Kennedy cousin Michael Skakel denied parole in 1975 slaying of neighbor

Michael Skakel looks up while listening to a statement from John Moxley, unseen, brother of victim Martha Moxley, in court in Middletown, Conn., Jan. 24, 2012.
Michael Skakel in court in Middletown, Conn., on Jan. 24, 2012. AP Photo

(CBS/AP) SUFFIELD, Conn. - Kennedy cousin Michael Skakel has been denied his first bid for parole since he was convicted a decade ago of killing his neighbor in 1975.

A Connecticut parole board rejected Skakel's request following a two-hour hearing Wednesday in which he proclaimed his innocence.

Skakel, 52, is serving 20 years to life for fatally beating 15-year-old Martha Moxley with a golf club in 1975 in Greenwich, Conn. Skakel, who was 15-years-old at the time of the murder, is a nephew of Ethel Kennedy, the widow of Robert F. Kennedy. He was convicted in 2002.

"I did not commit this crime," Skakel said during his hearing at McDougall-Walker Correctional Institution in Suffield.

Dorothy Moxley, the victim's mother, rejected Skakel's claims of innocence. She said during the hearing that Skakel should serve at least 20 years.

The chair of the parole board, Erika Tindill, says it was odd for Skakel to ask for early release while proclaiming his innocence.

More on CrimesiderOctober 24, 2012 - Kennedy cousin Michael Skakel proclaims innocence in 1975 murder, requests parole