Michael Skakel Biography
Sun Sign: Virgo
Also Known As: Michael Christopher Skakel
Born in: Greenwich, Connecticut
Famous as: Martha Moxley's Murderer
Height: 1.80 meters
Spouse/Ex-: Margot Sheridan
mother: Anne Reynolds
education: Curry College
Michael Skakel is an American man who has been convicted of murdering a 15-year-old girl named Martha Moxley. The murder took place in 1975, when both Martha and Michael were 15. He was born in Greenwich, Connecticut, to Rushton and Anne Reynolds Skakel. He grew up with six other siblings. He lost his mother to brain cancer when he was in his early teenage years, and that impacted his psyche. Following this, he became an alcoholic. Additionally, he lacked social skills and had dyslexia, which made it difficult for him to focus on academics. On the evening of October 30, 1975, Martha was playing with the other kids of her neighborhood, including Thomas, Michael’s brother. The following morning, her corpse was found in her backyard. She had been murdered with a golf club, which apparently belonged to the Skakels. The investigation continued for many years, with Michael being arrested in January 2000. The trial was completed in 2002, and Michael was finally convicted of the murder of Martha Moxley. Michael claimed to be innocent and asked for a retrial in 2013, after which his conviction was reinstated in 2016. A new trial was ordered by the ‘Connecticut Supreme Court’ in May 2018.
- Michael Skakel was born Michael Christopher Skakel, on September 19, 1960, in Greenwich, Connecticut, to Rushton Walter and Anne Reynolds. He was the fourth of the seven children in the family. His grandfather had established one of the biggest coal companies in the country, the ‘Great Lakes Carbon Corporation.’
- His maternal aunt, Ethel, was the former wife of US politician Robert F Kennedy. Michael grew up in the rich Belle Haven locality in Greenwich. He was supposed to have a comfortable and easy childhood, but that was not the case. His mother died from brain cancer when Michael was 13 years old, which supposedly had a bad influence on Michael’s emotional well-being.
- Additionally, his father did not treat Michael kindly. He was an alcoholic and used to beat his children. As a result, Michael turned into a shy and socially awkward kid. He was also dyslexic, which posed a lot of difficulties in his academic life. His dyslexia went undiagnosed until he was 26 years old.
- As a result of these issues, Michael turned into an alcoholic. He was a poor student and failed in school. He studied in more than a dozen schools. Reportedly, all the children in the family were given huge amounts of money consistently and were not supervised.
- On the evening of October 30, 1975, Martha Moxley, Michael’s neighbor, went out to play with some of her friends. They were attending what was called a “Mischief Night,” where the kids pulled pranks such as ringing bells and putting toilet papers all over the houses.
- Martha was attracted to Michael’s brother, Thomas. According to their friends, Martha flirted with Thomas. They also ended up kissing that night. Her friends also claimed that she was last seen behind the fences of the Skakel backyard at around 9:30 in the night.
- The next morning, Martha was found dead underneath a tree in her backyard. Although a sexual assault was not proven, her pants and underwear were pulled down. Pieces of a broken six-foot golf club were found near the body, which the authorities deduced to be the murder weapon. It was proven that she was beaten and stabbed by the club, which belonged to the Skakels.
- Following this murder, the authorities failed to launch a trial for many years due to lack of evidence. There were two prime suspects: Thomas Skakel, with whom she was last seen, and Moxley’s private live-in tutor, Kenneth Littleton. However, there was no conclusive evidence against any of these two suspects. Thus, the authorities could not make any arrest for many years.
- Meanwhile, the murder received a lot of media attention. Several books were published. For many years, the investigators failed to find a specific lead.
- Michael Skakel emerged as a prime suspect for many reasons. First, he had changed his alibi in court several times, making the authorities suspect him of being involved in the murder. Further investigations also revealed a lot of interesting information.
- He attended ‘Elan School,’ a treatment center for troubled youth. Two of his schoolmates confessed that Michael had bragged about murdering someone with a golf club. In addition, he was also heard saying that he would get away with the murder, because of his association with Robert Kennedy.
- The case was somehow forgotten in the early 1990s. However, it was reopened in 1998, when an appointed jury was asked to go through the evidence once again. Following an 18-month-long investigation, the jury decided that there was enough evidence to charge Michael with murder.
- In January 2000, an arrest warrant was released. The same day, Michael surrendered to the authorities. However, he was soon freed on bail. It was assumed that Michael would be tried in the juvenile court, as he was 15 years old at the time of the murder. However, later, it was decided that he would be tried as an adult.
- The trial began on May 2002. Michael’s attorney claimed that during the time of the murder, Michael was at his cousin’s house. However, that contradicted Michael’s previous statement, in which he had stated that on the night of the murder, he was masturbating under the same tree where Martha’s dead body was found.
- On June 7, 2002, Michael was declared guilty and was sentenced to 20 years to life imprisonment.
- Michael Skakel was kept at the ‘MacDougall-Walker Correctional Institute’ in Suffield, Connecticut. His family hired a new defense team, which argued that Michael should have been tried in the juvenile court. They also filed petitions for his early release, but nothing worked.
- He was released in November 2013, on a bond of $1.2 million, and was instructed to not leave Connecticut until the trial was over. In December 2016, the ‘Connecticut Supreme Court’ reinstated his conviction.
- In May 2018, the ‘Connecticut Supreme Court’ ordered a new trial, accepting that he was not given a “fair trial.”
- Michael Skakel was married to professional golfer Margot Sheridan. The couple had a son. Margot filed for divorce when his trial began in 1998. The divorce was officially granted in 2001.
- Michael turned an alcoholic during his teenage years. In 1978, he was arrested for drunk driving in New York. He received treatment for alcoholism throughout his teenage years and finally recovered in his 20s.
- He graduated from ‘Curry College.’ He also pursued a career as a professional athlete and tried for the speed skiing demonstration team, which competed in the 1992 ‘Winter Olympics.’
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