HARTFORD, Conn., Nov. 19 (UPI) -- The Connecticut Supreme Court ruled Monday that Kennedy kin Michael Skakel will be tried as an adult on charges he murdered neighbor Martha Moxley in 1975, when both were 15.
The decision means that if convicted of beating Moxley to death with his mother's golf club, Skakel could face a sentence of 10 years to life in prison.
Ethel Kennedy's nephew had attempted to keep the case in juvenile court where a conviction could result in no more than four years in custody.
The state's high court, however, in a unanimous decision dismissed his appeal of a lower court's decision to transfer the case from juvenile to adult court.
Skakel had argued that because he was 15 at the time of the alleged crime, the case should remain in juvenile court. He was 39 when arrested in January 2000.
Juvenile Court Judge Maureen Dennis had ruled that Skakel be tried in adult court in part because Connecticut has no juvenile facilities to accommodate a 41-year-old man.
Skakel, the nephew of the late U.S. Sen. Robert F. Kennedy and Ethel Skakel Kennedy, lived near Moxley in the gated Belle Haven section of Greenwich, Conn., when she was killed in October 1975. It wasn't until January 2000, however, that police charged him with the slaying.
After a probable cause hearing in April, Superior Court Judge John Kavanewsky Jr. said there was enough evidence for Skakel's case to proceed to trial. The trial is expected to get under way next year.
That evidence included witness testimony that Skakel, at a substance abuse facility in Maine, confessed to killing Moxley with a golf club. Police said the golf club was traced to his mother.