OAN Geraldyn Berry
5:27 PM PT – Wednesday, March 1, 2023
Sirhan Sirhan, the infamous assassin of Robert F. Kennedy, was rejected release for the 16th time after appearing in front of a parole board hearing in San Diego County on Wednesday.
California Governor Gavin Newsom (D-Calif.) had previously overturned the board’s decision from 2022 to free Sirhan. The Democrat cited that Sirhan continues to pose a danger to the public and refuses to own up to a crime that altered American history.
Because of the now 78-year-old’s “love for R.F. Kennedy,” whom he named as his political idol, Sirhan’s lawyer Angela Berry stated that she did not anticipate it to change Newsom’s mind, regardless if the board found him suitable for release a second time.
According to Berry, the Palestinian/Jordanian has served more than 54 years in prison, has been deemed not dangerous to society and should be released. A key argument she reiterated to the board.
Sirhan had stated in a 3 1/2-minute speech played during a press conference hosted by Berry in September that he felt regret for his deeds every day. It was the first time Sirhan’s voice had been heard in a public setting since a parole hearing that was shown on television in 2011.
“To transform this weight into something positive, I have dedicated my life to self-improvement, the mentoring of others in prison on how to live a peaceful life that revolves around nonviolence,” he said. “By doing this, I ensure that no other person is victimized by my actions again and hopefully make an impact on others to follow.”
Berry submitted a 53-page writ of habeas corpus requesting the judge to determine that Newsom broke state law, which stated that prisoners should be released from prison unless they now represent an excessive risk to the public safety. Current California legislation mandated that the parole panel take into account Sirhan’s age as a prisoner and the fact that he committed the crime when he was just 24-years-old.
Berry contested the governor’s decision, alleging an “abuse of discretion,” a rejection of Sirhan’s constitutional right to due process, and a breach of California law. She also claimed that Newsom misrepresented the facts in his judgment.
To note, six of RFK’s nine surviving children signed a letter publicly pleading with the Parole Board and Newsom not to grant Sirhan’s parole, with only Robert Kennedy Jr., supporting the recommendation.
According to his lawyer, Sirhan now has a heart condition and has survived prostate cancer, Valley fever and having his throat slashed by another prisoner in 2019.
In 1968’s crucial Democrat presidential primary in California, Robert “Bobby” Kennedy, a U.S. senator from New York, was assassinated by Sirhan just after declaring victory. During the shooting at the Los Angeles Ambassador Hotel, he also injured five other people.
When the California Supreme Court briefly abolished the death penalty in 1972, Sirhan’s original death sentence was converted to life in prison.