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Murder in Greenwich (Beth Allen as Julia Skakel)

The movie was based on a true story: (the sister's actual name being Julie Skakel though)

In the town of Greenwich, Connecticut, the night before Halloween was commonly known as "mischief night" or sometimes "doorbell night". On this particular evening, 15-year-old Martha Moxley, and her friends, set out for an night of harmless pranks; spraying shaving cream, throwing eggs and toilet paper around the neighborhood before stopping at the home of Tommy and Michael Skakel.

The Skakel brothers were well know in the neighborhood for their behavior and lack of discipline -- and also because they were the nephews of Ethel Skakel-Kennedy, widow of the late Senator Robert F. Kennedy.

The Moxley's and Skakel's lived in Belle Haven, a gated community in Greenwich, an affluent area of town where Hollywood actors live and former President George Bush grew up.

Sometime between 9:30 and 11 p.m. that night, Martha left the Skakel house. Home was only 150 yards away, but Martha never made it. Martha's body was found the next day under a tree in her back yard. Her jeans and underwear had been pulled down, but there was no apparent evidence of sexual assault. She had been beaten so hard with a 6-iron that the shaft had shattered. A jagged piece of it was used to stab her through the neck. Police later learned that the club was part an expensive, Toney Penna, set which had belonged to Tommy and Michael Skakel's mother Anne. Mrs. Skakel had died of cancer two years earlier leaving her husband Rushton to raise their large and reportedly unruly family. Their son, Tommy, then 17, was said to be the last person seen with Martha. According to Martha's diary, she had fended off several past attempts by Skakel to "get to first and second base," said Martha's mother, Dorthy Moxley. The day Martha's battered body was found, Greenwich police did a cursory search of the house with Rushton Skakel's permission, but they never obtained a warrant to do a thorough search. This lack of a warrant in the investigation led to accusations of "special treatment" for the well-connected, influential family.

Julie Skakel, who was 18 in 1975, said she first thought the person might have been Michael because he was always out with friends on "mischief night," the night before Halloween. But even at that time, she was uncertain who she saw, she said.She also reported seeing a figure run in front of her house later that night after she returned from taking a friend home. "As I was walking to the front door, someone ran in front of me," she said. "It looked like it was holding something, maybe a bundle."
Julie offered a glimpse into family dynamics during earlier questioning by Benedict.

"Did your brother have a turbulent relationship with your father?" Benedict asked.
"We all did," Julie replied.
"Did Michael have a turbulent relationship with Thomas?" Benedict asked.
"We all did," Julie replied.
"Did Michael have a turbulent relationship with you?" Benedict asked.
"They all did," Julie replied, referring to her six brothers. The response brought laughter from the courtroom, but with that, Julie Skakel painted a picture of a family in disarray - motherless, with a largely absentee father and a cast of household help tending to the children.

Movie (premiere 16. november 2002)  review:

Pretty, golden-haired, affluent 15-year-old Martha Moxley, bursting with confidence now that her braces have been removed, spends some private time with sexy, rich 17-year-old Tommy Skakel in an upstairs bedroom of his house. Michael, Tommy's shy, skinny 15-year-old brother, sees them leaving the room and flies into a rage because he once kissed Martha, and now his arrogant big brother has stolen her. As Martha walks home, pretty much on air, Michael grabs a nearby golf club, follows her and kills her in her own front yard.

''Murder in Greenwich'' was written by David Erickson, based on Mark Fuhrman's book of the same title.

When a Connecticut police officer tells Fuhrman that there's nothing new in the Moxley file, Fuhrman (played by the square-jawed Christopher Meloni) replies firmly, ''I'm new.'' He's a smart cop, darn it, and he's in Greenwich, Conn., where the murder took place, to solve a case his predecessors couldn't.

''That woman spent the last 22 years of her life thinking she heard her daughter die,'' he tells his partner, referring to Martha's mother, ''because these idiots are either too stupid or too lazy to do their job.'' O.K., he's a little self-righteous but, hey, police work is practically in his blood. ''I'm still a cop,'' he announces near the film's end. ''Because this is the only thing I know how to do.''

Martha isn't portrayed as a complete angel. When she comes in at 3 in the morning, and her mother asks what she has to say for herself, Martha just can't stop laughing as she walks up the stairs, reciting, ''That I'm sorry, that I'm really, really sorry.'' Maggie Grace, who plays Martha, looks young but can't hide a certain grown-up air. Her character narrates the film posthumously, which might not be so disconcerting if a dead teenage girl reflecting on her own fate and its aftermath weren't also the guiding device in one of the most talked-about novels of the year, Alice Sebold's ''Lovely Bones.''

The Kennedy connection is noted several times, with references to the Skakel boys as Ethel Kennedy's nephews and one character's comment that the Skakels ''weren't as famous as the Kennedys, but they were richer.'' The film does a little rich-person-bashing, reflecting America's love-hate relationship with wealth. When, for instance, Fuhrman meets a brittle brunette (Joanna Morrison) at a country club, and she isn't immediately forthcoming with information on the case, he turns on her and says, ''Are you just another lonesome alcoholic with too much money and too few distractions?''

Michael C. Skakel, now 42, was convicted of Moxley's murder in June 2002 and sentenced to 20 years to life. His lawyers have filed an appeal - but it was denied.


Christopher Meloni - Mark Fuhrman
Robert Forster - Steve Carroll
Toby Moore - Tommy Skakel
Maggie Grace - Martha Moxley
Jon Foster - Michael Skakel
Andrew Mitchell - Steven Weeks
Liddy Holloway - Dorothy Moxley
Theresa Healey - Hildy Soutrherlyn
Beth Allen - Julia Skakel
Peter Rowley - Rushton Skakel
Raymond Trickitt - Detective John Samuels
Norman Fairley - Alex Grafton
Renee Ellwood - Lucy Duke
Sally Martin - Charity Foster
Rose McIver - Sheila McGuire
Leo Brettkelly Chalmers - Robert Mathers (20s)
James Beaumont - Robert Mathers (40s)
Tim Adam - Morris Banks
Natalie Duggan - Mrs. Staggs
Latham Gaines - Probation Officer
Carolyn Bock - Caroline Fuhrman
John Sumner - Jackson O'Connor
Michael Saccente - Dr. Baden
Mark Wright - Detective #1
Bruce Hopkins - Lancaster
Michelle Blanchard - Secretary
David Ashton - Chief Thao Ferris
Stephen Papps - The Maryland Man
Fiona Edgar - Reporter #1
William A. Wallace - TV Reporter
Nick Miller - Teenager
Charles Pierard - Epilogue Reporter