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California governor refuses release of Robert Kennedy killer

The governor of California rejected, Thursday, January 13, the parole of Sirhan Sirhan, the assassin of Robert Kennedy in 1968, to which a specialized commission had nevertheless given its approval last summer.

Gov. Gavin Newsom said, among other things, that the 77-year-old inmate was still « A threat to public safety » and that he refused « To accept responsibility for this crime »notes a press release from its services.

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Sirhan Sirhan, 77 years old today, was convicted on April 17, 1969 of the murder of the senator from New York, younger brother of John Fitzgerald Kennedy. He had been sentenced to death but his sentence was commuted to life imprisonment in 1972, following a brief abolition of the death penalty in California.

Last August, the California parole board finally gave its approval for Sirhan Sirhan’s release from prison, after having refused it fifteen times. This decision then had to be submitted to the governor, who had the power to refuse or modify it.

« Mr. Sirhan does not have the necessary lucidity »

« The assassination of Senator Kennedy by Mr. Sirhan is one of the most famous crimes in American history »Governor Newsom wrote in the statement. “After decades in prison, he still has not corrected the flaws that led him to assassinate Senator Kennedy. Mr. Sirhan does not have the lucidity to prevent him from making the same dangerous decisions as in the past ”he continues.

A Palestinian immigrant, Sirhan Sirhan had murdered « Bobby » Kennedy at the Ambassador Hotel in Los Angeles, while the senator was campaigning for the Democratic nomination for the presidential election. Five other people were injured. The murderer had at the time justified his gesture by the support given by Robert Kennedy to the sale of military planes to Israel.

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During his previous parole application in 2016, Mr Sirhan claimed that he had drunk too much on the night of the crime and that he would have liked « That nothing happened ». He also assured that the confession during his trial was made by a lawyer who advised him badly and convinced him that he was guilty.

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