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Newsom Overrules Former Pasadena Resident Sirhan Sirhan’s Parole in Kennedy Assassination

Published on Thursday, January 13, 2022 | 2:42 pm
At left, Sirhan Sirhan on June 5, 1968. (Los Angeles Police Department photograph) At right, Sirhan Sirhan during a parole hearing Wednesday, Feb. 10, 2016, at the Richard J. Donovan Correctional Facility in San Diego. (AP Photo/Gregory Bull, Pool)

Gov. Gavin Newsom announced on Thursday that he has rejected the parole of former Pasadena resident Sirhan Bishara Sirhan, the man convicted of assassinating Sen. Robert F. Kennedy in 1968,

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.

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 attended Eliot Junior High, John Muir High School and Pasadena City College.

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.

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