(NEW YORK) — Prosecutors filed an objection Wednesday to releasing Kennedy cousin Michael Skakel from prison while he awaits a new trial in the 1975 bludgeoning death of his neighbor, Martha Moxley.
After years of unsuccessful appeals, Judge Thomas Bishop ruled last week that Skakel’s former attorney, Michael Sherman, didn’t adequately represent him during his 2002 trial.
Skakel, who is the nephew of Ethel Kennedy, was sentenced to 20 years to life in prison.
With his conviction set aside, Skakel’s attorneys expressed hope that he could be released on bail.
Prosecutors, however, said Wednesday that Skakel remains a convicted murderer, meaning that the court does not have the authority to grant bond.
“Because petitioner stands convicted of murder, and remains in the status of a sentenced inmate during the duration of the automatic stay and the stay pending appeal, this court has neither the statutory nor common law authority to grant bond,” the brief states.
Skakel’s current attorney, Hubert Santos, said in a brief that it “would be a miscarriage of justice of the highest order” if his client wasn’t released during the interim. He asked for a $500,000 bond.
It was not clear when Judge Thomas Bishop planned to rule on the bail request.
At age 15, Martha Moxley was found beaten to death on Oct. 30, 1975, in Greenwich, Conn., with a golf club, later traced to a set owned by Skakel’s late mother. No arrests were made in the Moxley murder case for 24 years until another Connecticut judge, acting as a one-man grand jury, completed an 18-month investigation and concluded there was enough evidence to arrest Skakel. On Jan. 19, 2000, Skakel surrendered to police.
Skakel, who was also 15 at the time of the murder, maintains his innocence. He was denied parole last year and was told he would not be eligible again to be considered for release for five years.
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Dylan Byers, CNN
Madeline Holcombe, CNN
Steve Almasy and Nick Valencia, CNN
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