SAN DIEGO — A two-person panel voted to grant parole to Sirhan B. Sirhan, the man who was convicted of assassinating Sen. Robert F. Kennedy, but a decision is not final.
Sirhan shot Kennedy back in 1968 at the Ambassador Hotel in Los Angeles. This is Sirhan’s 16th attempt at parole and he reportedly had help from two of Kennedy’s sons, Robert F. Kennedy Jr. and Douglas Kennedy, who extended their support for parole.
“As children of Robert F. Kennedy, we are devastated that the man who murdered our father has been recommended for parole,” they said in a statement. “Our father’s death is a very difficult matter for us to discuss publicly and for the past mandy decades, we have declined to engage directly in the parole process.
Los Angeles District Attorney George Gascón stood by his decision to decline to participate in any post-sentencing decisions regarding parole or release. Sirhan was successful in getting convicted in 1969, but his death sentence was commuted to life in prison in 1972.
“The role of a prosecutor and their access to information ends at sentencing,” Alex Bastian, special advisor to Gascón, said in a statement.
“The parole board however has all the pertinent facts and evaluations at their disposal, including how someone has conducted themselves over the last few decades in prison,” he said. “The parole board’s sole purpose is to objectively determine whether someone is suitable for release.”
San Diego County District Attorney Summer Stephan said in a statement: “Robert F. Kennedy served honorably as U.S. Attorney General where he fought for civil rights and dignity and fought against organized crime and corruption,” she continued. “Senator Kennedy, along with any victim of crime, deserves to have the DA represent them as well as protect the safety and wellbeing of the people they are sworn to protect.”
This is story has been updated with more information.