Kerry Kennedy says she's 'deeply grateful' to Newsom for denying Sirhan Sirhan parole 


Robert F. Kennedy’s daughter Kerry said on Friday that she is ‘deeply grateful to’ California Governor Gavin Newsom for rejecting her father’s killer’s request to be paroled. 

Sirhan Sirhan murdered RFK in 1968 moments after he won the Californian Democratic Primary. He admitted killing him in subsequent interviews, but in the 1990s he started to change his story to say that he couldn’t remember what he’d done. 

The California Parole Board this week recommended that he should be considered for parole, and one of RFK’s sons, Robert Kennedy Jr., supported the recommendation. 

Governor Newsom overruled, saying he shouldn’t be allowed out and that he has never shown remorse. 

In an interview with Good Morning America on Friday, Kerry Kennedy, another of RFK’s 11 children, said she and most of her siblings were grateful for the decision. 

‘I am deeply grateful to the governor for that decision.  

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Kerry Kennedy, the daughter of the late Robert F. Kennedy, said on Friday she was grateful that Governor Gavin Newsom rejected Sirhan Sirhan's attempt at parole

Kerry Kennedy, the daughter of the late Robert F. Kennedy, said on Friday she was grateful that Governor Gavin Newsom rejected Sirhan Sirhan’s attempt at parole 

Sirhan Sirhan, now 77

New York Sen. Robert F. Kennedy's death sent a shockwave  throughout the nation

Sirhan was arrested and found guilty of assassinating New York Sen. Robert F. Kennedy in 1968. The assassin maintains that he does not remember the event of the deadly night

Sen. Robert Kennedy and Ambassador Hotel employee Juan Romero pictured moments after RFK was shot by Sirhan Sirhan on June 5, 1968

Sirhan stepped towards RFK with a rolled up campaign poster, hiding his .22 revolver shooting him in the head from only a foot away

Sirhan stepped towards RFK with a rolled up campaign poster, hiding his .22 revolver shooting him in the head from only a foot away

‘This is a man who has shown no remorse, who has shown no ability to take responsibility for his crime and he is a current danger to the people of California and to our country.

Newsom wrote an op-ed for The Los Angeles Times yesterday to explain his decision. 

‘Kennedy’s assassination not only changed the course of this nation and robbed the world of a promising young leader, it also left his 11 children without a father and his wife without a husband. 

‘Kennedy’s family bears his loss every day. Millions of Americans lost a unifier in a time of national turmoil and grief, just nine weeks after the assassination of the Rev. Martin Luther King, Jr., and four-and-a-half years after the murder of Kennedy’s brother, President John F. Kennedy,’ he said. 

Parole commissioners found Sirhan suitable for release ‘because of his impressive extensive record of rehabilitation over the last half-century,’ she said. ‘Since the mid-1980´s Mr. Sirhan has consistently been found by prison psychologists and psychiatrists to not pose an unreasonable risk of danger to the public.’

In this image provided by the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation, Sirhan Sirhan arrives for a parole hearing Friday, Aug. 27, 2021

In this image provided by the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation, Sirhan Sirhan arrives for a parole hearing Friday, Aug. 27, 2021

He should NOT be paroled': RFK's widow Ethel Kennedy, 93, joins 6 of her nine surviving kids opposing Sirhan Sirhan's parole in opposition to sons

He should NOT be paroled’: RFK’s widow Ethel Kennedy, 93, joins 6 of her nine surviving kids opposing Sirhan Sirhan’s parole in opposition to sons

Ethel Kennedy, widow of Robert Kennedy who was assassinated during his 1968 presidential campaign, wrote a letter to the parole board pleading with them to not release Sirhan Sirhan

Ethel Kennedy, widow of Robert Kennedy who was assassinated during his 1968 presidential campaign, wrote a letter to the parole board pleading with them to not release Sirhan Sirhan

During his parole hearing, the white-haired Sirhan called Kennedy ‘the hope of the world.’ But he stopped short of taking full responsibility for a shooting he said he doesn´t recall because he was drunk.

Sirhan was arrested for killing RFK in 1968

Sirhan was arrested and found guilty of assassinating New York Sen. Robert F. Kennedy in 1968. The assassin maintains that he does not remember the event of the deadly night

‘It pains me … the knowledge for such a horrible deed, if I did in fact do that,’ Sirhan said.

The parole panel´s recommendation in August to release Sirhan divided the iconic Kennedy family. 

Most notably, six of RFK’s nine surviving children signed a letter publicly pleading with the Parole Board and Newsom not to grant Sirhan’s parole.

‘As children of Robert F. Kennedy, we are devastated that the man who murdered our father has been recommended for parole’ the letter began.

‘We adamantly oppose the parole and release of Sirhan Sirhan and are shocked by a ruling that we believe ignores the standards for parole of a confessed, first-degree murderer in the state of California.’ The siblings directly called on Newsom to reject the parole and insisted that they ‘intend to challenge’ Sirhan’s release ‘every step of the way.’

It was signed by Joseph P. Kennedy II, Courtney Kennedy Hill, Kerry Kennedy, Christopher G. Kennedy, Maxwell T. Kennedy and Rory Kennedy who write that the decision has ‘inflicted enormous additional pain.’

California Gov. Gavin Newsom, who had cited RFK has a personal hero, denied Sirhan's chances at parole, calling the convicted killer a threat to public safety

California Gov. Gavin Newsom, who had cited RFK has a personal hero, denied Sirhan’s chances at parole, calling the convicted killer a threat to public safety

The panel´s decision was based in part on several new California laws since he was denied parole in 2016 – the 15th time he´d lost his bid for release.

Commissioners were required to consider that Sirhan committed his crime at a young age, when he was 24; that he now is elderly; and that the Christian Palestinian who immigrated from Jordan had suffered childhood trauma from the conflict in the Middle East.

In addition, Los Angeles County prosecutors didn´t object to his parole, following District Attorney George Gascón´s policy that prosecutors should not be involved in deciding whether prisoners are ready for release.

The decision had a personal element for Newsom, a fellow Democrat, who displays RFK photos in his official and home offices. One of them is of Kennedy with Newsom´s late father.

Newsom has previously reflected on the gravity of having Sirhan´s fate in his hands, saying it was an emotional issue that echoed back to the turbulent ´60s and reopened memories many want to forget.

Sirhan originally was sentenced to death, but that sentence was commuted to life when the California Supreme Court briefly outlawed capital punishment in 1972.

He now has a heart condition and has survived prostate cancer, Valley fever and having his throat slashed by another prisoner in 2019, said his attorney, Angela Berry.

Munir Sirhan has said his older brother can live with him, if he is freed and not deported to Jordan. Sirhan Sirhan waived his right to fight deportation.



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