Kennedy cousin Michael Skakel will not be released on bail yet, judge rules

Michael Skakel, a scion of the Kennedy dynasty granted a new trial last month after spending more than a decade behind bars for the 1975 murder of teenager Martha Moxley, won't be released from prison just yet.

But a Connecticut judge ruled Wednesday to lift a stay on the case, which clears a path for the 53-year-old to receive a bail hearing.

Judge Thomas Bishop said state prosecutors have 10 days to appeal his ruling on the stay, which would likely keep Skakel — a nephew of Robert and Ethel Kennedy — locked up for the time being.

Bishop ruled last month that Skakel's attorney did not sufficiently represent his client when he was convicted in 2002 of killing neighbor Moxley in tony Greenwich, Conn., when both were just 15 years old.

Skakel's lawyers have lobbied for his release ahead of a retrial, arguing that keeping him behind bars amounts to a miscarriage of justice. State prosecutors objected to the bond request and are appealing the decision to retry the case.

Hubert Santos, Skakel's current attorney, filed a motion after the October ruling requesting a $500,000 bond, according to the AP.

A retrial would serve as the next turn in a labyrinthine case that marked one of the more sordid chapters for America's most storied political family.

Moxley was murdered after she and her friends attended a Halloween party at the Skakel home, where Michael and his then-16-year-old brother lived.

She was found underneath a tree in her family's backyard the next day. An autopsy indicated she had been beaten and stabbed with a golf club, which was found in pieces nearby. The club was traced to the Skakel home.

The case went cold for many years after Moxley's death, due to a lack of witnesses and alleged mismanagement by investigators.

Michael Skakel in court in Middletown, Conn., on Jan. 24, 2012. Jessica Hill / Pool via AP

That changed in 2000, after renewed public interest in the case led to the indictment of Michael Skakel by a one-man grand jury that questioned 53 witnesses.

A sensational trial ensued, replete with bombshell testimony — including an account of Skakel confessing to a fellow student at a private boarding school for teens with substance abuse problems.

There was even testimony from beyond the grave when jurors heard the words of an ex-classmate who said in pre-trial hearings that Skakel once told him: "I'm going to get away with murder, because I'm a Kennedy."

At a parole hearing in Suffield, Conn., last October, Skakel claimed that he is innocent — which he has insisted for years.

"If I could ease Mrs. Moxley's pain in any way, shape or form I would take responsibility all day long for this crime," Skakel said, according to the AP. But, he added, "I cannot bear false witness against myself."

Tracy Connor of NBC News and the Associated Press contributed to this report.