Expert Casts Doubt on Skakel Confession

Monday, Apr 22, 2013  |  Updated 3:57 PM EDT
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Expert Casts Doubt on Skakel Confession

AP

Michael Skakel reacts as parole is denied during a hearing at McDougall-Walker Correctional Institution in Suffield, Conn., Wednesday, Oct. 24, 2012. Parole officials denied Skakel's first bid for parole since he was convicted a decade ago of killing his neighbor in 1975. Skakel is serving 20 years to life for fatally beating Martha Moxley with a golf club in Greenwich when they were 15-year-old neighbors. (AP Photo/Jessica Hill, Pool)

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An expert on coerced confessions is casting doubt on testimony that Kennedy cousin Michael Skakel confessed to the 1975 murder of his neighbor, Martha Moxley.

Richard Ofshe, said Monday in Rockville Superior Court that the alleged statements were made at a reform school where Skakel was subject to beatings and humiliation. Ofshe said the testimony was not reliable because of the environment. He also said one of the accounts contained details at odds with the crime.

Skakel's attorneys are challenging his 2002 murder conviction, saying his trial attorney failed to competently defend him during his original trial.

The attorneys argued Monday that the trial attorney, Michael Sherman, should have called an expert to rebut the testimony about Skakel's confession. Sherman, says he believed he had destroyed the credibility of the testimony through cross-examinations.

Skakel, the 52-year-old nephew of Robert F. Kennedy's widow, Ethel, is serving 20 years to life for bludgeoning Moxley with a golf club when they were 15-year-old neighbors in Greenwich.

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