Skakel lawyers say there may be new evidence in Moxley murder case
GREENWICH — The murder of Martha Moxley in 1975 has generated new scenarios, new suspects and new mysteries for 50 years, and now according to a defense lawyer: another potential murder weapon.
Lawyers for Michael Skakel are coming forward with what they say may be a new piece of evidence that could have an impact on resolution of the long-running case: a golf club handle, purportedly found seven miles away from the place where the Moxley, 15, was found dead.
The golf club handle was reportedly found at the residence of the Terrien family, where Michael Skakel and other young people were watching television on the night that Moxley, a Greenwich High School sophomore, was killed. Michael Skakel was watching a Monty Python movie with his cousin, James Terrien, that night.
Defense lawyer Stephan Seeger said he had been contacted late last year by a local attorney who had heard about the existence of the golf-club handle. The attorney provided the names of three people who had come across the golf-club handle, which was purportedly turned over to Greenwich police in 1999, the year that the investigation into Moxley’s death was re-instituted.
“They had formed the opinion that it had something to do with the murder, that’s why they brought it there (to police). They thought it was connected to the murder,” said Seeger.
It was unclear why the golf-club handle at the Terrien estate was viewed as being linked to the crime. Seegar is seeking to depose two people who had information about the golf-club handle: Philip Drake, now 91, a Terrien family lawyer, and the daughter of the Terrien’s property manager, Barbara Roome Waleski, 57, of Lancaster, Pa. The property manager, Peter Roome, died late last month at the age of 91.
Seeger said Roome and his daughter came to police headquarters in 1999 and turned over the golf-club piece to Greenwich police. According to court papers filed by Seeger on Thursday, the golf-club handle has not been located, and any police report on the matter was not discovered, either.
Greenwich police did not have an immediate comment on the issue.
Seeger says he’s looking for a Superior Court Judge, Gary White, who has been assigned to the Skakel criminal case, to issue subpoenas for Drake and Waleksi to provide depositions on the matter. He wanted as much information on the golf-club handle as possible, even if its whereabouts are unknown.
“It’s malpractice not to look for it,” he said, while acknowledging “there are a lot of hypothethicals” involved in the missing club.
Skakel spent 11 years in jail after being convicted of killing Moxley, but he was freed in 2013 when a judge ruled that he had not received a fair trial due to distractions and mistakes by his defense lawyer, Michael Sherman. In December, that decision was overturned by the state Supreme Court. A counter-motion filed by Skakel’s legal team is still being considered, and Skakel is free, living with a relative in Bedford, N.Y.
The motion by Seeger — based on information he obtained by the unnamed lawyer -- says the existence of the golf-club shaft was provided to Michael Sherman before the trial.
Reached on Thursday, Sherman said he knew nothing about it.
“I don’t know anything about it, but I would be happy if this allowed Michael to be exonerated,” he said.
Seeger said he was approached by the lawyer with the information about the golf-club handle not long after the decision was made to re-institute the murder conviction against Skakel in December. He felt “perceived ethical obligations” to bring it to light, according to Seeger.
Prosecutors have contended that Skakel was bludgeoned and stabbed with a golf club, a portion of which was found near her body. Police said the Tony Pena 6 iron came from a set that belonged to the Skakels, who lived across the street from the Moxley home in Belle Haven.
The judge could assign a date to consider the motion in coming days.