California’s governor refused to release Robert F. Kennedy’s assassin Sirhan Sirhan from prison on Thursday, more than half a century after the 1968 murder left a deep wound in America’s darkest time.
Governor Gavin Newsom, who has cited RFK as his ‘political hero’ and embraced the historical significance of his decision, rejected the recommendation of a two-person panel of parole commissioners, saying the now 77-year-old Sirhan is an undue threat to public safety. ,
‘Mr. Sirhan’s murder of Senator Kennedy is one of the most infamous crimes in American history,’ Newsom wrote in his ruling.
After decades in prison, he failed to address the shortcomings that led him to assassinate Senator Kennedy. Mr. Sirhan lacks the insight that prevents him from making the same dangerous decisions he has made in the past.
Sirhan Sirhan, 77, has been incarcerated at the Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation in San Diego, California, charged with the murder of Robert F. Kennedy.
Sirhan was arrested and convicted of the 1968 assassination of New York Sen. Robert F. Kennedy. The killer says that he does not remember the incident of the fateful night.
California Gov. Gavin Newsom, who cited RFK as a personal hero, refused to give Sirhan a chance on parole, calling the convicted murderer a threat to public safety.
Newsom included factors in his decision, including Sirhan’s refusal to accept responsibility for his crime, his lack of insight and the necessary accountability to support his safe release, in his denial of violence committed in his name. Including their failure and their failure to reduce their risk factors.
US Senator Kennedy from New York was shot moments after claiming victory in California’s key Democratic presidential primary. Five others were injured during the murder at the Ambassador Hotel in Los Angeles.
The assassination took place five years after the assassination of his brother, President John F. Kennedy.
Sirhan will be scheduled for a new parole hearing after February 2023.
His defense attorney, Angela Berry, said Sirhan would ask a judge to overturn Newsom’s denial.
“We sincerely hope that a judicial review of the governor’s decision will show that the governor has done it wrong,” he said.
State law states that prisoners must be placed on parole unless they pose an existing unreasonable public safety risk, he said, to suggest that ‘Mr Sirhan is still a threat to society’ A small amount of evidence does not exist.’
It said the parole process had been politicized and Newsom had “decided to dismiss its own experts”. [on the parole board], ignore the law.’
Sirhan walked towards RFK with a rolled up campaign poster, hiding his .22 revolver and shot him in the head from only a foot away.
Sen. Robert Kennedy and Ambassador Hotel employee Juan Romero pictured moments after Sirhan Sirhan shot RFK on June 5, 1968
RFK was taken to Good Samaritan Hospital and pronounced dead a day later on June 6, 1968
Sirhan was convicted of first-degree murder in 1969 and sentenced to death, before the state abolished the death penalty.
The parole commissioners, he said, found Sirhan suitable for release because of his “impressive extensive record of rehabilitation in the last half-century”. ‘Since the mid-1980s Mr Sirhan has been consistently found by prison psychologists and psychiatrists to not pose an unreasonable risk of danger to the public.’
During the parole hearing, the white-haired Sirhan called Kennedy “the hope of the world.” But he did not hold back from taking full responsibility of the shooting, saying that he did not remember as he was drunk.
Sirhan said, ‘It hurts me… Gyan for such a terrible deed, if I really did it.’
A parole panel’s recommendation in August to release Sirhan left the esteemed Kennedy family divided.
Most notably, six of RFK’s nine surviving children publicly signed a letter requesting the parole board and Newsom not to grant Sirhan parole.
The letter began ‘As children of Robert F. Kennedy, we are devastated that the man who murdered our father has been recommended for parole’.
‘We strongly oppose the parole and release of Sirhan Sirhan and are shocked by a decision that we believe ignores the standards of parole for a confessed, first-degree murderer in the state of California.’ The siblings directly asked Newsom to decline the parole, insisting that they “intend to challenge” Sirhan’s release “at every step”.
Joseph P. Kennedy II, Courtney Kennedy Hill, Kerry Kennedy, Christopher G. Kennedy, Maxwell T. Kennedy and Rory Kennedy, who wrote that the decision caused ‘extremely additional pain.’
Robert Kennedy’s widow, Ethel Kennedy, who was assassinated during the 1968 presidential campaign, wrote a letter to the parole board requesting them not to release Sirhan Sirhan.
He shouldn’t be given parole’: RFK’s widow Ethel Kennedy, 93, joins 6 of her nine surviving children to protest Sirhan’s parole against sons
RFK’s youngest daughter, Rory, also published an opinion piece the new York Times Shamelessly titled ‘The Man Who Murdered My Father Doesn’t Deserve Parole’.
Robert Kennedy’s widow, 93-year-old Ethel Kennedy, issued an official statement last week saying her husband’s killer should not be parole.
Ethel released an official statement which read: ‘Bobby believed that we should work to ‘tame the barbarism of man and soften the life of the world’.
‘He wanted to end the war in Vietnam and bring people together to build a better, stronger country. More than anything, he wanted to be a good father and a loving husband.
The inhumanity of one man has caused irreparable loss to our family and our country. We believe in the gentleness that spared his life, but in controlling his act of violence, he should not get an opportunity to terrorize him again.’
At the bottom of the printed statement she signed, ‘She should not be paroled,’ and her name.
To: Robert F. Kennedy Jr. (left) and Douglas Kennedy (right) endorse Sirhan’s recommendation for parole
Ethel described her husband’s death as ‘an unspeakable loss to the inhumanity of a man’ (pictured Robert (left) and Ethel Kennedy (right) on their wedding day in Greenwich, Connecticut, June 17, 1950)
But two of RFK’s children, Douglas Kennedy, 54, and Robert F. Kennedy Jr., 67, have supported Sirhan’s parole.
Douglas addressed a two-person panel that recommended that parole be granted during the virtual hearing, according to The Associated Press,
“I am overwhelmed to be able to see Mr. Sirhan face-to-face,” he said. ‘I have lived my life in some way or the other in fear of him and his name. And I am grateful to see him today as someone worthy of compassion and love.’
RFK Jr. has spoken out in favor of Sirhan’s release, and wrote in a letter that he met his father’s killer in prison, who ‘apologised,’ the AP reported.
He has previously stated that he does not believe that Sirhan killed his father.
Sirhan will be scheduled for a new parole hearing after February 2023. Sirhan will ask a judge to overturn Newsom’s denial, his defense attorney Angela Berry said.
The panel’s decision was based on several new California laws after he was denied parole in 2016 – the 15th time he lost his bid for release.
The commissioners were required to consider that Sirhan had committed his crime at a young age of 24; that he is now old; And that Christian Palestinians who immigrated from Jordan had childhood trauma from conflict in the Middle East.
In addition, Los Angeles County prosecutors did not object to his parole, following District Attorney George Gascon’s policy that prosecutors should not be involved in deciding whether prisoners are ready for release.
The decision had a personal element for Newsom, a fellow Democrat, who displays RFK photographs in his official and home offices. One of them is that of Kennedy with Newsom’s late father.
Newsom has previously reflected on the seriousness of taking Sirhan’s fate into his own hands, saying it was an emotional issue that echoed back in the turbulent ’60s and wanted to reopen memories that many would like to forget. .
Sirhan was originally sentenced to death, but that sentence was commuted to life when the California Supreme Court briefly stayed the death penalty in 1972.
His lawyer, Angela Berry, said he now has a heart condition and has survived prostate cancer, valley fever, and another inmate cut his throat in 2019.
Munir Sirhan has said that his elder brother could live with him if he was freed and not sent to Jordan. Sirhan Sirhan waived his right to fight exile.