SACRAMENTO, Calif. — Sirhan Sirhan, who assassinated presidential candidate Robert F. Kennedy in 1968, was denied parole Thursday by California’s governor, who stated the killer stays a menace to the general public and hasn’t taken duty for against the law that altered American historical past.
Kennedy, a U.S. senator from New York, was shot moments after he claimed victory in California’s pivotal Democratic presidential main. Five others have been wounded throughout the taking pictures on the Ambassador Hotel in Los Angeles.
Democratic Gov. Gavin Newsom, who has cited RFK as his political hero, rejected a advice from a two-person panel of parole commissioners who stated Sirhan, 77, must be freed. The panel’s advice in August had divided the Kennedy household, with two of RFK’s sons — Douglas Kennedy and Robert F. Kennedy Jr. — supporting his launch, and their siblings and mom vehemently opposing it.
In his choice, Newsom stated the assassination was “among the most notorious crimes in American history,” Aside from inflicting Kennedy’s then-pregnant spouse and 10 youngsters “immeasurable suffering,” Newsom stated the killing “also caused great harm to the American people.”
It “upended the 1968 presidential election, leaving millions in the United States and beyond mourning the promise of his candidacy,” Newsom wrote. “Mr. Sirhan killed Senator Kennedy during a dark season of political assassinations, just nine weeks after Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.’s murder and four and a half years after the murder of Senator Kennedy’s brother, President John F. Kennedy.”
He stated Sirhan nonetheless lacks perception, refuses to just accept duty and has didn’t disclaim violence dedicated in his title. That provides “to his current risk of inciting further political violence,” Newsom wrote.
In 1973, terrorists took 10 hostages at an embassy in Sudan, demanding the release of Sirhan and other prisoners and killing three diplomats when their demands weren’t met, he noted.
Sirhan, who will be scheduled for a new parole hearing no later than February 2023, will ask a judge to overturn Newsom’s denial, defense attorney Angela Berry said.
“We fully expect that judicial review of the governor’s decision will show that the governor got it wrong,” she said.
State law holds that inmates are supposed to be paroled unless they pose a current unreasonable public safety risk, she said, adding that “not an iota of evidence exists to suggest Mr. Sirhan is still a danger to society.”
She said the parole process has become politicized, and Newsom “chose to overrule his own experts (on the parole board), ignoring the law.”
Parole commissioners found Sirhan suitable for release “because of his impressive extensive record of rehabilitation over the last half-century,” Berry said. “Since the mid-1980’s Mr. Sirhan has consistently been found by prison psychologists and psychiatrists to not pose an unreasonable risk of danger to the public.”
During his parole hearing, the white-haired Sirhan called Kennedy the “hope of the world.” But he stopped wanting taking full duty for a taking pictures he stated he doesn’t recall as a result of he was drunk.
“It pains me … the knowledge for such a horrible deed, if I did, in fact, do that,” Sirhan stated.
Kennedy’s widow, Ethel, and 6 of his youngsters hailed Newsom’s choice in a press release that referred to as RFK a “visionary and champion of justice” whose life “was cut short by an enraged man with a small gun.”
“The political passions that motivated this inmate’s act still simmer today, and his refusal to admit the truth makes it impossible to conclude that he has overcome the evil that boiled over 53 years ago,” they wrote.
The panel’s choice was based mostly partially on a number of new California legal guidelines since he was denied parole in 2016 — the fifteenth time he’d misplaced his bid for launch.
Commissioners have been required to contemplate that Sirhan dedicated his crime at a younger age, when he was 24; that he now could be aged; and that the Christian Palestinian who immigrated from Jordan had suffered childhood trauma from the battle within the Middle East.
In addition, Los Angeles County prosecutors didn’t object to his parole, following District Attorney George Gascón’s coverage that prosecutors shouldn’t be concerned in deciding whether or not prisoners are prepared for launch.
The choice had a private aspect for Newsom, a fellow Democrat, who shows RFK images in his official and residential places of work. One of them is of Kennedy with Newsom’s late father.
Sirhan initially was sentenced to dying, however that sentence was commuted to life when the California Supreme Court briefly outlawed capital punishment in 1972.