John Springer reports for Court TV. Excerpt:
In the 26 years since 15-year-old Martha Moxley was found bludgeoned to death on her own lawn, the list of suspects has included a pair of brothers, a tutor and even a gardener.
There was Kenneth Littleton, the live-in tutor for the Skakel family, Kennedy family relatives who lived next door to the Moxleys in a wealthy enclave in Greenwich, Conn. One theory surmised that a transient wandered into the area and attacked the girl.
It would take authorities a quarter of a century to zero in on one suspect, Michael Skakel, the then-15-year-old son of industrialist Rushton Skakel, the brother of Ethel Skakel Kennedy. Now that Skakel’s trial is set to begin next month, prosecutors will attempt to limit the testimony of previous suspects that could potentially raise doubt in the minds of the jury.
Included in pre-trial motions expected to be filed next week by prosecutors, according to a source in the prosecutor’s office, is a motion to bar the defense from questioning two previous suspects – Littleton, and Skakel’s older brother, Thomas – about the results of polygraph tests they took years ago.
Skakel’s defense lawyer, Mickey Sherman, is, understandably, opposed to any such limitations.
“Generally once someone takes the stand, most judges allow a wide latitude for cross-examination and certainly anything that bears on their credibility is often fair game,” Sherman said. Lead prosecutor Jonathan Benedict declined to comment on the pending motions.
The issue is unchartered territory as far as Connecticut case law goes. Connecticut, like most states, prohibits the results of a defendant’s polygraph test from being admitted in court but there is no precedent for admitting evidence about other witnesses’ polygraphs to impeach their credibility.
Skakel pleaded not guilty in February 2001 to a charge he committed the brutal killing the night before Halloween in 1975 in the gated community of Belle Haven, a section of affluent Greenwich. The popular teen was killed with a golf club from the Skakel family’s collection.