Robert F. Kennedy’s Assassin Recommended for Parole: Could He Soon Be a Free Man?
Assassin Sirhan B. Sirhan, who killed Senator Robert F. Kennedy in 1968, was recommended for parole on Friday after Kennedy's two sons said they favored the suspect's release.
Although the assassin was recommended to be freed from prison, it would not assure his release because the California Governor can still overturn the decision by the two-person panel, NBC News reported.
The assassin was convicted for murder in 1969, and Sirhan was sentenced to death. But in 1972, the California Supreme Court found capital punishment "unconstitutional," resentencing the assassin with life imprisonment with a chance of parole.
Robert F. Kennedy Assassin's Freedom Could Take Months Before the Final Decision
Sirhan's recommendation was made possible when two Commissioners from the California Board of Parole reviewed the assassin's record while in prison and heard the side of Kennedy's sons.
Now, the California Parole Board staff will be given at least 90 days to review the decision. The state governor would also be given another 30 days to approve, deny, or modify the decision.
If the governor denies the parole, Sirhan will be given another chance as the assassin can apply for parole once again in three years. If the decision of the panel would be approved, then Sirhan will be freed from jail.
One of Robert F. Kennedy's sons, Douglas Kennedy, said that Sirhan should be released if the assassin is not a threat to others.
"I am grateful today to see him as a human being worthy of compassion and love," Douglas Kennedy said, adding that he was "overjoyed" just by seeing the assassin face to face.
Meanwhile, Paul Schrade, a labor leader who worked with Kennedy, said Sirhan should be released even though the assassin also shot him on the same night. He argued that Sirhan did not shoot Robert Kennedy. Schrade noted that he was shot first by the assassin, and the second shot missed Kennedy.
"Getting him [Sirhan] out of the picture means that we have a better chance of making the case," said Schrade, adding that this would allow the second gunman, whom he claimed killed Kennedy, to be identified and convicted.
Concerns About Robert F. Kennedy's Assassin Being Freed
If the governor would approve the parole, Kennedy's assassin could be deported to Jordan, as Sirhan, a Christian Palestinian, was from the said country.
Parole Board Commissioner Robert Barton expressed his worries on the assassin's release, contending that Sirhan might become a "symbol or lightning rod" to uproar violence.
Some family members of the Kennedys, law enforcement officers from Los Angeles, and the public submitted letters to oppose the release of Kennedy's assassin. The lack of District Attorney's Office presence during Sirhan's hearing was also criticized by some prosecutors.
"That is disgraceful and it's an abrogation of the responsibilities of the elected District Attorney of Los Angeles," California District Attorney's Association president Vern Pierson said.
However, in the hearing with the California Parole Board, Robert F. Kennedy's assassin promised that he would never put himself in jeopardy once again and announced his commitment to peace. The recent recommendation for parole marked Sirhan's 16th application for parole.
This article is owned by Latin Post
Written By: Joshua Summers
WATCH: RFK Assassin Recommended for Parole - From CBS Evening News
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