Sirhan Sirhan, who assassinated Sen. Robert F. Kennedy in 1968 at Los Angeles’ Ambassador Hotel, was denied Wednesday in his latest bid for parole.
Sirhan, 78, will be eligible for another parole consideration hearing in three years, according to the state Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation. Wednesday’s hearing was held at the R.J. Donovan Correctional Facility in San Diego, where he is incarcerated.
In 2021, a two-person state parole panel recommended that Sirhan be granted parole, but Gov. Gavin Newsom later reversed that decision, saying Sirhan “poses a current threat to public safety.”
“After decades in prison, Mr. Sirhan has failed to address the deficiencies that led him to assassinate Senator Kennedy,” Newsom said in a statement rejecting the parole grant. “Mr. Sirhan lacks the insight that would prevent him from making the same types of dangerous decisions he made in the past.”
The governor wrote that “the most glaring evidence of Mr. Sirhan’s deficient insight is his shifting narrative about his assassination of Senator Kennedy, and his current refusal to accept responsibility for his crimes.”
Sirhan was convicted in April 1969 of first-degree murder and assault for the June 5, 1968, assassination of Democratic Sen. Robert Kennedy, 42, at the Ambassador Hotel in Los Angeles. Kennedy was speaking at the hotel while moving closer to the Democratic presidential nomination. Five others were shot during the attack but survived.
A Palestinian from Jordan, Sirhan was initially sentenced to death, but it was later commuted to life in prison after the state Supreme Court declared capital punishment unconstitutional in 1972. He has now served more than 50 years in prison.
Sirhan has previously claimed amnesia brought on by excess consumption of alcohol and denied committing the killing, despite having admitted to the crime in open court during his trial.