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Tuesday, March 6, 2001

03/06/11 Announcement Expected in Margolies Case

By J.A. Johnson Jr. - Greenwich Time

State and local law enforcement officials are planning to hold a press conference this week to announce new measures to advance the investigation into the 1984 slaying of Glenville teenager Matthew Margolies. Although not expected to publicly release details about the investigation itself, the chief state's attorneys office and Greenwich Police Department said they will announce plans which will help the public assist with the investigation.

"We feel there are people who know things and are hoping they will come forward and assist by providing what they know," Deputy Chief State's Attorney Christopher Morano said on Friday. "The purpose of this press conference will be to reach out to the general public and see what assistance can be provided by them."

Morano, who has headed the Margolies investigation since November, said the appeal for help was not due to a lack of progress by the investigative team, which is composed of detectives from the Greenwich Police Department and the state's cold case unit, as well as forensic scientists.

In fact, the prosecutor said new information about the formerly dormant case has reinforced the belief that the case can be solved.

Morano said the measures to be announced at the Thursday afternoon press conference at Cole Auditorium in Greenwich Library, are part of the investigative team's strategy.

Members of the victim's family met with Morano and other team members for the first time Wednesday to be briefed on the investigation and work out details of the press conference. Maryann Margolies said she came away from the meeting feeling hopeful about her son's case.

"I was pleased," she said yesterday. "I am confident that through the efforts of this team we will reach some form of closure." Although they declined to disclose what will be announced, officials have compared the news conference to one held a decade ago concerning the 1975 Martha Moxley beating death.

In 1991, Chief State's Attorney John Bailey, flanked by local police officials, came to Greenwich to reveal that a re-investigation of the Moxley case had begun. Bailey also announced a doubling of the reward money for information leading to the arrest and conviction of the 15-year-old Greenwich girl's killer, as well as the establishment of a 24-hour tip line.

Seven years later, in 1998, and based on information gathered during the re- investigation, a grand jury was convened to further probe the crime and use its power to subpoena reluctant witnesses. After 18 months of work, the grand jury issued a report that was used in January 2000 to obtain an arrest warrant for Moxley's alleged killer, Michael Skakel.

It is expected that the officials on Thursday will announce an increase in the $30,000 reward that has been in place for the Margolies case.

Margolies was four months shy of his 14th birthday when, on Aug. 31, 1984, he was brutally slain in a wooded area off Pemberwick Road, not far from his home on Pilgrim Drive in a section of Glenville known as "The Valley." According to the autopsy report, Margolies had been stabbed over a dozen times and was suffocated by dirt the killer shoved down his throat. The boy's body was concealed under a pile of brush, rocks and leaves, and despite an extensive search was not found until Sept. 5

Eight people who either lived or worked in the Glenville area were identified as suspects during the initial investigation, police said, and all remain under suspicion.

The case was actively investigated through 1988, but as the killer's trail grew colder, leads trickled to a stop.

Then, in early 1999, two Greenwich detectives were assigned to conduct a complete re-investigation of the case. After a year of preliminary work, which included a careful review of the nearly 700-page case file, the detectives began conducting interviews in March 2000. Since then, state forensic scientists have been reviewing physical evidence in the case and testing is expected to begin soon.

More leads surfaced after Greenwich Time in early September published a five- part series about the Margolies case, which included many previously unreported details obtained through a Freedom of Information Act request. A month later, Greenwich police applied to have the case assigned to the state cold case unit.

Anyone with information about the Margolies case can call Greenwich detectives Timothy Duff , at 622-8080, or Gary Hoffkins, at 622-8037, or e-mail the state cold case squad at: cold.case@po.state.ct.us.

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