Tuesday, February 17, 2009


CONVICTION by Leonard Levitt was read for the Jewish Literature Reading Challenge (book by Jewish author).

From the back of the book:

On October 30, 1975, fifteen-year-old Martha Moxley's brutal murder made national headlines. But for years one one was arrested, despite troubling clues pointing to the Skakels, a rich and powerful family related to the Kennedys.

In the years that followed, investigative reporter Leonard Levitt uncovered groundbreaking information about how the police had bungled the investigation; he also discovered that Tommy and Michael Skakel had lied about their activities on the night of the murder. The case was reopened and investigator Frank Garr began to doggedly pursue unexplored leads. In 2002, more than twenty-five years after Moxley's death, a shocked world watched as Michael Skakel was convicted of the murder, thanks largely to the evidence Garr alone had marshaled against him.

Now, for the first time, Levitt tells the amazing true story of Garr's fight to solve the case and of how their friendship with each other, and with Martha Moxley's mother, Dorthy, sustained them over the years. A riveting, suspenseful drama that unfolds like a mystery novel, this incredible memoir also reveals how a police officer and a reporter refused to give up, and how they helped justice to prevail, against all odds.

I first learned of this case a few years ago after reading Mark Fuhrman's book MURDER IN GREENWICH. (That's the same Mark Fuhrman from the O.J. Simpson trial.) In that book, Mr. Fuhrman named Michael Skakel as the murderer.

This book by Mr. Levitt went into a greater amount of detail about the case. He wrote of the problems with the case from the beginning in 1975 when the police failed to investigate the Skakel boys, probably due to intimidation from the family. Much time was wasted by the police trying to build a case against the Skakel family's live-in tutor, Ken Littleton.

Mr. Levitt's determination in writing his story and uncovering evidence helped lead to the case being reopened in 1991. The story was profiled on Unsolved Mysteries in 1996, and tips were received leading the police to look closely at Michael Skakel. A grand jury was convened in 1998, and after an 18-month investigation, an arrest warrant was issued for Michael Skakel in January, 2000.

On June 7, 2002, Michael Skakel was found guilty of murder and sentenced to 20 years to life.

I enjoy reading true-crime stories, and I thought this book was very interesting. Mr. Levitt, having been involved with this story since 1982, had a wealth of information and gave a true picture of the frustrations of working on a 20+ year old case and the satisfaction of seeing the case finally solved and closed.

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This challenge is no longer officially running. It's being left up so you can find good books to read and read the reviews. Comments are moderated and are NOT gone through often. So don't expect to see your comment show up fast.