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Moxley Case: Chat with first reporter on the scene

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Editor's Note: As part of's new Crime section, we are archiving some of the most interesting content from This story was first published in 2002.

(Court TV) -- Court TV Host: We're going to be talking about the Michael Skakel trial. Our guest is a woman who has been covering the case longer than just about anybody: reporter Jane Crawford, who was actually the very first reporter at the scene of the crime back in 1975.

Court TV Host: Welcome, Ms. Crawford. Thanks for being with us today.

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Jane Crawford: Hello, good to be here.

Question from: lisa: Jane, do you feel the latest development with Littleton was an initial smokescreen way back then to throw heat off Skakel and the Kennedys?

Jane Crawford: At one time, Tommy Skakel was thought to be the prime suspect. Now with Littleton, the defense is taking the shotgun approach to point to Littleton to save Skakel .

Question from: ctv_warhorse2: What is on the tape that has been discovered? Does Littleton confess or come close to it? Who discovered it & where was it?

Question from: Sisu: Could you tell us who the investigator is that arranged the taping of Ken Littleton?

Jane Crawford: There was a phone conversation with Littleton and his then wife, where he apparently says he could have been in a blackout and wonders if he could have killed Martha. He doesn't know if he did or not. Is what he apparently said on the taped conversation? I don't know which investigator handled that. Littleton's lawyer says he does not recall saying any of this. I think Ken Littleton must be a very fragile person at this time. He says his life went downhill after the murder of Martha. He has had trouble with the law. I wonder about his stability.

Question from: ctv_warhorse2: If this tape is admitted into evidence won`t it be a powerful tool for the defense to plant reasonable doubt in jurors' minds?

Jane Crawford: Yes, it would, which is why Mickey Sherman is all over this. But there is the question of Littleton's stability: does he know what he said in the past? Is he reliable? Those are questions.

Question from: gage: Did you know Littleton personally? What was your impression of him at the time?

Jane Crawford: No, I have never met or seen him. He has not been in court in Stamford for the probable cause hearing or in Norwalk for the jury selection. He appeared before the grand jury earlier.

Question from: Sisu: There is no confession on the tape, don't you think this tactic may backfire on Sherman?

Jane Crawford: I think there is enough for Mickey Sherman to parse the language. He might as well take a shot. It could work to plant the idea that Littleton is the killer.

Question from: Quinn: Jane, please describe what you saw at the Skakel home on 10/31 - did there appear to be attorneys there?

Jane Crawford: I quickly drove to Belle Haven, and police were still arriving. There were some neighbors with whom I spoke who told me to go down to the Skakel house. I did and spoke with several of the sons. They were excited to see a reporter with a microphone. We spoke, and I left. No lawyers were there yet.

Question from: LawNurse: Ms.Crawford, how well have you gotten to know Martha's mother?

Jane Crawford: I speak with Mrs. Moxley everyday at court, and she has said she is pleased with the jurors who have been selected and hopes they do a good job. She seems to be a very lovely woman. We speak and have corresponded. She is truly a lovely woman who has the strength she needs to get through the trial. She really is inspiring to people who have lost loved ones in tragedies.

Question from: gage: Has any of the "real" evidence from the crime scene been saved from 1975?

Jane Crawford: There is a portion of the Tonny Penna golf club, some blue jeans that could have been important apparently are missing. The prosecution may have some surprises.

Question from: Voege5: Why does the prosecution believe they can convict Skakel in 2002 when they couldn't even charge him in 1975?

Question from: gage: Was there any specific reason why there were no charges made originally in 1975?

Jane Crawford: That was then and this is now. When the ball got rolling again - maybe thanks to writing by Dominick Dunne and Mark Fuhrman - the case moved forward. New investigators, new determination. At least it's being tried now. So we go forward with what we have.

Question from: lisa: How does the distinct golf club as murder weapon work to solidify the case against Skakel?

Jane Crawford: The club is from a set from the Mrs. Skakel's golf bag, so it's obvious that it was taken from the Skakel house. By whom, of course, is the question.

Question from: jerseygirl: Jane, did you obtain any information that had been disclosed at time of murders, but police did not disclose? And is there anything that came out in the fuhrman book that was also disclosed at time of murders that police did not pursue?

Jane Crawford: In terms of the police investigation, there has always been doubt about how hard the Greenwich police really worked and how closely they looked at the Skakel boys. Mrs. Moxley has told me she would never say anything negative about the police there. What's the explanation for no arrest for so many years? I think it could very well be because of the newness of such a crime - a rare event in Greenwich - and lack of cooperation at some point from the Skakels and some other factors.

Question from: Fleabargin: What makes Skakel's confession more credible than Littleton's?

Jane Crawford: That's a good question. Both men have said they were drinking, troubled, possible drug use. Skakel is supposed to have said he may have had a black out. He may have killed Martha. Littleton wonders if he had a blackout and killed her. It's the blackout defense.

Question from: Voege5: Has the Kennedy clan taken an interest in the case up to this point?

Jane Crawford: Michael Skakel is Ethel Kennedy's nephew, as many of you know. Robert Kennedy Jr. and his brother, Douglas, I believe, came to court in Stamford for a brief period one day during probable cause hearings. Who knows if they'll show or not. If I know Mickey Sherman, he would like for some Kennedy family members to be there for Hollywood value. I would be very surprised if Ethel showed up.

Question from: Sisu: Are you reporting on the case now and if so, where will we find your work?

Jane Crawford: I'm doing some pre-trial reporting - and will write for several newspapers, and I may turn up on Court TV again a time or two. I've really enjoyed this chat with all of you. Let's keep in touch, and i know we'll have a lot to talk about as the trial goes on. Good luck everyone and thanks for being with me.

Court TV Host: Thank you very much for joining us today, Jane Crawford. We hope that you'll come back as the trial progresses! E-mail to a friend E-mail to a friend

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