2002: A Norwalk, Conn., Superior Court jury convicts Michael Skakel, nephew of the late Sen. Robert F. Kennedy, in the 1975 murder of Martha Moxley, Skakel’s 15-year-old neighbor, after four days of deliberations. (Skakel’s conviction would be vacated in 2018 by the Connecticut Supreme Court, which ruled that his attorney had deprived him of a fair trial by failing to call an alibi witness.)
Also on this day:
- 1769: Daniel Boone begins to explore present-day Kentucky.
- 1892: Homer Plessy, a “Creole of color,” is arrested for refusing to leave a Whites-only car of the East Louisiana Railroad. (Ruling on his case, the U.S. Supreme Court upholds “separate but equal” racial segregation, a concept it would renounce in 1954.)
- 1965: The U.S. Supreme Court, in Griswold v. Connecticut, strikes down, 7-2, a Connecticut law used to prosecute a Planned Parenthood clinic in New Haven for providing contraceptives to married couples
- 1993: The U.S. Supreme Court rules that religious groups could sometimes meet on school property after hours.
- 1993: Ground is broken for the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame in Cleveland.
- 1998: In a hate crime that stuns the nation, James Byrd Jr., a 49-year-old Black man, is hooked by a chain to a pickup truck and dragged to his death in Jasper, Texas. (Two White men would be sentenced to death; Lawrence Russell Brewer would be executed in 2011, and John William King would be executed in April 2019. A third defendant, Shawn Berry, would receive life with the possibility of parole.)
- 2014: Actor-comedian Tracy Morgan is critically injured when a Walmart tractor-trailer rams into his chauffeured limousine bus on the New Jersey Turnpike.
- 2018: NASA announces the discovery of preserved organic matter in an ancient lake bed on Mars by the Curiosity rover.