Robert Kennedy's Assassin Denied Parole For 16th Time
On Wednesday, Sirhan Sirhan, serving a life sentence for assassinating presidential candidate Robert F. Kennedy in 1968, was denied parole for the 16th time despite a review board recommending he walk free in 2021....
- On Wednesday, Sirhan Sirhan, serving a life sentence for assassinating presidential candidate Robert F. Kennedy in 1968, was denied parole for the 16th time despite a review board recommending he walk free in 2021.1
- Sirhan was convicted of shooting and killing Kennedy, a New York Senator and brother of John F. Kennedy, at the Ambassador Hotel in Los Angeles right after he won the California Democratic presidential primary. Five others were also wounded.2
- The California panel behind Wednesday's ruling claimed that Sirhan, 78, still lacks insight into his actions that day. Sirhan's lawyer, Angela Berry, countered that he has shown awareness of the incident and that psychiatrists have said he's unlikely to be a danger to society.3
- In a three-minute message played in September 2022, Sirhan claimed that he felt remorse every day for his actions. He was originally sentenced to death, however, this was changed to life when the California Supreme Court outlawed capital punishment in 1972.4
- While a different panel accepted Sirhan's request for parole two years ago, the decision was overruled by Democratic California Gov. Gavin Newsom. Sirhan has since sued Newsom over the matter.5
- Berry claims that Newsom and Kennedy's surviving relatives have influenced the board members to oppose Sirhan's release. Sirhan cannot apply for parole for another three years, although he can file a petition for this to be reduced.6
Sources: 1BBC News, 2Independent, 3Politico, 4NBC, 5Reuters and 6Associated Press.
- Pro-establishment narrative, as provided by Los angeles times. Sirhan hasn't developed the accountability and insight required for his parole. The murder not only deprived the nation of a promising leader during a time of national turmoil, but it also left 11 children without a father. Equally as important, his shifting narrative of claiming not to remember the crime and portraying himself as the victim to later expressing remorse shows he hasn't learned from the event and is still a risk of further violence.
- Establishment-critical narrative, as provided by San francisco chronicle. For decades, the state's own psychiatrists have deemed that Sirhan poses no threat to society. Robert Kennedy had a Catholic belief in redemption, forgiveness, and justice, and honoring the previous board's ruling to release Sirhan would uphold these values. With some evidence pointing towards Sirhan potentially not even being the ultimate murderer — despite his indisputable role in the crime — it's time to let him go.