He's a free man once again… for now. Ethel Kennedy's nephew Michael Skakel has once again learned that the murder conviction for allegedly beating his teenage neighbor to death when he was a child has been vacated by a CT court. The Kennedy cousin might soon be facing yet another trial, 43 years after the crime took place.
A 15-year-old girl named Martha Moxley was bludgeoned with a golf club in 1975. Skakel was also 15 at the time, and lived nearby. The case was cold for years, and Skakel wasn't linked to the crime until he was in his late thirties, and found guilty for her murder in 2002. A three-week trial laid out his history of drinking and drug use, and he was sentenced to 20 years to life in prison.
Shockingly, his conviction was vacated by a lower court in 2013, and he was released on bail. Three years later, a higher court decided that his attorney hadn't proven his alibi, so they overturned the lower court's ruling to have another trial. Now, that same court has vacated the conviction once again, and AP reports that they are also ordering a new trial. So for now, Skakel will be able to stay at home, but who knows what could end up happening.
For now, many people are upset that Skakel will stay free. CNN Legal Analyst Jeffrey Toobin took to Twitter to share his thoughts. "I covered the trial of Michael #Skakel. He was guilty as hell," he wrote. "The reversal of his conviction is a disgrace. My late pal Dominick Dunne weeps and rages from above on behalf of the Moxley family. #richpeoplejustice." "Money really can buy you anything," said another unenthused tweeter.
Martha's family is also disappointed. According to Hartford Courant reporter John Ferraro, Martha's mom Dorothy Moxley said, "I really thought he would go back to jail because it seemed so simple, so obvious to me. I have no doubts at all that Michael Skakel is the one who murdered my daughter." We'll just have to wait and see what comes of the new trial.