Imprisoned Kennedy Cousin Could Walk on Bail Ahead of Murder Retrial

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Photo: Nancy Kaszerman/© 2013 by Nancy Kaszerman

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."