Sirhan Sirhan – who killed Robert F. Kennedy in 1968 – could be a free man after prosecutors said they would not oppose his parole for the first time and Kennedy’s children said they support his release
- Sirhan B. Sirhan – convicted of the murder of Robert F. Kennedy in 1968 – will be released for the 16th time on Friday
- He was originally sentenced to death, but the sentence was reduced to life in prison when California temporarily abolished the death penalty
- Prosecutors will not oppose the motion or support his release
- RFK Jr. visited Sirhan in prison in 2018 and believes Sirhan did not kill his father and supported his release
- Sirhan has maintained that he cannot remember the shooting or his confession
The man who assassinated Senator Robert F. Kennedy in 1968 could be released on parole Friday after prosecutors said they would not oppose the motion.
Sirhan B. Sirhan, now 77, has spent the past 53 years in a San Diego prison and will appear before a California parole board for the 16th time Friday.
His last hearing was in February 2016.
He was originally sentenced to death, but California briefly banned the death penalty and his sentence was reduced to life in prison, with that loophole also giving him the chance to seek freedom.
Newly elected Los Angeles County District Attorney George Gascón told: The Washington Post before its inauguration in December, which is one of its initiatives to establish a conviction review unit to review the cases of approximately 20,000 low-risk or elderly inmates.
Sirhan Sirhan – pictured hearing speaking at his 15th parole hearing in February 2016 – will be released on parole again on Friday
Sirhan was convicted of assassinating rising Senator Robert F. Kennedy – pictured here hours before he was shot – in June 1968 and spent more than half a century behind bars
Kennedy Sr. lies on his back after being shot through the head. He died a day later
Sirhan was arrested at the scene of the political murder in Los Angeles but claims he has no recollection of shooting RFK or making a confession
He told the paper that he will be out of most parole cases.
Gascón’s office will not attend Sirhan’s parole hearing, The Washington Post reported, which the Los Angeles prosecutor has done the first 15 times.
But his office will also not send a letter in support of Sirhan’s parole, The Washington Post reported.
“The role of a prosecutor and their access to information ends with conviction,” Alex Bastian, Gascon’s special counsel, told The Washington Post.
“The sole purpose of the probation service is to objectively determine whether someone is eligible for release. If someone is the same person who committed a heinous crime, that person will rightly be found unfit for release.
However, if someone no longer poses a threat to public safety after more than 50 years in prison, the probation commission can recommend release on the basis of an objective determination.’
Parole was backed by Robert Kennedy Jr., who visited Sirhan in prison in 2018 to tell him he didn’t think he killed his father, The hill reported.
Former Maryland Lieutenant Governor Kathleen Kennedy Townsend said in 2018 that she supported her brother’s call for a new investigation into their father’s murder.
Sirhan was arrested on June 5, 1968 at the scene of the Kennedy assassination in Los Angeles and convicted of first-degree murder after he confessed, but he has maintained over the years that he cannot remember the day of the confession.
Sirhan Sirhan is pictured here with his lawyer, Russell E. Parsons
Sirhan was sentenced to death, but when California temporarily abolished the death penalty, his sentence was reduced to life
Kennedy Sr. had just finished giving his victory speech to cheering supporters at the Ambassador Hotel in Los Angeles when he decided to walk through the hotel kitchen.
He had stopped to shake the hand of a busboy who had delivered a 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 during an official visit to Dallas. Former US Marine Lee Harvey Oswald was blamed for the murder, which shocked the world, and was shot dead just two days later by vigilante Jack Ruby, leading to later claims of a cover-up.
Sirhan’s lawyers have claimed that he may have been hypnotized and framed as part of a massive conspiracy.
Nearly two years ago – in late August 2019 – Sirhan was stabbed by a fellow inmate at the Richard J. Donovan Correctional Facility and hospitalized.