Panel Denies Parole For Robert F. Kennedy’s Murderer

(Photo credit should read MIKE NELSON/AFP via Getty Images)

James Lynch Contributor
Font Size:

A California panel denied parole for Robert F. Kennedy’s murderer, Sirhan Sirhan, on Wednesday, claiming he still does not know why he killed Kennedy.

Sirhan’s lawyer, Angela Berry, believes he knows why he shot Kennedy and would not pose a threat to society if released, according to the Associated Press (AP). A separate California parole board voted to grant Sirhan parole in 2021, but the decision was rejected by Democratic California Gov. Gavin Newsom. (RELATED: Robert F. Kennedy Assassin Granted Parole — With Support Of RFK’s Sons)

In a January 2022 op-ed for the LA Times, Newsom said, “I have determined that Sirhan has not developed the accountability and insight required to support his safe release into the community.” Berry believes the panel’s recommendation was influenced by Newsom’s decision. She asked a Los Angeles judge to reverse Newsom’s denial and release Sirhan six months after the governor made his decision.

Kennedy’s family has been divided on whether Sirhan deserves parole. Ethel Kennedy, the widow of Robert F. Kennedy, and six of their children came out against parole. Two of Kennedy’s sons favor parole, including Robert F. Kennedy Jr., who does not believe Sirhan acted alone, according to the New York Post.

Sirhan shot and killed Kennedy at the Ambassador Hotel in Los Angeles in June of 1968, shortly after Kennedy won the California Democratic presidential primary and emerged as a front runner for the party’s nomination, the AP reported. Kennedy was a senator from New York, and U.S. attorney general in his brother John F. Kennedy’s administration before he ran for president.

Sirhan was initially sentenced to death, however his sentence was commuted to life in prison when the state briefly outlawed the death penalty in 1972. He was denied parole 15 times before the parole board recommended his release in 2021, according to the AP.