NORWALK, Conn. – A live-in tutor to Kennedy cousin Michael Skakel testified Thursday that he was told to take Skakel and his siblings out of state after the body of 15-year-old neighbor Martha Moxley was discovered in 1975.
Ken Littleton started his job at the Skakel home on Oct. 30, 1975, the day before Moxley's body was discovered. He said when he arrived at the Skakel house after school on Halloween, the Greenwich neighborhood was in an uproar — police everywhere, the Skakel driveway filled with cars.
"When I entered the home there was approximately 10 to 15 men in suits and ties, discussing what I don't know," Littleton testified at Skakel's murder trial.
He said one of the men, whom he described as counselors or lawyers, directed him to take Michael Skakel, his cousin and some of his siblings to upstate New York, about 2.5 hours away, where the Skakels had another home.
Skakel, the 41-year-old nephew of Robert F. Kennedy's widow, Ethel, could face life in prison if he is convicted of bludgeoning Moxley to death. Like Moxley, he was 15 at the time of the slaying.
Littleton said there had been no travel plans for that weekend until after the slaying was discovered. He said he and his charges stayed in Windham, N.Y., for the weekend and said he never heard the children discuss the killing.
Moxley was beaten to death with a golf club later traced to a set owned by the Skakel family.
Littleton, who takes medications for manic depression, also testified that he was asked by a family nanny to check on a noise she heard outside the night Moxley was killed. He said he went outside briefly.
"I heard some scuffling in the leaves," he said. "It sort of spooked me, to be honest with you."
Littleton was an early suspect in the slaying, and Skakel's defense lawyers have said Littleton incriminated himself in statements made years later. A judge will hear arguments Friday on whether those statements can be used as evidence and jurors will not return until Monday.
Prosecutors also sought to show Littleton's innocence as well as that of Michael Skakel's older brother, Thomas, another early suspect.
Littleton testified that he had never seen Moxley and that Thomas Skakel was "perfectly composed" that night, when he joined him briefly to watch television.
Earlier Thursday, a friend of Skakel's sister gave testimony that contradicted Skakel's expected alibi. Andrea Shakespeare Renna said she saw Skakel in his home after a car carrying his cousin, James Terrien, left for another part of Greenwich the night of the slaying.
Skakel's lawyers are expected to argue that Skakel was at the Terrien house at least part of that night.
Renna also said Skakel approached her after school the following day and appeared "sort of hyper."
"He said Martha had been killed and that he and Tommy were the last to see Martha that night," Renna said.
Previously, only Thomas Skakel has been described as the last to see Moxley.
Defense attorney Michael Sherman said Renna, in earlier statements to investigators, seemed less certain that Michael Skakel had not left with Terrien.
"I was there when the boys left to take their cousin home," Renna responded, adding that she was sure Skakel did not get in the car.
The jury also heard from Jacqueline Wetenhall O'Hara, a friend of Moxley who read entries from the slain girl's diary about pool-hopping, parties and how Thomas Skakel had flirted with her several times. She also wrote about informal gatherings at the Skakel home.
At one such gathering, Moxley wrote, Michael Skakel was "out of it" and behaving like "an ass."
"I really have to stop going over there," she wrote.