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No retrial for Kennedy kin in 1975 Connecticut killing

FILE PHOTO: Michael Skakel reacts to being granted bail during his hearing at Stamford Superior Court, in Stamford, Connecticut November 21, 2013. REUTERS/Bob Luckey/Pool/File Photo

(Reuters) - A Connecticut prosecutor said on Friday that he would not retry Michael Skakel, a Kennedy family member, for the 1975 killing of a neighbor in the wealthy New York City suburb of Greenwich, ending the notorious case 45 years to the day after the murder.

In a Stamford Superior Court hearing, Connecticut Chief State’s Attorney Richard Colangelo told Judge Gary White that he could not prove his case beyond a reasonable doubt, with 17 of his 51 potential witnesses having died, the Hartford Courant newspaper reported.

“This is a day for justice for a lot of reasons,” said Skakel’s attorney Stephen Seegar outside the courthouse after the hearing. “One of them is that you have an innocent man.”

Skakel, 60, a nephew of Ethel Kennedy, widow of slain U.S. Senator Robert F. Kennedy, has been under legal scrutiny since his neighbor Martha Moxley was beaten to death with a golf club near his home on Oct. 30, 1975. Both Skakel and Moxley were 15 years old at the time.

“We’re at peace with the decision,” John Moxley, brother of Martha Moxley, said outside the courtroom, according to the Greenwich Time newspaper.

Colangelo’s office did not immediately respond to a request for comment by Reuters.

Moxley’s killing went unsolved until former Los Angeles police detective Mark Fuhrman, known for his role in the murder case involving football star O.J. Simpson, implicated Skakel in a 1998 book.

Skakel was arrested in 2000 and convicted two years later. He served more than half of a 20-year prison term before a judge vacated his sentence in 2013 after his attorney argued that his original lawyer did a poor job.

The state’s Supreme Court threw out Skakel’s conviction in 2018. In 2019, the U.S. Supreme Court refused to hear the case.

Reporting by Brendan O’Brien in Chicago; Editing by Daniel Wallis