Newsom denies parole Sirhan Sirhan, assassin of Robert F. Kennedy

Robert F. Kennedy’s widow calls for her husband’s killer not to be released.

Photo: Harry Benson/Express/Getty Images

The Governor of California Gavin Newsom on Thursday refused parole Sirhan sirhan, the 77-year-old Palestinian immigrant who was convicted of the 1968 murder of Sen. Robert F Kennedy (DN.Y.) in The angels.

A two-member panel of California’s parole board in August approved Sirhan’s release after serving 53 years behind bars, and that ruling was later approved by the parole board’s legal staff.

But California voters amended their state constitution in 1988 to allow the governor to overturn decisions of the state Board of Parole Hearings in convicted murder cases.

Newsom chose to do so, saying in an opinion piece published in the Los Angeles Times that Sirhan, after decades in prison, “has not addressed the shortcomings that led him to assassinate Senator Kennedy. Mr. Sirhan lacks the insight that would prevent him from making the same kinds of dangerous decisions he has made in the past.”

Sirhan sirhan
Sirhan Sirhan arrested after shooting Senator Robert F. Kennedy in 1968. /Photo: Keystone/Getty Images

Kennedy’s wife, eththe kennedy, She publicly declared her opposition to parole in September, and six of her nine surviving children joined her. The family said in a statement late Thursday that they appreciate Newsom’s decision. “We greatly appreciate the Governor’s consideration of the facts and his faithful application of the law,” said the statement. “His decision represents a vindication of the rule of law over all who would betray him with hatred and violence…, the Governor protects Californians and people around the world, and that is in the tradition and true to the legacy of Robert Kennedy. We are deeply grateful for this decision.”

The revocation returns Sirhan’s case to the parole board, that he must have another parole hearing within 18 months, according to California law.

Senator Robert F. Kennedy was 42 years old and had just won the California Democratic presidential primary when he was shot at close range in the back of the head, as he moved through the pantry of the Ambassador Hotel in downtown Los Angeles shortly after midnight on June 5, 1968. Two more shots at close range slightly wounded the senator, and a fourth went through his jacket without hitting him, all by the back.

Kennedy died a day later, on June 6, 1968, further convulsing a country already reeling from the assassination two months before of civil rights leader Martin Luther King Jr. and four and a half years after the assassination of Kennedy’s brother, President John F. Kennedy.

Some believed that Senator Robert F. Kennedy had a chance to capture the Democratic nomination for president and follow his older brother John to the White House.

With information from The Washington Post and the Los Angeles Times

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