Sirhan Sirhan was paroled again Wednesday, 55 years after he shot and killed presidential candidate Robert F. Kennedy in Los Angeles.
The latest denial by a California board in San Diego comes after Sirhan was found eligible for parole by a two-member parole panel in 2021, but the decision was overturned by Governor Gavin Newsom.
In an op-ed published in The Times in January 2022, Newsom wrote that Sirhan, who shot and killed Kennedy and wounded five others at the Ambassador Hotel in Los Angeles on June 5, 1968, remained a threat to the public.
Sirhan’s lawyer, Angela Berry, said Wednesday’s refusal by the two-member parole board was influenced by Newsom’s stubborn opposition to the 78-year-old’s release.
The decision “suggests they gave in to the governor’s political whims,” Berry said in an interview with The Times.
“It didn’t go as planned,” said Berry.
At Wednesday’s hearing, several people spoke out against Sirhan’s release, including members of the Kennedy family and their attorney, Berry said.
“We didn’t have Paul Schrade present this year. (He) was the last surviving victim who favored parole,” Berry said.
Schrade, who died in November, had repeatedly argued for Sirhan’s release and believed more than one gunman was involved in the shooting.
Schrade’s sister, Louise “Weezie” Stone Duff, spoke out on Wednesday for Sirhan’s release, Berry said.
Berry said she was unsure what next steps will be taken on Sirhan’s behalf.
An appeal against Newsom’s parole denial is making its way through the court, and Berry said she is reluctant to file another appeal against Wednesday’s denial.
“The argument would be… (Sirhan) was found fit, and there is nothing in the intervening year and a half that would suggest that he has taken a downward spiral to make him unfit,” said Berry.
“Yet they came to a contrary decision which is not supported by the file,” Berry added.