Kennedy Cousin Michael Skakel Asks to be Set Free

Kennedy Cousin Michael Skakel Asks to be Set Free

Michael Skakel is the Kennedy cousin who has spent 10 years behind bars for murder, and now he's begging for his freedom.
"I did not commit this crime," said Skakel.

Skakel, Ethel Kennedy’s nephew, appeared before a parole board in a tan jumpsuit, looking every bit of his 52 years.

"I'm at your mercy. If anything this justice system, this life, has taught me that I have no power," said Skakel in his hearing.

He was convicted in 2002 of bludgeoning his 15-year-old neighbor, Martha Moxley, over the head with a golf club in posh Greenwich, Connecticut, in 1975.

At the hearing Wednesday, at a state prison near Hartford, Skakel continued to insist he's innocent.

"I know the best chance of my getting this parole is to admit guilt to this crime. But again, ten-and-a-half years later, I can't do that," said Skakel.

Martha's mother, Dorothy Moxley, fought back tears as she asked the board to reject Skakel’s plea.

"Martha, my baby, will never have a life. To lose a child is the worst thing in the world," said Dorothy.

Dorothy got her wish. Skakel was denied parole.

"Okay Mr. Skakel, I am going to make a motion to deny you parole for the following reasons: in the opinion of this panel, your release after having served just over ten years is incompatible with the welfare of society and the community to which you would return," said the chairwoman at the parole hearing.

Skakel didn't flinch when he heard the decision.

Martha Moxley's triumphant mom flashed a thumbs-up sign as she left the prison. Her son, John, spoke to reporters. 

"Well you know, there's no upside in this. You know, so what he got another five years in prison. What does that do for Martha? It does nothing for us," said John.

Skakel's brother held up a picture of Michael around the time of the killing to illustrate how youthful he looked.

"Michael Skakel is innocent. And he cannot accept responsibility for something he didn't do," said his brother.

Skakel is Ethel Kennedy’s nephew. Her maiden name is Skakel. In an HBO documentary that aired just last week, her daughter Rory refers to her mom's family name.

Rory said, "Mommy was a Skakel, and also grew up in a wealthy large Irish Catholic family."

Martha Moxley was killed on Halloween, when Skakel was also 15. The crime went unsolved for decades, until the case was reopened thanks to the efforts of Martha’s devoted mom.

Skakel's parole hearing came as another Kennedy family member, Douglas Kennedy, stands trial for allegedly attacking two nurses at the New York hospital where his son was born.