Kennedy cousin Michael Skakel is eligible to be released next spring if parole officials approve it. Skakel is serving 20 years to life for fatally beating Martha Moxley with a golf club in Greenwich.(Photo: Jessica Hill, AP)
SUFFIELD, Conn. -- Kennedy cousin Michael Skakel will get his
first parole hearing to determine whether he should be released from
prison a decade after he was convicted of killing his neighbor.
is serving 20 years to life for fatally beating Martha Moxley with a
golf club in 1975 in Greenwich when they were 15. Skakel is a nephew of
Ethel Kennedy, the widow of Robert F. Kennedy.
The hearing will be held Wednesday at McDougall-Walker Correctional Institution in Suffield.
supporters say he deserves to be released from prison because he was a
victim of a miscarriage of justice and has been a model inmate.
the victim's relatives want Skakel kept in prison the rest of his life,
saying he was properly convicted and has shown no remorse.
convicted in 2002, is eligible for parole consideration because of laws
in place at the time of the crime including good behavior credits.
letters to the parole board, Skakel's supporters, including his cousin
Robert F. Kennedy Jr., say Skakel has helped alcoholics recover. They
also portray him as religious and devoted to his son.
cite Skakel's art work in prison, saying he has made uplifting
paintings that show his true nature, give joy to others and encourage
Letters objecting to his parole cite the heinous
nature of the crime and say releasing him early would be devastating to
the victim's family.
"This person committed a heinous crime that
gave many people a sentence of suffering that was irreversible," one of
the letters states. "Why then should this person be given relief, when
none is available for those who suffered the loss of a daughter, a
sister, a dear friend."
The 52-year-old Skakel has insisted on his innocence. Dorthy Moxley, the victim's mother, rejected Skakel's claims of innocence.
Hartford Courant also reported Tuesday that Skakel had filed a
defamation lawsuit against CNN television host Nancy Grace and Tru-TV
host Beth Karas, alleging they made false statements about evidence of
Skakel's DNA near the crime scene.
The lawsuit, filed Tuesday in
Superior Court in Stamford, also names media companies Time Warner and
Turner Broadcasting as defendants.