By Mark Armstrong
Updated August 29, 2002 01:00 PM

Twenty-seven years after the crime, Kennedy cousin Michael Skakel. was sentenced Thursday to 20 years to life in prison for the 1975 murder of his then-neighbor, Martha Moxley.

Skakel, 41, a nephew of Robert Kennedy’s widow Ethel Kennedy, openly wept as Norwalk, Conn., Superior Court Judge John Kavenewsky handed down a sentence just shy of the maximum 25 years to life he could have received, the Associated Press reports.

Skakel was found guilty in June of murdering Moxley, who was found on the lawn of her parents’ home bludgeoned with a golf club in 1975. They were both 15 years old at the time.

Skakel, however, said he could not apologize for a crime he did not commit. “I would love to be able to say I did the crime so that the Moxley family could have peace,” he told the court, according to the AP. “But to do that would be a lie.”

The judge felt otherwise, noting that Skakel received “a more substantial sentence” because “for the past 25 years or more … the defendant has been living a lie about his guilt. The defendant has accepted no responsibility, he has expressed no remorse.”

Skakel faced a minimum sentence of 10 years to life. Under terms of his sentence, he could be eligible for parole in 2014.