Sirhan Sirhan, the man who shot and killed Robert F. Kennedy 55 years ago in Los Angeles, was denied parole on Wednesday by a panel in California.
It marks the first time that Sirhan’s case has been up for review after a different parole board recommended that he be released in 2021.
Gov. Gavin Newsom rejected that recommendation in January 2022, arguing that Sirhan still poses a threat to public safety.
‘Mr. Sirhan’s assassination of Senator Kennedy is among the most notorious crimes in American history,’ Newsom said at the time. ‘Mr. Sirhan killed Senator Kennedy during a dark season of political assassinations, just nine weeks after Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.’s murder and four and a half years after the murder of Senator Kennedy’s brother, President John F. Kennedy.’
Sirhan, 78, assassinated Robert F. Kennedy at Los Angeles’ Ambassador Hotel on June 5, 1968.
RFK, a U.S. senator from New York who was in the midst of a presidential campaign, had just delivered a victory speech in California’s Democratic presidential primary.
A judge initially sentenced Sirhan to death, but his sentence was commuted to life in 1972 when California briefly outlawed capital punishment.
Sirhan’s attorney filed a writ of habeas corpus last September, arguing that Gov. Newsom’s denial of her client’s parole was an ‘abuse of discretion.’
A video of Sirhan was played at a news conference after that motion was filed, in which he apologized.
‘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,’ Sirhan said last September. ‘By doing this, I ensure that no other person is victimized by my actions again and hopefully make an impact on others to follow.’
Most of Kennedy’s surviving children supported Newsom’s rejection of Sirhan’s release last year, but two of his sons – Douglas Kennedy and Robert F. Kennedy Jr. – have expressed support for his release.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.