Sirhan Sirhan
FILE - Sirhan Sirhan reacts during a parole hearing at the Richard J. Donovan Correctional Facility in San Diego on Feb. 10, 2016. (AP Photo/Gregory Bull, Pool, File)
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By Don Thompson, AP

Sirhan Sirhan, who assassinated presidential candidate Robert F. Kennedy in 1968, was denied parole Thursday by California’s governor, who said the killer remains a threat to the public and hasn’t taken responsibility for a crime that altered American history.

Kennedy, a U.S. senator from New York, was shot moments after he claimed victory in California’s pivotal Democratic presidential primary. Five others were wounded during the shooting at the Ambassador Hotel in Los Angeles.

Democratic Gov. Gavin Newsom, who has cited RFK as his political hero, rejected a recommendation from a two-person panel of parole commissioners who said Sirhan, 77, should be freed. The panel’s recommendation in August had divided the Kennedy family, with two of RFK’s sons — Douglas Kennedy and Robert F. Kennedy Jr. — supporting his release, and their siblings and mother vehemently opposing it.

In his decision, Newsom said the assassination was “among the most notorious crimes in American history,” Aside from causing Kennedy’s then-pregnant wife and 10 children “immeasurable suffering,” Newsom said the killing “also caused great harm to the American people.”

It “upended the 1968 presidential election, leaving millions in the United States and beyond mourning the promise of his candidacy,” Newsom wrote. “Mr. Sirhan killed Senator Kennedy during a dark season of political assassinations, just nine weeks after Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.’s murder and four and a half years after the murder of Senator Kennedy’s brother, President John F. Kennedy.”

He said Sirhan still lacks insight, refuses to accept responsibility and has failed to disclaim violence committed in his name. That adds “to his current risk of inciting further political violence,” Newsom wrote.

In 1973, terrorists took 10 hostages at an embassy in Sudan, demanding the release of Sirhan and other prisoners and killing three diplomats when their demands weren’t met, he noted.

Sirhan, who will be scheduled for a new parole hearing no later than February 2023, will ask a judge to overturn Newsom’s denial, defense attorney Angela Berry said.

“We fully expect that judicial review of the governor’s decision will show that the governor got it wrong,” she said.

State law holds that inmates are supposed to be paroled unless they pose a current unreasonable public safety risk, she said, adding that “not an iota of evidence exists to suggest Mr. Sirhan is still a danger to society.”

She said the parole process has become politicized, and Newsom “chose to overrule his own experts (on the parole board), ignoring the law.”

Sirhan Sirhan
By California Department of Corrections – California Department of Corrections photographic records., Public Domain 

Parole commissioners found Sirhan suitable for release “because of his impressive extensive record of rehabilitation over the last half-century,” Berry said. “Since the mid-1980’s Mr. Sirhan has consistently been found by prison psychologists and psychiatrists to not pose an unreasonable risk of danger to the public.”

During his parole hearing, the white-haired Sirhan called Kennedy the “hope of the world.” But he stopped short of taking full responsibility for a shooting he said he doesn’t recall because he was drunk.

“It pains me … the knowledge for such a horrible deed, if I did, in fact, do that,” Sirhan said.

Kennedy’s widow, Ethel, and six of his children hailed Newsom’s decision in a statement that called RFK a “visionary and champion of justice” whose life “was cut short by an enraged man with a small gun.”

“The political passions that motivated this inmate’s act still simmer today, and his refusal to admit the truth makes it impossible to conclude that he has overcome the evil that boiled over 53 years ago,” they wrote.

The panel’s decision was based in part on several new California laws since he was denied parole in 2016 — the 15th time he’d lost his bid for release.

Commissioners were required to consider that Sirhan committed his crime at a young age, when he was 24; that he now is elderly; and that the Christian Palestinian who immigrated from Jordan had suffered childhood trauma from the conflict in the Middle East.

In addition, Los Angeles County prosecutors didn’t object to his parole, following District Attorney George Gascón’s policy that prosecutors should not be involved in deciding whether prisoners are ready for release.

The decision had a personal element for Newsom, a fellow Democrat, who displays RFK photos in his official and home offices. One of them is of Kennedy with Newsom’s late father.

Sirhan originally was sentenced to death, but that sentence was commuted to life when the California Supreme Court briefly outlawed capital punishment in 1972.

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73 COMMENTS

  1. Agree with Newscum.Never thought I’d say that. Not a fan of RFK but perhaps if he’d been elected we would have left Vietnam a bit sooner. Trickey Dick & his “peace with honor” BS sure didn’t…

    • Richard Nixon was a traitor who conspired with foreign governments to sabotage the peace talks in Paris in order to win the election in 1968.

      The blood of every American soldier who died in Vietnam after 1968 is on the hands of Richard Nixon and the Republicans who supported him.

