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Former Pasadena Resident Sirhan Sirhan Appealing Newsom’s Decision to Deny His Parole

Published on Wednesday, September 28, 2022 | 11:50 am
Sirhan Sirhan describes being choked during a parole hearing Wednesday, Feb. 10, 2016, at the Richard J. Donovan Correctional Facility in San Diego. For the 15th time, officials denied parole for Sirhan Sirhan, the assassin of Sen. Robert F. Kennedy, after hearing Wednesday from another person who was shot that night and called for the release of Sirhan. (AP Photo/Gregory Bull, Pool)

Former Pasadena resident Sirhan Sirhan, the man convicted of assassinating Sen. Robert F. Kennedy in 1968, is once again asking for his freedom.

The 77-year old man is asking a judge to reverse a decision by Gov. Gavin Newsom denying his parole earlier this year. 

Last year the 77-year old Sirhan was recommended for release by a California parole board. Sirhan is imprisoned at the Richard J. Donovan Correctional Facility in Otay Mesa in San Diego County.

But according to Newsom, Sirhan is still a threat to the public and cited the fact that he denies he killed Kennedy as a reason he denied parole.

Sirhan’s attorney Angela Berry said she is challenging the governor’s reversal as an “abuse of discretion,” a denial of Sirhan’s constitutional right to due process and as a violation of California law. It also alleges that Newsom misstated the facts in his decision.

According to prosecutors, Sirhan, a Pasadena City College student at the time of the assassination, fatally shot Kennedy on June 5, 1968, at the Ambassador Hotel in Los Angeles, according to prosecutors.

Olympic Decathlete Rafer Johnson and L.A. Rams defensive lineman Rosey Grier wrestled Sirhan to the ground immediately after the shooting.

Kennedy, who was running for president, had just won the California primary.

When Sirhan was 12 years old, his family moved to Pasadena. Sirhan also attended Eliot Junior High, John Muir High School.

Although he was convicted of the crime, a debate has raged for years about Sirhan’s involvement in the incident and the number of shooters.

Chief Medical Examiner and Coroner for the County of Los Angeles Thomas Noguchi stated that the fatal shot was fired behind Kennedy’s right ear and had come from a distance of approximately one inch.

Sirhan was in front of Kennedy at the time. Some witnesses contend Kennedy had turned his head just before the fatal shot was fired.

In September, Kennedy’s widow said that Sirhan should not be freed.

“Bobby believed we should work to ‘tame the savageness of man and make gentle the life of the world.’ He wanted to end the war in Vietnam and bring people together to build a better, stronger country. More than anything, he wanted to be a good father and loving husband,” Ethel Kennedy, 93, said in a statement Tuesday.

“Our family and our country suffered an unspeakable loss due to the inhumanity of one man. We believe in the gentleness that spared his life, but in taming his act of violence, he should not have the opportunity to terrorize again. He should not be paroled,” Kennedy concluded.

Bobby Kennedy Jr. later said he supported Sirhan’s release. 

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