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Moxley Case: Police failed to get warrant for brother

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Editor's Note: As part of CNN.com's new Crime section, we are archiving some of the most interesting content from CourtTVNews.com. This story was first published in 2001.

(Court TV) -- Michael Skakel's older brother told police in 1975 that when he left Martha Moxley on the night before Halloween she was alive and well talking about capping off "Mischief Night" by throwing eggs and spraying shaving cream around Greenwich's affluent Belle Haven neighborhood.

Greenwich police believed Thomas Skakel lied about that and his claim that he left Martha, 15, to go inside to write a paper about Lincoln log cabins. At least that's what then-captain of detectives, Thomas Keegan, wrote in a May 1976 application for Thomas Skakel's arrest for Martha's murder.

Prosecutors would not approve the application, which surfaced Monday -- 25 years later -- at Kennedy cousin Michael Skakel's murder trial. Prosecutor Christopher Morano turned the document, which had been missing since the defense brought out its existence in testimony last week, to defense lawyer Mickey Sherman at the end of the fourth day of testimony.

The five-page document, which was signed but not notarized, attempted to establish probable cause that Thomas Skakel, now 43 and living in Massachusetts, killed Martha. Bridgeport State's Attorney Jonathan Benedict was able to establish probable cause in January 2000 to charge Michael Skakel, now 41, with the crime.

Both Skakel brothers deny involvement in the killing, as does a former tutor for the family who received immunity from prosecution in exchange for his testimony. Michael Skakel is the only suspect ever charged with the killing of Martha, who was beaten with a golf club.

The tutor, Kenneth Littleton, told jurors that Thomas Skakel was with him from 9:40 p.m. to 10:20 p.m. on Oct. 30, 1975, and he was sure of it because they watched a 20-minute chase scene together during the network TV premier of "The French Connection."

It was established in court, however, that the chase scene lasted only seven minutes and began at 10:25 p.m. If Littleton's testimony that Thomas Skakel joined him 15 minutes to 20 minutes before the chase is true, Thomas Skakel has an alibi for 10:05 p.m. to 10:32 p.m. Prosecutors have said that they cannot pinpoint time of death but police believed for many years that Martha was killed sometime before midnight on Oct. 30, 1975.

According to the arrest warrant application, Thomas Skakel told police initially that he left Martha about 9:30 p.m. to go home to do the assignment about log cabins. But police learned from school officials that there was no such assignment.

Thomas Skakel was seen by two witnesses "pushing or jostling" with Martha but denied it initially, the affidavit goes on to say. Many years later, Thomas Skakel reportedly told private investigators that he and Martha engaged in mutual masturbation but that he was afraid to tell police the truth because they were anxious to identify a suspect.

To support his belief that his investigators had the right suspect, Keegan wrote in the affidavit that Thomas Skakel once slashed the "groin" area of an oil painting of himself. A skull fracture received at age four caused Thomas Skakel to suffer from "frequent and quite sudden outbursts of severe physical violence, incontinence, and threats against siblings," the affidavit also says.

Thomas Skakel, who so far does not have immunity, is on the prosecution's list of prospective witnesses and it is unclear whether he will be called to testify at his brother's trial.

Sherman has avoided pointing any accusing finger at Thomas Skakel but has brought evidence before the jury showing that police believed Thomas Skakel and Kenneth Littleton were the prime suspects before aggressively pursuing Michael Skakel as the likely killer. E-mail to a friend E-mail to a friend

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