biographical data

Michael Skakel biography: 13 things about Robert F. Kennedy Jr.’s cousin


Michael Skakel is Rushton Skakel Sr. and Anne Reynolds Skakel‘s son. Rushton’s sister Ethel Skakel married Robert Francis Kennedy Sr. on June 17, 1950.

Among Rushton Sr. and Anne’s seven children, Michael is the third youngest. The eldest child Rushton Skakel Jr. was born in 1956 while the only daughter Julie Skakel was born in 1957 followed by Thomas “Tommy” Skakel in 1958, John Skakel in 1959, Michael in 1960, David Skakel in 1964 and Stephen Skakel in 1966.


The Skakels lived in Belle Haven, Greenwich, Connecticut, United States. He and Tommy were friends with their Bell Haven neighbor Martha Elizabeth Moxley, who was of the same age as him.

Michael tried a career as a speed skier and worked in real estate. Here are 13 more things about him:

  1. In 1973, his mother died of malignant melanoma. Right after her death, he started regularly drinking alcohol.
  2. On the evening of October 30, 1975, he allegedly used a Toney Penna golf club to kill Moxley. Earlier that day, he and Tommy were at home in Belle Haven with their tutor Kenneth Littleton while their father was hunting in New York, USA.
  3. According to him, he was able to overcome not only alcoholism but also dyslexia, which went undiagnosed until 1976. In the late 1970s, he went the Elan School, a residential drug-treatment facility in Maine, USA. Gregory Coleman was assigned to guard him at the school after he tried to run away. He confessed to beating a girl’s head with a golf club and said he “was going to get away with murder” because he was “a Kennedy,” according to Coleman. He went on to obtain a degree from Curry College in Massachusetts, USA, a college with programs for dyslexic students.
  4. In 1990, he married professional golfer Margot Sheridan.
  5. He briefly worked at Citizen Energy Corporation, which was headed by his cousin Michael Kennedy, one of the 11 children of Ethel and Robert Sr. Michael, who was accused of starting an affair in 1994 with a babysitter, then `14, died after a skiing accident in Aspen, Colorado, USA on December 31, 1997. In 1997, he hired Richard Hoffman to help him with a memoir.
  6. In 1999, Sherigan gave birth to their son George Skakel.
  7. On January 19, 2000, he was arrested and charged with murder as a minor. Shortly after the arrest, Sheridan filed for divorce, which was finalized in 2001.
  8. In February 2001, a judge ordered him to be tried as an adult. In May 2002, his trial started in Bridgeport Superior Court. Represented by Michael Sherman, he was convicted of murder and sentenced to 20 years to life in prison on June 7, 2002.
  9. In 2010, he filed a state petition for a writ of habeas corpus.. Represented by his new lawyer Hubert Santos, he accused Sherman of providing ineffective assistance of counsel while billing him for more than $1.5 million. At the time, Sherman separately plead guilty in U.S. District in Connecticut for failing to pay $390,000 in taxes in 2001 and 2002 and was sentenced to a year in federal prison.
  10. On October 13, 2013, Judge Thomas Bishop of Tolland Superior Court vacated his conviction and ordered a new trial. Bishop explained that Sherman had been ineffective because he had failed to present Tommy as an alternate suspect, locate evidence to refute Coleman’s testimony and get a statement from a potential independent witness named Dennis Ossorio. On November 21, 2013, he posted bail of $1.2 million and was released from prison.
  11. In the book “Framed: Why Michael Skakel Spent Over a Decade in Prison for a Murder He Didn’t Commit,” which was published on July 12, 2016, his cousin Robert F. Kennedy Jr. claimed that he did not kill Moxley and the likely suspects were two teenagers from New York. Robert is one of the 11 children of Ethel and Robert Sr.
  12. On December 30, 2016, the Connecticut Supreme Court reinstated his murder conviction. But on May 4, 2018, the court reversed itself again and vacated his conviction.
  13. On October 30, 2020, prosecutors dismissed the murder charge against him. Chief state’s attorney Richard Colangelo said a retrial was not possible because too much time had elapsed, key witnesses were dead and there was no additional evidence to test. It was the right result because he was innocent, his new attorney Stephan Seeger said in the courtroom in Stamford, Connecticut.

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