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CNN Today

Ethel Kennedy Nephew Expected to Surrender to Police In Connection With 1975 Murder

Aired January 19, 2000 - 2:00 p.m. ET

THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.

LOU WATERS, CNN ANCHOR: The nephew of Ethel Kennedy is expected to surrender to police in Connecticut in about an hour. Michael Skakel was named in an arrest warrant today for the death 25 years ago of a teenage girl in his affluent Greenwich, Connecticut neighborhood. Authorities in Florida went to the home where the now 39-year-old Skakel was living only to discover he already was on his way back to Connecticut.

We pick up the trail with CNN's Deborah Feyerick.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

DEBORAH FEYERICK, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): From the time he was 15 years old, Michael Skakel has denied he had anything to do with the death of his next-door neighbor Martha Moxley. But nearly 25 years after the Connecticut girl was found beaten to death with a golf club, the nephew of Ethel Kennedy, now almost 40, is surrendering to authorities in connection with Moxley's murder. For now, the state's attorney says he'll be charged as a minor.

JONATHAN BENEDICT, CONNECTICUT STATE ATTORNEY: Any person was the age of 14 or 15 at the time of committing a transferable offense is entitled to the protection of the juvenile court privacy rules.

MICKEY SHERMAN, MICHAEL SKAKEL'S ATTORNEY: I've never thought that the testimony elicited from those students would amount to probable cause, and certainly not proof beyond a reasonable doubt. Is he concerned? Of course. Is he anxious? Yes, but he believes he'll be exonerated.

FEYERICK: The charges come as a result of an 18-month grand jury investigation. Authorities have long believed Skakel and his brother Thomas Skakel, then 17, were among the last to see Moxley alive. Thomas Skakel was not mentioned in the grand jury report.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The only allegation that's made of any kind of criminal behavior clearly is directed at someone other than Thomas. Now, the fact that it's his own brother, I think, is extremely tragic.

FEYERICK: The one-man grand jury, a judge, interviewed more than 50 witnesses and examined numerous records. Skakel's lawyer dismissed testimony from residents of a drug-rehabilitation center where Skakel was treated several years after Moxley's murder. There has to be forensic evidence, there has to be witnesses. The fact that you have people some 22 years later calling "Unsolved Mysteries" or other shows saying, you know, I think I remember about 18 years ago I heard somebody say something. I don't know that that's going to measure up to what a jury wants to hear.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

WATERS: We expect to learn more Mr. Skakel turns himself in, which is expected to happen at 3:00 p.m. Eastern. It's about an hour from now. The arrest warrant issued today was the result of an 18- month investigation during which some 40 witnesses testified before a grand jury.

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