Social Navigation

RFK assassin Sirhan Sirhan denied parole


LOS ANGELES — A California panel on Wednesday rejected the parole of Sirhan Sirhan, the man who fatally shot Robert F. Kennedy in 1968.

The three-member panel denied parole to Sirhan, 78, for three years, a Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation spokesperson said.

In August 2021, a parole board deemed Sirhan fit for parole, but Governor Gavin Newsom overruled it.

Image: Sirhan Bishara Sirhan, right, accused assassin of Senator Robert F. Kennedy, with his attorney Russell E. Parsons, June 1968.
Sirhan Bishara Sirhan, right, accused of murdering Senator Robert F. Kennedy, with his attorney Russell E. Parsons, June 1968.AP file

“I have determined that Sirhan has not developed the responsibility and insight necessary to support his safe release in the community,” Newsom wrote in a January 2022 Los Angeles Times op-ed.

Sirhan opened fire on Kennedy, a U.S. senator representing New York, at the Ambassador Hotel in Los Angeles on June 5, 1968, shortly after Kennedy won the California presidential primary.

Sirhan was convicted of first degree murder and assault with intent to murder.

He has been imprisoned in the state system since 1969. A death sentence was commuted to life imprisonment in 1972.

His attorney, Angela Berry, did not immediately respond to a request for comment Wednesday afternoon.

Berry argued that Sirhan’s psychiatrists have said for decades that he is unlikely to reoffend or be a danger to society, the Associated Press reported.

The Kennedy family in January 2022 said they were relieved by Newsom’s decision to rescind Sirhan’s parole grant.

A parole is granted when an inmate is found suitable and recommended for parole, but grants are still subject to review by the commission’s legal office and the governor.

The Kennedy family said at the time that Sirhan “continues to deflect blame for his crime through 16 parole hearings”, and they called the murder one of the most infamous crimes in history.

Joanna Swanson

Joanna Swanson is Europe correspondent at the Thomson Reuters Foundation based in Brussels covering politics, culture, business, climate change, society, economies and inclusive tech. With specific focus in breaking news, she has covered some of the world's most significant stories.