The governor of California rejects the request of Sirhan Sirhan, convicted of the murder of the then presidential candidate in 1968
California Governor Gavin Newsom on Thursday denied parole to the author of the murder of former United States Senator Robert. F Kennedy (RFK), Sirhan Sirhan, despite the recommendations of the state Board of Prisons last August.
The staff of the Board had a period of 120 days to determine the decision, although the Governor of California has had 30 more days to approve, modify or deny it, the latter ultimately being what he has decided, as explains the NBC network.
Newsom has published an article in the newspaper ‘Los Angeles Times’ –titled ‘Why won’t I release Sirhan Sirhan on parole?’– in which he explains his decision arguing that the person responsible for RFK’s death “has not developed the responsibility and knowledge necessary to support their safe release into the community.”
The Californian governor has also taken the opportunity to extol the figure of the senator, and has lamented that Sirhan Sirhan “deprived the world of a young and promising leader” and “left his eleven children without a father.” “The Kennedy family grieves for their loss every day. Millions of Americans lost a unifying person at a time of national turmoil and grief.”
Newsom has alleged that Sirhan has not shown the necessary lucidity to be returned to society with guarantees that he will not make any “dangerous and destructive” decisions again. To defend this position, the governor has given as an example the constant change in the narrative offered by the accused regarding what happened and his refusal to assume responsibility for the murder, despite the fact that he had done so in the past.
“His parole would pose a threat to public security (…) He cannot be safely released from prison because he has not mitigated his risk of fomenting more political violence,” the governor has settled in reference to Sirhan’s consideration as a referent of «political violence».
Newsom has made the decision to reject Sirhan’s parole despite the fact that two of RFK’s sons were in favor of this measure at the end of last August, when they attended a virtual hearing.
One of the sons, Douglas Kennedy, said he felt “overwhelmed” to be able to see the perpetrator face to face. “I think I have lived my life fearing both him and his name (…) I am grateful to see him as a human being worthy of compassion and love,” he said.
For his part, Robert F. Kennedy Jr., who also supported Sirhan’s release, said he was moved when he met him face to face. “He cried, grabbed my hands and apologized,” he explained.
Sirhan came to the state Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation in May 1969 after being convicted of first-degree murder when he shot Kennedy to death in a Los Angeles hotel kitchen.
RFK had held a campaign event in that place to celebrate the victory in the primary elections of the Democratic Party in the race for the Presidency of the United States in 1968.
The senator’s loss came less than five years after the assassination of his brother, President John F. Kennedy, on November 22, 1963, in Dallas, Texas.
Although he was originally sentenced to death, Sirhan’s punishment was commuted to life in prison in 1972 after the California Supreme Court declared the death penalty unconstitutional.
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