Kennedy cousin Michael Skakel was denied parole Wednesday after serving 10 years for the 1975 murder of his neighbor, 15 year-old Martha Moxley. Skakel, who was also 15 at the time, was convicted in 2002 of fatally beating Moxley with a golf club.
The nephew of Robert F. Kennedy's widow, Ethel Kennedy, was told Wednesday he will not be eligible for parole again for another five years, The AP reports.
This was Skakel's first chance at being set free since his conviction, CNN reports.
Skakel has said he prays everyday that whoever killed Martha be brought to justice, but he maintains his innocence, CBS reports.
Dorothy Moxley, Martha's mother, doesn't buy any of Skakel's claims.
Dorothy attended Wednesday's hearing and said Skakel should serve no less than 20 years for taking her daughter away from her, The AP reports.
"Martha, my baby, will never have a life," she told the court.
John Moxley, Martha's brother, also spoke at the hearing.
"I believe Michael Skakel is representative of the most dangerous aspect of our society in that he was raised in an environment in which he was exposed to and at some point embraced the mind-set that the rules of our general society did not then and do not now apply to him," John said according to CNN.
Martha's body was found after a night of partying with Skakel, his brother Tommy, and some other teenagers in a gated community in Greenwich, CT, CNN reports.
Skakel was convicted of Martha's murder 27 years after it happened, and although he was a teenager at the time of her death, he was tried as an adult. If he had been tried as a child, he would have faced a maximum sentence of four years.
Wednesday's decision comes after many letters in support of Skakel were sent to the parole board.
The letters, one of which was written by Skakel's cousin Robert F. Kennedy Jr, describe Skakel as a religious man and devoted father, CBS reports.
They also say that Skakel has been instrumental in helping alcoholics recover. Skakel, a recovering alcoholic, has been sober for 30 years. According to his supporters, his story has proven helpful and inspirational for other alcoholics.
Skakel's supporters also wrote about Skakel's uplifting artwork. He also teaches English as a second language to prisoners, which his supporters also noted to help prove their claims that Skakel truly is a changed man, The AP reports.
Erika Tindill, chair of the parole board said it was a little strange that Skakel was asking for his freedom while denying his guilt. The parole board's decision Wednesday is not based on fear that Skakel will kill again. Many parole board members even praised Skakel for his artwork and other activities. His denial of parole is based simply on the parole board's conclusion that Mr. Skakel's time in prison is not punishment enough for his crime, The AP reports.
While Skakel won't be eligible for parole again until 2017, he will still have another chance to go free, when his appeal for a new trial goes to court next April.