The former tutor of a Kennedy relative has spoken out about being fingered for the murder of a teen girl in 1975 — 30 years before his wealthy, well-connected employer was convicted of killing her.
Kenneth Littleton will appear in an upcoming Investigation Discovery series The Guilty Rich, and spoke through a friend to the New York Post about how his life has been nearly destroyed since he became suspect in a murder he did not commit. He is currently in an assisted-living facility in New England.
Littleton, who was 23 at the time, reportedly accepted the cushy offer to become an academic tutor for Michael Skakel, then 15, and his six siblings. The wealthy family lived in the exclusive Greenwich, Connecticut, enclave of Bell Haven. The convicted murderer’s father, Rushton Skakel, who was reportedly a severe alcoholic, offered Littleton $400 and room and board at the family’s estate. Rushton’s sister Ethel Kennedy was married to Robert F. Kennedy when he died.
Despite being aware that the Skakel children had behavioral issues, Littleton relayed to the New York Post that he was thrilled for the opportunity.
“Lamb chops, steaks, hunting trips and golfing trips!” he said. “Everything was first class.”
The tutor interviewed for the job on October 30, 1975 and was hired on the spot. That night, after Littleton joined a family dinner at Belle Haven Country Club, Martha Moxley was murdered.
Littleton said he heard the next morning that a teenage girl from the neighborhood had gone missing. Hours later, Martha Moxley’s dead body was found just 200 yards from her home. She had been bludgeoned and stabbed to death with a golf club.
— Stamford Daily Voice (@StamfordDV) May 8, 2017
Police briefly questioned Michael Skakel and his brother Tommy, who had both seen Martha the previous night. But investigators did not at the time pursue either brother as suspects.
Littleton said he became convinced that Michael was guilty months later when he learned that the teenager with a mean streak had killed and “crucified” a chipmunk — reportedly with a golf club, the same weapon that killed Martha.
The tutor asked Michael if he had killed the chipmunk, and claims the teen replied by saying, “Who else could have done it, Kenny?”
But less than a year later, it was Littleton who was in legal hot water. In the summer of 1976, after he had been fired from his tutoring job because some of the Skakel children were getting failing grades, police brought Littleton in for questioning. Since losing his job, Littleton had been arrested for stealing thousands of dollars worth of goods during a drunken rampage in Nantucket.
After he was named a suspect in Martha’s murder, Littleton lost his teaching job in nearby New Canaan, and his life began to spiral downward as he struggled with drinking and mental health issues.
But police didn’t charge him with a crime. Still, as no other arrests were made in the murder, the case was a dark cloud for Littleton for years — until 1991, when police re-opened the case and once again narrowed in on Littleton.
“What it came down to was being investigated under the naked light bulb treatment,” Littleton told the New York Post, recording how a lead inspector shouted accusations at him:
“You murdered Martha Moxley! You murdered Martha Moxley!”
But again, the case went cold, and it would be seven years before it would be re-examined again: This time, Littleton was granted immunity in exchange for testifying against Skakel. Finally, Michael was arrested.
In 2003, Skakel was convicted of murdering Martha, but he has maintained his innocence through a second murder trial and multiple appeals. He is currently free on bail pending an appeal of the re-instation of his murder conviction in 2016.
Though he avoided prosecution, Littleton said that becoming a suspect in the murder basically ruined his life.
“I went from total Nirvana to total disaster,” he said.
Feature photo: Handout