RFK assassin Sirhan Sirhan will seek parole without opposition from prosecutors

This will be the 16th time the convicted murderer has faced a parole board, but the first time he’s done so unopposed

<p>Sirhan Sirhan was convicted of assassinating Robert F Kennedy in 1968 </p>

Sirhan Sirhan was convicted of assassinating Robert F Kennedy in 1968

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The man convicted of assassinating Robert F Kennedy in 1968 will seek parole on Friday – this time without any prosecutors opposing him, The Washington Post has reported.

Sirhan Sirhan, 77, has been in a San Diego prison for 53 years, and has sought parole 15 times before. Each of those times, he was denied.

This time may be different. The Los Angeles County District Attorney’s office has said it will not send prosecutors to attend the Friday parole hearing, nor will it issue a letter supporting or opposing Sirhan’s release.

“The role of a prosecutor and their access to information ends at sentencing,” Alex Bastian, an adviser to District Attorney George Gascon, told the Post. “If someone is the same person that committed an atrocious crime, that person will correctly not be found suitable for release. However, if someone is no longer a threat to public safety after having served more than 50 years in prison, then the parole board may recommend release based on an objective determination.”

In June 1968, Senator Kennedy had just won the Democratic presidential primary in California and appeared poised to win his party’s nomination. After delivering a victory speech to a cheering crowd at the Ambassador Hotel in LA, the candidate walked through the hotel’s kitchen toward a press conference. He was then shot, and died a day later.

The murder, which came just two months after the assassination of Martin Luther King, Jr, was a traumatic turning point in American history. Having lost perhaps their strongest national candidate, the Democrats fell into disarray, held a convention marred by violence, and went on to lose the presidential election to Richard Nixon.

Some of the witnesses present at the assassination – including Kennedy aide Paul Schrade, who was also shot – said there were multiple shooters. But prosecutors insisted Sirhan had acted alone, and no other suspects were pursued.

So far, the Kennedy family has not commented on Sirhan’s upcoming parole hearing.

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