Sirhan B. Sirhan was sentenced to death for the assassination of 42-year-old Robert F. Kennedy (RFK). However, his sentence was commuted to life imprisonment after the laws in California were changed and the death penalty was abolished by the state. Now, the 77-year-old Christian born Palestinian from Jordan, is applying for parole for the 16th time on Friday and hopes to be released. The prosecutors say that they will not oppose his release.
Sirhan was arrested at the scene of the crime, the kitchen at the Ambassador Hotel, on June 5, 1968. He was convicted of first-degree murder. He was caught with a gun in his hand. In 1968, he confessed but years later he claimed that he didn’t remember the shooting. He has spent 53 years in a San Diego prison. The last time he had applied for parole, for the 15th time, was in 2016.
Robert Kennedy Jr. has supported Sirhan’s bid to be released. He visited Sirhan in prison in 2018 and believed that he was not responsible for his father’s death. Kennedy Jr. said that Sirhan had not killed his father but was set up. He wants a new investigation to be carried out. In 2018, former Maryland lieutenant governor Kathleen Kennedy Townsend, RFK’s daughter had agreed with her brother’s calls for reopening the investigation of their father’s death.
Los Angeles County District Attorney has not as yet indicated whether he would reopen the case. It is not known, as yet, if Sirhan will file an appeal.
Robert F. Kennedy is survived by wife Ethel and nine children. Most of the family declined to comment. They have not taken a position on the parole, nor have they requested to speak at the hearing.
LA County District Attorney told the Washington Post that the office would remain neutral. They would not attend the parole hearing, nor would they send a letter of support. The hearing by California Parole Board is scheduled for Friday at 8.30 a.m. at the Richard J. Donovan Correctional Facility at San Diego.
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