SOBBING SKAKEL READY TO KILL HIMSELF

Published on: May 17, 2002

Accused killer Michael Skakel is deathly afraid of jail -- and friends say the notorious Kennedy cousin will kill himself rather than get locked away.

"Michael is convinced he is going to be convicted and works himself into tears over it," a Skakel insider told The ENQUIRER.

To make matters worse, Skakel became convinced his own wife would testify against him and fears she's ripping him apart in a tell-all book she's writing.

The 41-year-old nephew of Ethel Kennedy faces a sentence of 10 years to life in prison if he is convicted of the 1975 murder of pretty 15-year-old Martha Moxley, who was bludgeoned and stabbed with a golf club belonging to his mother.

Ethel -- whom Skakel has convinced of his innocence -- is rallying the Kennedys to stand by him, says the insider.

But the pudgy, balding millionaire's son is still deeply distraught.

"Michael told me, 'I'll never get through it. I will never be able to take a long prison sentence,' " divulged the insider.

Skakel is also devastated because he believes his estranged wife Margot is dedicated to destroying him.

"What could I have done against her? What could I have said over the years to make her turn on me like this?" Skakel wailed to the insider, who's known him for more than 10 years.

The ENQUIRER revealed a year ago that Skakel's wife, who he married in 1991, had decided to file for divorce because she was becoming increasingly afraid of his violent outbursts.

Michael is telling pals Margot is so bitter that she's accepted a $400,000 advance to write a damning biography about him.

"She has turned her back on me. She would like to cut me out of her life and keep me from seeing my son," the accused killer told the insider.

The pressure is mounting on Michael and his family and friends "are worried he may kill himself," revealed the insider. "He has certainly hinted he would end his life, rather than live in prison."

A badly shaken Skakel says he is counting on a show of strength by the Kennedy clan throughout the trial.

"The Kennedys are working out a schedule among themselves so that at least some of them will be here to support me almost all the time," Skakel told the insider.

However, at least two of the Kennedys became convinced some time ago that Michael is Moxley's killer, according to a key source.

In a blockbuster exclusive story in The ENQUIRER two weeks ago, Colleen Quinn -- former personal assistant to the late Michael Kennedy's widow Vicki -- charged that Skakel had confessed to Michael that he was Moxley's killer and that Vicki knows about the confession.

As the trial picks up speed, chilling evidence, found in court documents, indicates that if convicted, Michael is clearly capable of taking his own life.

Larry Zicarelli, a Skakel family chauffeur, told police investigators of twice pulling a tormented 17-year-old Skakel from the railing of New York City's Triborough Bridge in 1978.

Zicarelli said he was driving Skakel back to Connecticut following a visit with his therapist.

He said the teenager pulled a knife on him and jumped out of the car several times. Twice the anguished young man tried to climb over the bridge railing, claimed Zicarelli.

According to the startling court records, when the chauffeur demanded to be told why he was being so disruptive, Michael replied, "I've done something very bad. I'm in a lot of trouble. I've got to kill myself or leave the country."