RFK Killer Recommended For Parole

Printed from: https://newbostonpost.com/2021/08/30/rfk-killer-recommended-for-parole/

The man who killed Robert F. Kennedy was recommended for parole this past Friday with the support of two of RFK’s sons.

Sirhan Sirhan, now 77 years old, shot and killed Robert F. Kennedy at the Ambassador Hotel in Los Angeles on June 5, 1968. It came just moments after Kennedy’s victory speech in the California primary. The Palestinian-born Sirhan killed Kennedy due to the presidential candidate’s support of Israel in the Six-Day War that took place in 1967.

Kennedy’s brother, President John F. Kennedy, was assassinated by Lee Harvey Oswald in Texas in 1963.

Sirhan has been incarcerated in California since 1969. A two-person panel recommended parole for him, but that’s not final just yet. The state’s Democratic governor, Gavin Newsom, can reverse the decision if he views Sirhan as a public threat. This comes as Newsom faces a recall election on Tuesday, September 14.

Douglas Kennedy, 54, who was born in 1967, is too young to remember his father’s assassination, which happened when he was only a year old. However, he and Robert F. Kennedy Jr., supported giving their father’s killer parole.

“I’m overwhelmed just by being able to view Mr. Sirhan face to face,” Douglas Kennedy said during a virtual hearing on Friday, according to CNN. “I think I’ve lived my life both in fear of him and his name in one way or another. And I am grateful today to see him as a human being worthy of compassion and love.”

Robert F. Kennedy Jr., who is 67, is best known for his vaccine skepticism. He said that he met with Sirhan and that the man “wept, clenching my hands, and asked for forgiveness.”

Kennedy Jr. said he is ready to forgive.

“While nobody can speak definitively on behalf of my father, I firmly believe that based on his own consuming commitment to fairness and justice, that he would strongly encourage this board to release Mr. Sirhan because of Sirhan’s impressive record of rehabilitation,” Robert F. Kennedy Jr. said in a letter submitted for the hearing, according to the Associated Press.

Most of RFK’s children don’t support their father’s killer getting parole, however. That includes former Massachusetts congressman Joseph P. Kennedy II, Courtney Kennedy, Kerry Kennedy, Christopher Kennedy, Maxwell Kennedy, and Rory Kennedy.

“We are in disbelief that this man would be recommended for release,” they said in a statement given to the parole board, according to MSN. “We urge the Parole Board staff, the full Board, and ultimately, Governor Newsom, to reverse this initial recommendation. It is a recommendation we intend to challenge every step of the way, and we hope that those who also hold the memory of our father in their hearts will stand with us.”

Although RFK served as a U.S. senator for the state of New York, he was a Massachusetts native — like his brothers John F. Kennedy and longtime U.S. Senator Edward Kennedy (D-Massachusetts). RFK also served as the U.S. Attorney General during his brother’s administration and for a brief time afterward, from 1961 to 1964.


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