Sirhan Sirhan, the man convicted of killing then-presidential candidate Robert F. Kennedy in a brazen 1968 assassination, was denied parole Wednesday for the 16th time, according to multiple reports, as a California parole board reversed course on a 2021 decision to free him that Gov. Gavin Newsom (D) blocked.
Sirhan’s attorney, Angela Berry, argued that the 2021 decision to grant him parole was correct since the 78-year-old is no longer a threat to society and has shown remorse for the murder nearly 55 years ago—claims the parole board denied.
Newsom blocked Sirhan’s parole in January 2022, saying “he has failed to address the deficiencies that led him to assassinate Senator Kennedy.”
Berry said she believes Wednesday’s decision was wrongly influenced by the governor’s move and pressure from the Kennedy family, according to the Associated Press.
Sirhan, 78, killed Kennedy and injured five others at the Ambassador Hotel in Los Angeles on June 5, 1968, shortly after Kennedy gave a speech marking his victory in the California Democratic primary. Sirhan—a Palestinian immigrant—cited Kennedy’s support for Israel as the reason for the assassination. Many political observers believe the RFK assassination may have changed the course of American political history. Kennedy appeared on a path to the Democratic nomination with support from a broad coalition of voting demographics, while his youth and liberal ideology energized the Democratic base. Democrats instead nominated then-Vice President Hubert Humphrey at a tumultuous 1968 convention, where Humphrey—a moderate who supported the Vietnam War—fended off a challenge from progressive Eugene McCarthy. Humphrey went on to lose the general election to Republican Richard Nixon by a margin of more than 100 electoral votes. Several of Kennedy’s children have opposed Sirhan’s bids for parole, though two of his sons supported releasing him in 2021.
Kennedy served more than three years as U.S. attorney general during the administrations of his brother, President John F. Kennedy, and President Lyndon B. Johnson. He was a U.S. senator from New York at the time of his death.
RFK Assassin Sirhan Sirhan’s Request For Parole Approved (Forbes)
Robert F. Kennedy Assassin Sirhan Sirhan Denied Parole (Forbes)
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