California governor denies parole for Robert Kennedy’s assassin

California Governor Gavin Newsom on Thursday refused to grant parole to Sirhan Sirhan, sentenced in 1969 for the assassination of Robert F. Kennedy, after a specialized board recommended granting the benefit.

“After decades in prison, he was unable to address the shortcomings that led to his assassination of Senator Kennedy,” the governor said in a statement. “Mr Sirhan lacks what could prevent him from making the same dangerous decisions he has made in the past,” added the Democratic Party politician.

Sirhan, 77, spent more than half a century behind bars. In August, an expert commission recommended his parole, a decision that should be reviewed and ultimately submitted to the governor of California.

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Initially sentenced to death for murdering Robert F. Kennedy in 1968, Sirhan was later commuted and sentenced to life in prison. He tried to get parole 15 times. And in 2021, for the first time, the Los Angeles district attorney did not object to the request.

Robert F. Kennedy, younger brother of the also assassinated John F. Kennedy, was shot in the early hours of June 6, 1968 at the Ambassador Hotel in Los Angeles after giving a speech for his victory in the Democratic Party primary in California. , towards the presidential race. The then senator died the next day, aged 42.

“Mr Sirhan’s assassination of Senator Kennedy ranks among one of the most remarkable crimes in the history of the United States,” Newsom wrote Thursday.

Sirhan, originally from Jerusalem and the United States since 1956, was convicted of the crime. At the age of 24, he confessed to the murder in court, but said he did not remember how it happened.

He was captured at the scene of the crime, still with the gun in his hand. In 2016, in a previous attempt to apply for parole, Sirhan argued that he had been drinking heavily the night of the crime and that he wished “nothing had happened”. He also claimed that the confession during his trial was the fault of a lawyer who gave him bad advice and convinced him he was guilty.

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