julie Skakel's who was with her in the house that night, testified Friday that Michael Skakel did not drive to his cousin's mansion. The prosecution has subpoenaed Julie to corroborate that testimony against her brother. The drama will be whether she can make her recollection fit Michael's alibi.