      • It was Senator John Kennedy who urged President Eisenhower to send the first advisors to Vietnam in the 50s. And later it was President John Kennedy who sent tens of thousands of soldiers to Vietnam. The Kennedys of always been War mongers. Democrat warmongers.

        • Oh lord both parties suck! Johnson & Nixon both expanded Vietnam! Goldwater ran on destroying communism. And both Johnson n Nixon lied about pretty much everything…

        • to former water walker
          I agree with you I don’t trust any of them. Including the Libertarians. People forget Richard Nixon was a liberal Republican. He supported banning handguns. Just like the liberal Republican William Weld governor in Massachusetts. Who signed the first state-level assault weapons ban. And he later ran as a Libertarian and the Libertarians were glad to have them!!!
          He never renounced his support for gun control.

        • To Chris Storm Trooper of the Far Right

          You flunked history class, a hallmark of the ignorant and prejudiced far right fanatics. Pres. John Kennedy realized his mistake and was in the process of pulling the troops out of Vietnam and most historical experts believe that is why the CIA had him killed.

        • FWW, sorry but that is simply incorrect. When JFK took office, there were 600 U.S. military advisors in Vietnam, put there by Eisenhower at the urging of Senator JFK. When JFK was assassinated, there were 13,500 supposed “advisors” in Vietnam. When Nixon took office, there were 550,000 U.S. combat troops in Vietnam, and that number decreased that week, for the first time since 1962. Nixon did NOT ever increase the number of troops in Vietnam, unless the numbers have been changed in order to be politically correct according to Democrats. There are plenty of things to throw rocks at Nixon for, why not stick to the ones which are true? You might also notice that the last combat death of an American in Vietnam occurred while Nixon was still in office. So, Kennedy and LBJ were definitely in office while Americans in Vietnam went from zero to 550,000, and Nixon was in office while they went down to very few Embassy personnel and deaths went to zero, so Democrats started and pursued the war, and Nixon ended it.

        • The most important thing to remember about Vietnam is that it was a proxy war between the United States and its allies on one side and the Soviet Union and Communist China on the other. The Vietnamese people were caught in the middle.

          Kennedy sent a handful of advisors. Because he didn’t live long enough, we can’t know if he would have sent tens of thousands of troops, taking over the war, which is what Johnson and then Nixon did. The difference between Johnson and Nixon is that Johnson never wanted to fight the war but was afraid of the political consequences of getting out. Nixon had the guts to turn the US military loose to attack the Ho Chi Minh trail in Cambodia and effectively bomb North Vietnam. This forced the North Vietnamese to at least appear to negotiate in good faith. That was good enough for the American people who were sick of Vietnam and ready to get out What finished Nixon was the Watergate coverup.

        • Kendahl, that take on LBJ has been proven bullshit for decades. The Gulf of Tonkin incident never happened, was totally made up in order to push Congress to give LBJ authority to broaden the war, which he did with great vigor. His entire plan was to make himself an indispensable wartime president, which he managed in 1964 but it had gotten very old in 1968 with over 40,000 dead. You sound like the complainers about Nixon, including Humphrey, who bitched that he had not ended the war when he’d been in office for 3 months, after Humphrey had been VP for 4 years constantly moving in men and materiel just as fast as the nation possibly could. Yet he thought Nixon could move all that out in 3 months? While LBJ/Humphrey were in office, American presence in Vietnam increased every single week, while Nixon was in office American presence in Vietnam decreased every single week. Look it up! And then ask yourself who has been spinning and twisting the truth for the past 50 years. Nixon campaigned on a promise to end the war, and he ended the war.
          What you should have addressed is that LBJ never wanted to WIN the war, he just wanted it to go on forever so he could retain power during the “emergency” or whatever. But he certainly went far out of his way to construct a huge war for no purpose other than to keep himself in power. Saying he never wanted to fight the war is just wrong.

      • For old Larry…Nixon expanded the war to Cambodia & Laos. And lied about it. While I had no accquaintences die in Nam I had several effed up forever. One who took until recently(!)to get covered for Agent Orange poisoning. You disagree with THAT???

        • Yes. I had a next-door neighbor, a high-school classmate, and an older brother who were KIA in Vietnam, and I was there in combat from Jun ’71-’72. As a puke, I am not certain how much Nixon knew about what was going on in Cambodia and Laos, but I’m pretty sure it was going on before Jan ’69 when Nixon took office. The entire supply chain for the Communists went through Laos and Cambodia, neither of which had a functioning government, It would have been pure malfeasance to NOT pursue the enemy within those countries. I have flown through a cloud of Agent Orange with no ill effects, think (with little evidence) the whole thing is a hoax, and many of those collecting free money forever were never even in Vietnam for a moment, some of whom were never in the military. So yes, I disagree with THAT!

