04/21/2004 at 12:00 AM EDT
Rejecting the prosecution's request for a change of venue, Judge John F. Kavanewsky Jr. ruled on Thursday that the murder trial of Kennedy relative Michael Skakel, 40, will be held in Stamford, Conn., and not the blue-collar town of Bridgeport. Skakel is charged with the 1975 bludgeoning death of his Greenwich, Conn., neighbor, Martha Moxley, who, like Skakel, was 15 in 1975. No arrests had been made in the case until early last year, when Skakel was charged. This January a judge ruled that he should be tried as an adult in the case, despite his having been a juvenile in 1975. "It was not an unexpected decision and it's not a momentous decision," prosecutor Jonathan Benedict, who had asked for the change based on what he said was the need for more courtroom space, told the Associated Press. "In terms of either side receiving a fair hearing, I don't see where venue is a factor." Skakel's lawyer, Michael Sherman, wished to have the trial remain in Stamford, the city closest to ritzy Greenwich.