Kennedy cousin confesses crush on murdered girl

Michael Skakel, who some believe killed the teenager 24 years ago, says in a book proposal that he tried to kiss her on the fatal night.

Published November 9, 1999 5:00PM (EST)

More than 24 years have passed since the grisly murder of teenager Martha Moxley, and police in Greenwich, Conn., are still struggling to collar the culprit. Now a recent book proposal may provide new evidence about the relationship between Moxley and her Kennedy cousin neighbor, Michael Skakel.

According to the Boston Herald, Skakel, who is Ethel Kennedy's nephew, and writer Richard Hoffman have drafted a book proposal called "Dead Man Talking: A Kennedy Cousin Comes Clean" in which Skakel, now 39, reveals that he tried to kiss the girl the same night she was killed with a golf club that belonged to the Skakel family.

"I really liked her," Skakel recalls in the book proposal. "I wanted to kiss her. I wanted her to be my girlfriend, but I was going slow, being careful." Skakel then invited Moxley to join him in his father's Lincoln, a vehicle that he and his siblings dubbed "the lust mobile."

Skakel's lawyer, Michael Sherman, advised his client to withdraw the proposal and blamed co-author Hoffman for putting words in Skakel's mouth. "I don't believe those were [Michael Skakel's] thoughts or his words," Sherman told the Herald. The lead investigator in the case, Frank Garr, declined to comment on the proceedings, but conceded that he knew about the 38-page document. "We are aware of it," said Garr. The Herald claims through inside sources that the authorities have listened to nine hours of taped interviews between Hoffman and Skakel.

"I firmly believe that Michael Skakel is guilty of this murder," says Dominick Dunne, the Vanity Fair correspondent who wrote "A Season in Purgatory," a roman ` clef about a similar murder and a Kennedy-like family, and also supplied the afterword to Mark Fuhrman's bestselling book "Murder in Greenwich: Who Killed Martha Moxley?" "I have nothing but contempt for the behavior of the Skakel family. From the very beginning it was very much like the Ramsey family. They think they're more important than the law and there should be a special set of circumstances for them."

Dunne reports that he has not read the book proposal, but says he suspects that it could be used as evidence against Skakel. "I'm mentioned in it, I hear, and very unfavorably ... I hope that an indictment will come from the grand jury, but it doesn't look hopeful."

By Craig Offman

Craig Offman is the New York correspondent for Salon Books.

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