Is Michael Skakel Guilty?
Is Michael Skakel Guilty?
We probably will never be able to prove that he is or that he isn't guilty of the murder of Martha Moxley even though a court supposedly did this. Of the three persons of interest in this case, the least likely of the three has been put on trial by Mark Fuhrman's questionable profiling (click here for a few samples) and a community apparently willing to sacrifice a rich lamb for notoriety and for the salvation of the beleaguered police department. Fuhrman takes profiling, something he is not the least bit capable of doing, into a new realm. Without a shred of evidence, he paints the murder of Martha Moxley onto Michael Skakel and makes himself a savior and a sack of dough. What does it matter if his statements are ludicrous and his purpose is to make a name for himself and a nice payday? If I can say nothing nice about Fuhrman (and I can't), I can at least say he has an eye for picking a high profile case and doesn't waste his time trying to solve the case of a child murdered in an Appalachian trailer park.
Let's just take a quick minute to look at the simple facts. This is one mighty fancy homicide for a drunk, fifteen-year-old kid. While one might believe that in a drunken rage, Michael could have attacked Martha, it is another thing to believe he would have then dragged her body eighty-some feet to delay the finding of the body, cover that body with some brush to further delay discovery, and get rid of the handle of the golf club because it had the Skakel name on it and might have his fingerprints on it as well. Then, he had to do something with his bloody clothes and sneak back into the house without anyone catching him in the act of disposing the incriminating paraphernalia. Not only would he have to be a very astute and criminally clever fifteen-year-old, he would have to function exceedingly well while plastered out of his mind.
However, there were two far more likely people to have committed this crime: Tommy Skakel or Ken Littleton. Tommy was older and stronger and not quite so drunk. He had a sexual encounter (or so he claims much, much later) with Martha and was the last person seen with her. Had Martha pushed him off and started to walk home, it is entirely possible Tommy accessed the golf club and went after her. Likewise, Littleton, after watching the shenanigans of the evening and not getting any for himself, may have grabbed a golf club from the house and went after Martha. Interestingly enough, Tommy's alibi is Littleton, and Littleton's alibi is Tommy. Did Tommy ask Littleton to cover for his time because he WASN'T anywhere where he could alibi himself? Was Littleton only to happy to "help him out" since he needed an alibi himself? Or was it vice versa? Or did Tommy commit the crime and offer Littleton some money if he covered for him? All we know is that only they know and only they came up with inconclusive or failing polygraphs. One other interesting issue is that of Littleton staying on with the Skakels. Furhrman states in his book that IF Littleton were guilty, the Skakels wouldn't have kept him in their employ. But at the time of his employment, the focus was on Tommy and Rushton Skakel was trying to figure out if his own kid was a murderer. The REAL question here is WHY would Littleton stay in the employ of a family where he KNOWS one of the boys is an extremely violent killer? Wouldn't he be frightened for his own well-being?
Of the three persons of interest, Ken Littleton has the more of the behaviors connected with the kind of psychopathic criminals that commit this type of crime. Littleton is a liar, a manipulator, a thief, and a braggart. He also has severe issues and problems with women, power, and control. He was also older than the other two boys making him the more likely candidate to do the more controlled handling of the crime scene after the victim was no longer functional. Mark Fuhrman would have us believe that the perpetrator of this crime would have had to have a personal rage against the victim and therefore have a personal relationship with her. Apparently, Fuhrman has not seen too many crimes of serial killers to note some of the incredible rage meted out by a total stranger on a woman he has just "met". Littleton only had to be in the vicinity of Martha and be able to access her. Whether he might have fantasized Martha giving in to him sexually and when she refused, he became furious, or that he knew she wouldn't and that only made him mad to start with, either are plausible. Many a serial killer has used a trumped up excuse as a validation for the crime he is PLANNING to commit. Littleton, of the three, rightly was the top person of interest for years. But, he was never arrested because, like Michael and Tommy Skakel, the evidence was never strong enough to get him charged. It was just enough to pursue an investigation of the man.
As much as I want myself to see justice down in this vicious crime, I am horrified by the appalling miscarriage of due process we see in the Skakel conviction. First of all, while there were enough interesting pieces of information to make Michael Skakel a person of interest, there was never even enough evidence to call him a suspect! Then, in an absolutely mind-boggling moment in legal history, this dismal "evidence" is accepted in a court of law and Michael Skakel is on trial for his life. Shaking my head, I expected this case to simply end in an acquittal for Skakel as there was no physical evidence tying him to the crime, no eyewitnesses, and not even any circumstantial evidence of merit. There were simply the few alleged screwy statements of an immature, substance-abusing child given under duress at an equally screwy "rehabilitation" center about a night the drunken kid may not even properly remember. Of course, these statements came from real trustworthy drug abusing individuals a couple decades after the supposed fact. What sane jury could convict on that? Apparently, a Connecticut one.
What in the world could have convinced this group of supposedly competent people that a conviction should be based on hearsay, sympathy for the victim, and a dislike of the defendant? Was there no doubt in the minds of these people? Didn't the fact that Ken Littleton and Tommy Skakel also having questionable behaviors, alibis, and statements at least make then a little shaky in their determination? Apparently none of the usual reasons for finding a person not guilty were at play here. What could have so overtaken the minds of these jurors that they did not convict on evidence, but on personal beliefs? And what were these personal beliefs?
Putting myself in the seats of these jurors all I can come up with is this. "I believe Michael Skakel did this crime because he is creepy character, lied, masturbated in trees, and he is a rich bastard who does think he can get away with killing this poor girl." I truly believe if Skakel hadn't been so much a "Kennedy" and so well heeled, the jury would have focused on the facts and not the frivolity of putting the rich and famous in their place.
Hopefully, Skakel will at some point in time get a fair trial based with a jury that will base their decision on evidence and not emotions as it is supposed to be done in a "court of law".