NORWALK, Conn., June 4 (UPI) -- A jury deliberated for about six hours Tuesday without reaching a verdict at the murder trial of Kennedy cousin Michael Skakel.
The jury went home for the night and is to return Wednesday morning to resume deliberating for a second day as to whether Skakel killed Martha Moxley with his mother's golf club when they were 15-year-old neighbors in Connecticut more than a quarter century ago.
The jury of six men and six women has to sift through two weeks of circumstantial evidence prosecutors say proved Skakel, 41, smashed in the girl's head in a jealous rage because he saw her flirting with his older brother.
In closing arguments Monday, state's attorney Jonathan Benedict said Skakel's own words and confessions to various people over the years convict him of the crime.
"He has spun a web in which he is ultimately trapped himself," Benedict said. "The evidence of this case is that he murdered Martha Moxley beyond every reasonable doubt."
"He didn't do it. He doesn't know who did. He wasn't there when the crime was committed and he never confessed," defense attorney Michael Sherman said in his summation. "That's the whole case."
The state alleged Skakel killed Moxley with a golf club belonging to his late mother on the night of Oct. 30, 1975, in the fashionable Belle Haven section of Greenwich, Conn., where the two lived across the street from each other.
Benedict said Skakel had "dug himself a hole" by confessing to the crime to at least a dozen people over the years, including former classmates at a reform school in Maine.
"What he recalls is what he said to Andrea Renna, Matt Tucciarone, Larry Zicarelli, Dorothy Rogers, Greg Coleman, John Higgins, Alice Dunn, even his own father, and what he said to them is that he murdered Martha Moxley beyond every reasonable doubt," Benedict said.
He actually placed himself at the scene in 1997 in a taped interview with a ghostwriter he approached with a book proposal, Benedict said.
In his own words, Skakel appeared to disprove his own alibi that he left his home with two brothers and a cousin about 9:30 p.m. to go to the cousin's home 20 minutes away to watch "Monty Python" on television at 10 p.m., and did not return until after 11 p.m.
Prosecutors believe Moxley was slain about 10 p.m., a time when neighborhood dogs were heard barking incessantly.
Andrea Shakespeare Renna, a friend of Skakel's older sister, Julie, testified she believed Skakel never went to his cousin's home that night. She said she and Julie left the Skakel home about 9:45 p.m., and she was adamant on the stand that Skakel was still home at that time.
As part of his closing arguments, Benedict played a section of the tape in which Skakel said that he realized at some point that night that sister's friend Andrea had gone home for the night.
Skakel said that when he returned home from his cousin's, he saw Julie's door shut.
"I remember that Andrea had gone home," Skakel said on the tape.
"If you recall the credible testimony in this trial, the Monty Python tour had already departed when Julie and Andrea had stepped out of the house to take Andrea home," Benedict said. "Somebody who had actually left already would have had no idea of Julie's trip to take Andrea home," Benedict said, making his point to the jury that Skakel did not leave at 9:30 p.m. as he had claimed.
"They have no physical evidence. They have no forensic evidence. They have a sketchy motive," Sherman argued.
He said the state witnesses from the Elan School for troubled teens who claimed Skakel admitted to the slaying were unreliable ex-drug addicts, thieves and alcoholics.
"Michael Skakel had some problems but they never rose to the level ... that he became a demonic killer one night on Halloween," Sherman said.
The dead girl's mother, Dorthy Moxley, and her brother, John Moxley, sitting in the packed courtroom, averted their eyes when the state projected color photos of the victim's bloody body.
After closing arguments, Judge John F. Kavanewsky Jr. instructed the jurors on the law, and said that to convict Skakel they must find him guilty beyond a reasonable doubt.
If convicted, Skakel faces a possible life prison sentence.
Skakel is a nephew of Ethel Kennedy, the widow of the slain U.S. Sen. Robert F. Kennedy.
Robert F. Kennedy Jr. attended Monday's morning session, the first of the Kennedy family to appear at the high-profile trial.