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John Skakel to seek new trial for 1975 killing of Martha Moxley

GREENWICH, Conn., April 14 (UPI) -- Lawyers said they will ask for a new trial for Michael Skakel, a nephew of Ethel Kennedy, in the 1975 slaying of Martha Moxley in Connecticut.

Skakel was convicted in a high-profile trial in 2002 of killing Moxley, a 15-year-old neighbor, by beating her with a golf club. Ethel Kennedy, 85, was married to the late U.S. Sen. Robert Kennedy, D-N.Y.

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Skakel's new lawyers will argue his trial attorney, the well-known defense lawyer Mickey Sherman, did not provide adequate representation and made several mistakes that could have offered reasonable doubt, the Hartford (Conn.) Courant said Saturday.

The purported mistakes include allowing Skakel's brothers to tell jurors they could no longer remember events the night of the murder when their original interviews with police corroborated Skakel's alibi. Skakel's lawyers question why Sherman never requested a copy of a police sketch of a man spotted in the area the night of the killing that closely resembles Moxley's former tutor, Kenneth Littleton, who was a prime suspect in the initial investigation.

State prosecutors said Skakel's bid is one of desperation and should be rejected by a judge.

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To allow Skakel to keep requesting new trials "for no good reason other than his desire to keep the controversy alive and hope for a different result before a different decision maker, makes a mockery of the finality to which the state, the taxpayers, and the victims are entitled," is unfair, prosecutors wrote in court filings ahead of the hearing.

Skakel is serving a sentence of 20 years to life in prison.

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