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Skakel: “Baffled” By Legal Process In His Case

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Michael Skakel, left, addresses the court with attorney his Hubert Santos in Middletown, Conn., Tuesday, Jan. 24, 2012.  Skakel is seeking a reduction in his sentence of 20 years to life in prison for killing his neighbor Martha Moxley. (AP Photo/Jessica Hill, Pool)

Michael Skakel, left, addresses the court with attorney his Hubert Santos in Middletown, Conn., Tuesday, Jan. 24, 2012. Skakel is seeking a reduction in his sentence of 20 years to life in prison for killing his neighbor Martha Moxley. (AP Photo/Jessica Hill, Pool)

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By DAVID COLLINS, Associated Press

MIDDLETOWN, Conn. (AP) _ A lawyer for Kennedy cousin Michael Skakel told a panel of Connecticut judges Tuesday that his client’s 20-year to life prison sentence for killing his teen neighbor in 1975 was excessive.

Skakel was convicted in 2002 of beating 15-year-old Martha Moxley to death with a golf club in wealthy Greenwich.

Skakel’s lawyer told a three-judge panel that his client was 15 at the time and would have been tried in juvenile court where the maximum sentence would have been four years.

Skakel, cuffed and shackled while wearing an orange prison jumpsuit, maintains his innocence. He said he was “baffled” by the legal process and pleaded with the judges to allow “the truth” to come out. He said he prays for Moxley’s mother every day.

The hearing Tuesday was only an appeal on the length of the sentence, and not an appeal of the conviction.

A prosecutor told the judges the sentence was appropriate and pointed out that Skakel could have been tried as an adult in 1975.

The judges did not immediately rule. A decision is expected in about two months.

Skakel is a nephew of Robert Kennedy’s widow, Ethel Kennedy.

(Copyright 2012 by The Associated Press.  All Rights Reserved.)

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