Michael Skakel, a cousin of the Kennedy political dynasty, will not face a second trial in the killing of 15-year-old Martha Moxley.
The announcement was made 45 years to the day after Martha was found bludgeoned to death in her Connecticut neighbourhood in 1975.
On Friday, Connecticut’s chief attorney Richard Colangelo Jr told a Stamford Superior Court judge that the state cannot prove that Mr Skakel, 60, killed Martha beyond a reasonable doubt, according to NBC News.
Mr Colangelo Jr said that the state lacked eyewitness and forensic evidence, as 17 of the original 51 witnesses had died, including the key witness, who said that Mr Skakel confessed to him that he had killed Martha.
Her death was a cold case for 25 years before Mr Skakel was arrested in 2000. He was also 15 years old at the time of Martha’s death, according to NPR.
Mr Skakel, the nephew of Robert F Kennedy’s widow, Ethel Kennedy, was convicted of killing Martha in 2002 and sentenced to 20 years to life in prison. He has always denied killing Martha.her
In 2013, after being denied several appeals, Mr Skakel was freed on a $1.2m (£926,418) bail and granted a new trial after a judge said that the 60-year-old’s lawyer did not represent him adequately.
In 2018, Connecitcut’s Supreme Court upheld that ruling, and in 2019 the US Supreme Court dismissed the state’s appeal.
Due to the connection to the Kennedy family and the grisly nature of Martha’s death, Mr Skakel’s case drew nationwide attention during the original trial.
After it was announced that Mr Skakel would not be given a new trial, Martha’s brother John thanked the state for pursuing the case for more than 40 years.
Speaking to NBC’s Today in 2018, Martha’s mother Dorothy said she was “disappointed” that Mr Skakel’s case had been overturned, but felt that him serving 11 years in prison represented some justice for the family.
“Martha was killed when I was 43, and in just a few weeks, a couple of weeks, I’m going to be 86,” she said in 2018. “That means half of my life I have lived with this.
“So I think I can live the rest of my life with it also.”