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Saturday 9 December 2023 Dublin: 10°C
AP Photo/Ben Margot Sirhan Sirhan during his parole hearing in California yesterday.

Robert Kennedy killer denied parole - again

Sirhan Sirhan has always claimed he doesn’t remember the events of 5 June 1968 in which Senator Kennedy was shot dead; his lawyer says he may have been brainwashed.

THE MAN CONVICTED OF THE assassination of US Senator Robert Kennedy has been refused parole again, as Californian parole officers claim he hasn’t shown sufficient remorse for the death.

Kennedy was shot dead in the kitchen of the Ambassador Hotel, LA, on 5 June 1968 on the night he was announced the winner of the Californian presidential primary for the Democratic party.

Kennedy was shot three times and died over 24 hours later in hospital. Five other people were injured in the gun attack.

Sirhan Sirhan, now 66, was originally sentenced to death for Kennedy’s murder, but the sentenced was commuted to life in prison in 1972.

He has always claimed he could not remember the events of that night. Yesterday, he told the parole board:

I don’t remember pulling a gun from my body. I don’t remember aiming it any human being. Everything was always hazy in my head. I don’t remember anything very clearly… I’m not trying to evade anything.

He said he had undergone hypnosis, but it hadn’t helped him to remember that 5 June night.

When the parole panel mentioned the impact Robert Kennedy’s death had on his family – particularly in light of his brother JFK’s assassination five years before – Sirhan interrupted, saying: “That’s not my responsibility”.

A prison psychologist concluded that Sirhan has a low risk of violent behaviour in the future, but LA Deputy District Attorney David Dahle said the panel believed Sirhan would still post a “substantial danger” to the public if released, and has denied parole.

The death of presidential hopeful Bobby Kennedy has generated much speculation and a number of conspiracy theories. Sirhan’s lawyer brought some of these up at the parole hearing, saying he believed Sirhan may have been brainwashed and that a second gunman was involved in the assassination.

This was Sirhan’s 13th parole hearing since he was first jailed four decades ago, although he has on occasion refused to attend or speak at some of the previous hearings.

- includes reporting from the AP