Imprisoned Kennedy Cousin Could Walk on Bail Ahead of Murder Retrial

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Oct. 23, 2013 - A Connecticut judge ordered a retrial for Michael Skakel, nephew of the late Robert F. Kennedy, who was convicted in the 1975 murder of his teenage neighbor Martha Moxely. Skakel was sentenced to 20 years to life in prison. PICTURED: March 14, 2002 - Norwalk, Connecticut, U.S. - MICHAEL SKAKEL at his court hearing for the murder of Martha Moxely. Moxley (15) was found murdered outside her home on October 30th, 1975. Skakel (42) was found guilty of the 1975 murder of Moxley June 7th 2002. (Credit Image: ? Nancy Kaszerman/ZUMAPRESS.com)
Photo: Nancy Kaszerman/ZUMA PRess/Corbis

After years of fruitless appeals of his 2002 murder conviction, Michael Skakel, a cousin of Robert Kennedy Jr., might just walk out of prison on bail sometime in the next few days. A judge on Wednesday granted him a new trial in the 1975 killing of 15-year-old Martha Moxley, whom Skakel was convicted of bashing in the head with a golf club when they were both teenagers in Greenwich, Connecticut. Skakel's defense lawyer, Michael Sherman, had been "in a myriad of ways ineffective," Judge Thomas Bishop ruled on Wednesday. "Skakel's current attorney, Hubert Santos, said he expects to file a motion for bail on Thursday. If a judge approves it, Skakel could then post bond and be released from prison," the Associated Press reports.

On the night Moxley died, Skakel reportedly bragged to a classmate, "I'm going to get away with murder. I'm a Kennedy." But that affiliation ultimately did not help him. He was sentenced to twenty years for the killing, in a trial RFK Jr. attended only briefly — the only Kennedy to do so. The forensic case against him was weak, wrote Landon Thomas Jr. in 2002. "Yet for twenty-odd years, that inability to keep his mouth shut has kept him at the scene of the crime."