"Greenwich's other Unsolved Murder."
Site Updated: January 29, 2000 @ 08:00 EST
In his book, "Murder in Greenwich; the who killed Martha Moxley",
former L.A. detective Mark Furhman makes the following
observations regarding the Matthew Margolies murder case:
The Moxley murder was not an, isolated case, in which normally competent investigators were stymied by money and power. In Greenwich, unsolved homicides are business as usual. Other than self-solvers, I could not find a single homicide in nearly fifty years that the Greenwich police have actually solved.
On September 5, 1984, the body of thirteen-year-old Matthew Margolies was found in a wooded area near the Byram River, where he had been fishing. He had been stabbed repeatedly with a boning knife, then asphyxiated and buried in a shallow grave. The boy had been dead for five days before his body was discovered. As many as six Greenwich detectives investigated the case but got nowhere. Peter Robbins, newly promoted captain of the detective division, said the investigation had been frustrated by a lack of cooperation among local residents.
By 1986 the Greenwich police were forced to admit that the Margolies investigation was at a standstill. While Robbins made repeated claims that he did not need outside help, Chief Tom Keegan hired Vernon Geberth to evaluate the investigation. Geberth wrote an eighteen-page report and submitted it to the department. When Greenwich Time asked for a copy of the report, the Greenwich police refused to release it. After five years of legal battles, the state Freedom of Information Commission finally ordered the department to release Geberth's report.
The report stated that there was a "clear lack of effective coordination" in the early stages of the investigation.
While Geberth did say that the Greenwich police "conducted a
professional and exhaustive investigation," the report clearly
showed that the lessons of the Moxley case had not been learned.
- No detective had been assigned to check the initial missing person report, and six days of early investigation were lost.
- Only one detective assigned to the investigation actually viewed the crime scene.
- No one briefed officers when they arrived on the crime scene.
- There was no crime scene or assignment log.
- Officers were given assignments, but those assignments were not explained to them.
- Sensitive information was released to the press.
- Then-captain of detectives William Anderson was singled out for his "desire to personally 'take charge' of the investigation."
Tom Keegan was in charge of this one, too. He had become chief
of police in early 1982. His predecessor, Chief Raymond Grant, had been forced out by First Selectwoman Rebecca Breed, who then "ram-rodded" Keegan into the post, according to one former selectman.
After less than two years on the job, Keegan received a 105-14 vote of no confidence from his officers, who complained of Keegan's lack of respect for officers and unfair use of his disciplinary powers. Keegan defended his administration by pointing out that the department was writing more traffic tickets than ever before. Breed stood by her chief, calling the vote "outrageous and intolerable."
Breed was defeated in the next election for first selectman, but Keegan stayed in office until 1986. Upon his retirement, the police union issued a statement to "express its joy, due to the announcement of Chief Thomas G. Keegan's retirement."
Keegan moved down to Myrtle Beach, South Carolina, where he ran as a Republican for a seat in the state House of Representatives. Keegan won his first election in 1988 and every one since. He was reelected again in 1997.
Many people have speculated that the Moxley murder was covered up by corrupt police officials. After his investigation, Len Levitt concluded "it wasn't a cover-up, it was a screw up." I would take it further and say the Moxley case was a cover-up of a screw up.