HARTFORD, Conn., Dec. 31 (UPI) — A sharply divided Connecticut Supreme Court reinstated the murder conviction of Kennedy cousin Michael Skakel in the 1975 killing of a teenage neighbor, saying Skakel received adequate legal representation at trial.
The 4-3 decision opens the door to the 56-year-old to be returned to prison to finish his 20 year sentence. He spent about 10 years behind bars before being released in 2013 after a judge vacated his conviction. Skakel’s legal team said his original defense attorney, Michael Sherman, botched the case.
The court ruled, “Sherman’s performance was not deficient and thus could not have deprived the petitioner of a constitutionally adequate defense.”
Skakel was convicted in 2002 in the 1975 slaying of neighbor Martha Moxley when they were both 15. He was not arrested until he was in his 30s. The case garnered international attention because of the connection to the Kennedy family. Skakel is the nephew of Robert F. Kennedy‘s widow, Ethel.