        • Oh! Also, mentioning Laos and Cambodia, the only involvement we had with them was air interdiction of NVA supply lines, the only ground involvement was CIA. I think whatever books you’ve been reading were either misinformed or biased.
          And I neglected to mention several USAF pilot training classmates who were also KIA, couldn’t count those FUBAR.

    • @Chris T in KY

      William Weld ran on the LP ticket because his running mate Gary Johnson had enough pull in the LP to get the delegates in the LP to nominate him his getting picked caused a massive shake up among non party and party libertarians alike but please keep up with demonstrating you dont know crap about libertarians in general.

  2. Seems to me, he’s particular over who he shoots.

    Democrats.

    Free Sirhan! 🙂

        • And Chris the Storm Trooper you flunked history classes.

          The Vietnamese Generals did not get Kennedy’s approval for that crime and Kennedy was outraged when he found out about it. Kennedy had met several times with Diem and was friends with him. Kennedy did not issue orders to kill Diem.

          Records of the Kennedy national security meetings, both here and in our larger collection, show that none of JFK’s conversations about a coup in Saigon featured consideration of what might physically happen to Ngo Dinh Diem or Ngo Dinh Nhu. The audio record of the October 29th meeting which we cite below also reveals no discussion of this issue. That meeting, the last held at the White House to consider a coup before this actually took place, would have been the key moment for such a conversation. The conclusion of the Church Committee agrees that Washington gave no consideration to killing Diem. (Note 12) The weight of evidence therefore supports the view that President Kennedy did not conspire in the death of Diem.

          https://nsarchive2.gwu.edu/NSAEBB/NSAEBB101/index.htm

        • @dacian
          ” Records of the Kennedy national security meetings,both here and in ‘our’ larger collection,,,,” . And then, ” October 29 meeting which ‘we’ cite below,,,,”
          Our?, We, ?
          Your scaring me dacian.

      • Refresh my memory- which party was it that made a movie about the assassination of GW Bush? Could that be the Democraps?
        And who was it that had a photo of herself holding a severed head of President Trump? Could that be none other than the libtard Kathy Griffin? Say it isn’t so.
        You’ve got the assassination part right, just way off on the party.

    • mentally-I’ll??

      Wow, you really are stoooooopid 🤣!

      Examine your sorry life and make the changes you so desperately require!

      • If you had bothered to read the header (multi-tasking is difficult for the mentally-ill) you would have seen I composed that on an iPhone. It just so happens, even the supposedly ‘highly-educated’ know that typos happen even to the best.

        So what’s your sorry excuse, besides you having been dropped on your head as a baby (repeatedly).

        Really, son, just give it up, you’re not impressing anyone, and you deserve every kick in the nads you get… 🙂

        • Geoff the Florida Pervert: what you wrote isn’t so much a comeback as it is the confused rant of an angry drug addicted boomer who’s never known the love of a woman. Now take a seat fatso, adults are talking.

  3. He killed an American citizen, he should have got the chair years ago.
    How can you be pro bill of rights & not believe in killing the killers?

  4. No sympathy, no empathy for Sirhan. We didn’t have the brass to execute him, so he needs to die in prison. I don’t CARE whether he may or may not be a threat to anyone today. He needs to die in prison.

  5. The only reason why they’re not letting this murderer free is because it’s the year 2021. And last year the Libertarians liberals and the left demanded the release of thousands of criminals. Because of the Chinese flue. It didn’t matter if they were violent or not. They just complain that the jails are overcrowded.

    The three L”s are now trying to deal with the backlash that they created when they supported releasing violent felons in to the American population.

    The ghost of Michael Dukakis haunts the Democrats.

  6. Institutionalized for 53 years.
    Free Sirhan Sirhan.
    Let him suffer life like the rest of us do.
    A trip to the bare shelves might get you killed, filling up your gas tank might get your car stolen, 14 locks on your door not good enough, everyone might have a weapon, who knows who is crayz, and he’s never seen a skateboard.
    As quoted to me prior to my release from one who had spent his life behind bars, ” Why you want to leave man, we’re safe in here, out there you never know what might happen.”
    Does Siri really want to be freed?

  7. “Since the mid-1980’s Mr. Sirhan has consistently been found by prison psychologists and psychiatrists to not pose an unreasonable risk of danger to the public.”

    pshrink double talk. That means that Sirhan poses a REASONABLE risk of danger to the public? Is tha Chiraq reasonable, Oakland reasonable??? Apparently, the quacks won’t certify him as NO risk to the public.

    • What they’re saying is that we haven’t found him to be any nuttier than the panel of experts is. So, since we are allowed to walk among the sane population, he is probably no more of a danger than the panel. Reasoning like this is why dacian isn’t locked up.

  8. The Death of both Kennedy’s had a horrendous impact on the future of America. If John had lived there never would have been a Vietnam War as he was in the process of withdrawing the troops.

