The black man whom Robert Kennedy Jr. falsely accused of killing Martha Moxley in Greenwich, Connecticut, in 1975 says he never met her and was not in Greenwich the night of her slaying.
“People drive by my house . . . They camp outside for hours. Before I enter my house, I look to see if anybody is lurking. I keep my curtains drawn,” said Adolph Hasbrouck, breaking his silence in his lawyer’s Manhattan office. “There is nothing as devastating as being called a murderer.”
Martha was 15 when she was beaten to death with a golf club, a killing that drew national headlines. Investigators described her death as “overkill,” implying a personal rage and indicating that the killer knew her. The weapon used was matched to a set of clubs found in the home of Martha’s neighbor, Rushton Skakel. In 2002, Rushton’s son Michael Skakel, who is Robert Kennedy Jr.’s first cousin, was convicted of Martha’s murder and did 11 years in prison.
In his new book, “Framed,” Kennedy maintains that Hasbrouck and a friend, Burton Tinsley, are Martha’s killers, not Skakel.
Hasbrouck grew up in the South Bronx in the 1970s. “My mother taught me character, integrity. That’s how I have conducted my life,” says Hasbrouck, who served in the Army. Now 56, he has been married for 20 years and lives in Bridgeport, Connecticut. For the past 15 years, he has worked as a network operations supervisor at ABC in Manhattan.
“Then in 2003 along comes a telephone call from Bobby Kennedy,” he said. “Do I know Martha Moxley? I tell him I never met her. He asks, do I know Tony Bryant? Yes, I say, I knew Tony Bryant. He asked for Burt Tinsley’s telephone number and asked if it was possible that we talk again. I thought nothing of it. I had no indication of his plan to use me as a scapegoat in his cousin’s defense.”
Kennedy bases his allegations against Hasbrouck on the word of Bryant. Bryant had attended a private school with Skakel in Greenwich, then moved to the Bronx, where he met Hasbrouck and Tinsley. He often returned to Greenwich with Hasbrouck and Tinsley.
Bryant told Kennedy that he, Hasbrouck and Tinsley had been in Greenwich the night of Martha’s killing and that Hasbrouck and Tinsley were “inebriated.” Sometime later, Kennedy writes, Hasbrouck and Tinsley confessed to Bryant they had killed Martha.
Bryant refused to repeat his story under oath to Connecticut authorities, and no one has corroborated his claims. In 2013, a Connecticut judge granted Skakel a new trial, ruling his lawyer was incompetent.
Hasbrouck says the first time he learned of Kennedy’s allegations he was on the train to NYC to work. “I made it to the bathroom in Grand Central and threw up. They always blame the black guy.”
Kennedy’s book has received lots of media attention. In interviews, he has said that if Hasbrouck and Tinsley are innocent, they should sue him for libel.
“I don’t have the time or funds to fight this,” said Hasbrouck. “You can’t throw innocent people under the bus because it suits him. Somebody has to call him to account.”