The man who assassinated Sen. Robert F. Kennedy in 1968 could be released on parole Friday after prosecutors said they won’t oppose his parole petition.
Sirhan B. Sirhan, now 77, has spent the last 53 years in a San Diego prison and is scheduled to stand in front of a
His last parole hearing was in February 2016.
He was originally sentenced to death, but California briefly outlawed capital punishment and his sentence was reduced to life in prison, with that loophole also giving him the chance to seek freedom.
Robert Kennedy Jr. is supporting Sirhan’s bid for freedom because he does not believe he is the man who killed his father.
In 2018, he visited Sirhan in prison and told him he did not think he was responsible for the shooting.
Sirhan confessed to the killing immediately after it happened in Los Angeles in 1968 but he has maintained for years that he has no memory of it.
Robert Kennedy Jr. said in 2018 that he believes someone else killed his father, and that Sirhan was set up to take the blame for it. He wants the case to be reopened.
LA County District Attorney George Gascon hasn’t indicated whether or not he will reopen the case and it’s unclear if Sirhan plans to file an appeal.
Prosecutors have opposed his parole efforts 15 times but LA County’s new DA, George Gascón’, is choosing to remain impartial this time.
Sirhan Sirhan – pictured hearing speaking at his 15th parole hearing in February 2016 – will be up for parole again on Friday
Sirhan was convicted of killing the up-and-coming Sen. Robert F. Kennedy – pictured here hours before he was shot – in June 1968 and spent more than half a century behind bars
Kennedy Sr. Is lying on his back after taking a bullet to the head. He died a day later
Sirhan was arrested at the scene of the Los Angeles political murder, but maintains that he doesn’t remember shooting RFK or confessing
Gascón’s office will not attend Sirhan’s parole hearing, nor do they plan to send a letter in support of him.
‘The role of a prosecutor and their access to information ends at sentencing,’ Alex Bastian, special adviser to Gascón, told The Washington Post.
‘The parole board’s sole purpose is to objectively determine whether someone is suitable for release.
‘If someone is the same person that committed an atrocious crime, that person will correctly not be found suitable for release.
However, if someone is no longer a threat to public safety after having served more than 50 years in prison, then the parole board may recommend release based on an objective determination.’
Former Maryland lieutenant governor Kathleen Kennedy Townsend said in 2018 that she supported her brother’s calls for a new investigation into their father’s killing.
Sirhan was arrested on June 5, 1968 at the scene of Kennedy’s Los Angeles assassination and convicted of first-degree murder after he confessed, but he has maintained over the years that he has no recollection of the day of the confession.
Sirhan Sirhan is pictured here with his attorney, Russel E. Parsons
Sirhan was sentenced to death but when California temporarily abolished the death penatlh, his sentence was reduced to life
Kennedy Sr. had just finished delivering his victory speech to cheering supporters at Los Angeles’ Ambassador Hotel when he decided to walk through the hotel kitchen.
He had stopped to shake hands with a busboy who had delivered foot to his room the day before when he was shot in the head. He died the next day.
His death came six years after his brother, President John F Kennedy, was shot and killed in Dallas on an official visit. Former US Marine Lee Harvey Oswald was blamed for the assassination, which shocked the world, and was shot dead by vigilante Jack Ruby just two days later, sparking subsequent claims of a cover-up.
Sirhan’s lawyers have asserted that he may have been hypnotized and framed as part of a vast conspiracy.
In 2018, Robert Kennedy Jr. revealed to The Washington Post that he’d visited Sirhan in prison in December 20187.
‘I went there because I was curious and disturbed by what I had seen in the evidence.
‘I was disturbed that the wrong person might have been convicted of killing my father.
‘My father was the chief law enforcement officer in this country. I think it would have disturbed him if somebody was put in jail for a crime they didn’t commit,’ he said.
Nearly two years ago to the day – late August 2019 – Sirhan was stabbed by a fellow inmate at the Richard J. Donovan Correctional Facility and hospitalized.