    If Bobby would have lived we would have gotten a National Health Care and Drug Plan decades ago and millions of American lives would have been saved to go on to lead a healthy and productive long life.

    • And if Ted wouldn’t have carried on the Kennedy tradition of public drunk, Mary Jo Kopechne would have gone on to lead a healthy and productive long life. Good riddance to them.

    • While I don’t doubt the possibility JFK would have ended the war, I have never seen any evidence he was even considering such a move. There is plenty of evidence he started the war, at the urging of family pal Francis Cardinal Spellman, as a means of subverting a Buddhist nation and forcing Catholicism or death upon them, a common choice for 1000 years or so. What was new, was the use of American blood and money to achieve those goals. That liberals insist that Kennedy was “in the process” of withdrawal or whatever, is simply the attempt to rewrite history, until someone presents some proof. Claiming that bald faced assumptions are somehow “history” is just stupid, as are those who claim special secret knowledge. See above.
      I mean, what? Bobby was some kind of god who would wave a magic wand to turn the country communist? WTF would convince a sane persn of such a possibility, much less that it was a given?

      • Herr Hauptman Larry you are the biggest rectum gas spreader on the forum. Move your indolent fingers across the keyboard before you start mouthing off far right nonsense.

        John F. Kennedy had formally decided to withdraw from Vietnam, whether we were winning or not. Robert McNamara, who did not believe we were winning, supported this decision.10 The first stage of withdrawal had been ordered. The final date, two years later, had been specified. These decisions were taken, and even placed, in an oblique and carefully limited way, before the public.

        https://bostonreview.net/articles/galbraith-exit-strategy-vietnam/

        And Robert Kennedy had tremendous support from the American people. Most greed monger gangster criminal prostitute Republicans knew they would have had there corrupt asses run out of Congress if they had blocked his National Health Care proposals.

        • Patent bullshit. And suddenly the death of just ONE Kennedy-god dispersed all that Communist energy in Congress, huh? How many years of far-left indoctrination did it take to get you so stupid?

  9. Let’s face it. Newsome could hardly demand a long prison sentence for an “insurrection” by a bozo in buffalo horns and a Speedo while at the same time freeing a actual political assassin.

    That would be too much — even for a Democrat.

  10. anyone else seen the live black and white film footage taken in that lower roo where the shooting actually happened? I have. Yes, this Sirhan guy was there. But give the number of rounds actually fired before SS guys started shotting back, and Sirhan’s relative position to RFK AT THE TIME the fatal rounds were fired. make it near impossible that Sirhan is the killer. There were a number of rounds fired from other positions toward RFK any one or more of which were likely the fatal ones.
    No one ever released any ballistics testing or report connecting the fatal rounds with the gun later found on Sirha, establising by even a prepoinderance of evidence that Sirha’s small handgun fired the fatal round, or any other that HI RFK. This assassination is a perfect fit and sequel to the assassination of RFK’s brother RFK. Sirhan was a patsy, just as is the guy allededly on the fifth floor of the Texas Book Depositiory building. Multipele rounds were fired at JFK from at least three different positions, none of them coming from that book warehous. Again, NO real autopsy reports to confirm.

    It may be that Sirhan was involved, somehow culpable, but the accusation HE was the sole respponsible assassin does not hold water given availble evidence, musch of which was NOT presented the jury in Sirhan’s murder trial. THAT is why he “hedges” when asked to admit full culpability. HE knew he did not kill him. I almost think those opposed to his release are fearful that some truth might come out once he is clear of da joit.

  11. He killed an anointed one. There will be no mercy. Had he killed any one of us, he would have been out 30 years ago.

  12. the only reason newsom did this:
    hes running for president in 2 years
    paroling a sitting senator and presidential hopeful assinator is a bad look
    yes
    even for a democrat

    • You have coined a new word, and I LIKE it! What is an ‘assinator,’ does it mean what I think that it means, and how do I use it in a sentence describing Liberal Progressives in general?! “Every one of those cork-soaking sonmanumbatching sneaky bastages is a child-fargin’ icehole assinator!”

      The word you were looking for is ‘assassin,’ but I don’t CARE. ‘Assinator’ is just too good a word to pass up.

  13. The guy committed one of the most famous political assassinations in American history and got away with life instead of a hanging… he should count himself lucky to live a long life behind bars

    What has he done to make up for the life he took?

    • Should have been broken on the rack, then drawn and quartered, over a period of days, on live TV. He sought attention, we should have given it to him. Plenty more examples, unfortunately I would be the first to point out that would require a Constitutional Amendment, although I would support such.

  14. Shoot a sitting Republican president and they’ll kick you loose in a few years.

    Shoot a democrat candidate for president (especially one named “Kennedy”) and they’ll lock you up and throw away the key.

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