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January 13, 2022

California Gov Newsom reverse parole grant to Sirhan Sirhan, RFK's assassin

Under California law, the Governor reviews any recommendation of parole by a convicted murderer.  As explained in this new Los Angeles Tomes op-ed, California Governor Gavin Newsom has decided to reverse a parole decision in the high-profile case of Sirhan Sirhan.  Here is how the op-ed starts:

In 1968, Sirhan Sirhan assassinated Sen. Robert F. Kennedy just moments after Kennedy won the California presidential primary.  Sirhan also shot and injured five bystanders. Decades later, Sirhan refuses to accept responsibility for the crimes.

California’s Board of Parole Hearings recently found that Sirhan is suitable for parole. I disagree. After carefully reviewing the case, including records in the California State Archives, I have determined that Sirhan has not developed the accountability and insight required to support his safe release into the community. I must reverse Sirhan’s parole grant.

A copy of the Governor’s parole reversal decision can be found here.  Interestingly, and surely not coincidentally, Gov Newsom also decided today to announce a large number of clemency grants, as this press release details: "Governor Gavin Newsom today announced that he has granted 24 pardons, 18 commutations and 5 reprieves."

Prior related posts:

January 13, 2022 at 06:11 PM | Permalink


Shrewd political cover for all the other numerous clemencies. He knows that this one is the only case that will get significant press coverage.

Posted by: Bill Otis | Jan 13, 2022 10:29:27 PM

Since the LA County Coroner determined that all of the bullets came from behind Kennedy, making it impossible that Sirhan was the shooter, and since Sirhan has successfully proved that he had no memory of anything that night and successfully maintained that stance through multiple testing, examinations, etc., it is an atrocity that Newsom has done this. Another horrible horrible decision by a horrible horrible politician.

Posted by: restless94110 | Jan 14, 2022 7:04:01 PM

restless94110, welcome to the flat earth society!!

Posted by: anon12 | Jan 15, 2022 12:15:33 PM

People v. Sirhan, California Supreme Court (1972I)

"About 8:30 p.m. on June 2, 1968, two days before defendant shot Senator Kennedy, the senator made a speech in the Coconut Grove at the Ambassador Hotel in Los Angeles, following which he delivered a second speech outside the hotel. Defendant was seen at the hotel about 8:45 that night by an acquaintance. A half hour or less after the senator's second speech a hostess saw a man who looked like defendant in the kitchen near the Coconut Grove.

During the day on June 4, 1968, defendant practiced firing at a gun range for several hours and had also practiced shooting at ranges on several prior occasions. On June 4 he engaged in rapid fire with the .22 revolver he used a few hours later to kill Senator Kennedy. The revolver had been obtained by defendant in February 1968 when his brother Munir paid a fellow employee for it.

A person who talked with defendant at the gun range on June 4 testified that defendant stated he was ‘going to go on a hunting trip with his gun,’ that he told defendant it was not permissible to use pistols for hunting ‘because of the accuracy,’ and that defendant said, ‘Well, I don't know about that. It could kill a dog.’

About 10 or 11 p.m. on June 4, 1968, a secretary whose duties included seeing that unauthorized persons were not near the Embassy Ballroom of the Ambassador Hotel, saw defendant near that room and asked him who he was, and he turned and walked toward the doors leading into the ballroom.

Shortly before midnight on the same day defendant asked hotel employees if Senator Kennedy was going to come through the pantry, and they told him that they did not know. One of the employees observed defendant for about a half hour in the pantry and noticed nothing unusual about his manner or activity.

About midnight on June 4, Senator Kennedy made a speech in the Embassy Ballroom announcing his victory as a Democratic candidate for president in the California primary. Following the speech he and his entourage proceeded toward the hotel's Colonial Room, which was then being used as a press room. En route the senator stopped in the pantry to shake hands with the kitchen staff. Suddenly defendant darted toward the senator, pulled out a revolver, and fired several shots. The senator and a man adjacent to him, Paul Schrade, fell. Pandemonium ensued.

A hotel employee grabbed defendant around the wrist of the hand holding the gun, but defendant, who was still able to move that hand, continued shooting. Irwin Stroll, William Weisel, Elizabeth Evans and Ira Goldstein were injured by the gunfire. Several persons joined in the struggle and succeeded in restraining defendant, and one took the gun from him. When asked, ‘Why did you do it?,’ defendant replied something to the effect ‘I can explain.’


Posted by: Stacy from Nebraska | Jan 15, 2022 12:21:42 PM

When I was an egineering student at Columbia, Robert Kennedy came to speak. Though entirely nerdy and apolitical (as engineering students tend to be), I happened to stop by to hear Kennedy speak. He gave a moving and passionate speech. He was so charismatic in that speech, I was converted! As he came down the aisle shaking hands with audience members, I jostled to the end of the row to see him up close. I stood facing him. I reached out, and he shook my hand the way some politicians do, just squeezing my fingers so as not to tire out his hand. As we shook, I looked into his fierce blue eyes. To this day I have no doubt that had he said to me, "Follow me," I would have done so.

Posted by: Michael R. Levine | Jan 15, 2022 12:33:02 PM

Michael --

Thanks for sharing that very neat memory.

Posted by: Bill Otis | Jan 15, 2022 2:38:29 PM

Bill, you are welcome!

Posted by: Michael Levine | Jan 15, 2022 10:52:21 PM

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