US & Canada

Kennedy cousin's murder conviction reinstated

Skakel in 2013 Image copyright AP
Image caption Skakel was freed in 2013 when his conviction was overturned

The murder conviction of a relative of the Kennedy family has been reinstated by the US state of Connecticut's supreme court after being overturned by a lower court.

Michael Skakel, whose aunt Ethel was the widow of Robert Kennedy, was found guilty in 2002 of killing his teenage neighbour with a golf club in 1975.

But he was freed in 2013 after a judge found that his former lawyer had not represented him properly.

Mr Skakel says he is innocent.

The Connecticut Supreme Court voted four to three to reinstate the conviction.

During the hearing prosecutor Susann Gill said Mr Skakel's previous lawyer Michael Sherman had done a competent job representing his client and said there was "substantial evidence" that he killed Martha Moxley.

It was not immediately clear if Mr Skakel would be sent back to prison. His current lawyer, Hubert Santos, said he was reviewing the ruling and had no immediate comment.

'I'm going to get away with murder'

The battered body of Moxley, who lived near the Skakel family in wealthy Greenwich, Connecticut, was found on the lawn of her parents' house in 1975.

She had been bludgeoned with a golf club - later traced to a set owned by Mr Skakel's mother - and stabbed in the neck with the shaft of the club.

There were no witnesses or forensic evidence, but several people later testified that they had heard Mr Skakel confess to the crime.

One witness previously quoted him as saying: "I'm going to get away with murder, because I'm a Kennedy."

The Kennedys were one of the most prominent families in 20th Century US politics.

Joseph Kennedy was US ambassador to Britain under President Franklin Roosevelt. His son John F Kennedy was president 1961-63, and his other sons Robert and Edward became senators.

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