Kennedy cousin granted bond in 1975 murder case

  • Judge sets several conditions for bail, including that Michael Skakel cannot leave state
  • Dorthy Moxley, mother of slain Martha Moxley, says she is "disappointed"
  • Nephew of Robert and Ethel Kennedy was convicted of murder in the 1975 killing
  • Skakel, who was convicted in 2002, has steadfastly denied he killed the 15-year-old

By Leigh Remizowski

A Connecticut judge on Thursday set bail at $1.2 million for Michael Skakel, a Kennedy relative whose murder conviction in the 1975 death of Martha Moxley was vacated last month.

Skakel's lawyer said bail would be posted immediately, meaning that he would walk out the courthouse a free man.

Stamford Superior Court Judge Gary White set several conditions for the bail, including that Skakel cannot leave Connecticut without court approval, that he wear a GPS tracking device, refrain from contacting the victim's family, and that he report to a bail commissioner.

Skakel, the 53-year-old nephew of Robert and Ethel Kennedy, has spent more than a decade in prison, having been convicted in 2002 of murdering the teenager.

Moments after bail was granted, about two dozen relatives of Skakel, seated together in one side of the courtroom, applauded the decision. Skakel turned to them, placed his right hand to heart and smiled.

Outside the courthouse, Dorthy Moxley, the victim's ailing mother, said she was "disappointed."

"It's been a little over 11 years now" since Skakel was convicted, she said. "The whole thing didn't have to be this way, but I think it's a lesson to parents. If your child does something wrong, face up to it. ... I'm disappointed, but this is life."

She added, "I don't think he was a Jeffrey Dahmer or one of the mass murderers ... he was just a kid who had problems. We don't have anything to be afraid of now."

Appellate Court Judge Thomas Bishop overturned Skakel's conviction last month, ruling that defense attorney Michael "Mickey" Sherman's representation of Skakel at his murder trial was "constitutionally deficient."

Moxley's body was found in 1975 after a night of partying with Skakel, his older brother Tommy and other teenagers in an affluent gated community in Greenwich, Connecticut. Authorities said the 15-year-old was bludgeoned and stabbed to death; a broken golf club was found near her body.

Skakel has always proclaimed his innocence.

CNN's Ronni Berke, Marina Carver, Sunny Hostin and Ross Levitt contributed to this report.

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