Douglas Kennedy was a toddler when his father was gunned down in 1968. He told a two-person board panel that he was moved to tears by Sirhan’s remorse and that the 77-year-old should be released if he’s not a threat to others.
“I’m overwhelmed just by being able to view Mr. Sirhan face to face,” he said. “I’ve lived my life both in fear of him and his name in one way or another. And I am grateful today to see him as a human being worthy of compassion and love.”
Six of Kennedy’s nine surviving children said they were shocked by the vote and urged Gov. Gavin Newsom to reverse the parole board’s decision and keep Sirhan behind bars.
“He took our father from our family and he took him from America,” the six siblings wrote in a statement late Friday. “We are in disbelief that this man would be recommended for release.
The statement was signed by Joseph P. Kennedy II, Courtney Kennedy, Kerry Kennedy, Christopher G. Kennedy, Maxwell T. Kennedy and Rory Kennedy.
But another sibling, Robert F. Kennedy Jr., has spoken in favour of his release in the past and wrote in favour of paroling Sirhan. He said in the letter that he met him in prison and was moved by Sirhan, “who wept, clinching my hands, and asked for forgiveness.”
This is Sirhan Sirhan’s 16th attempt at parole after he’s served 53 years.
Robert F. Kennedy was a U.S. senator from New York and the brother of President John F. Kennedy, who was assassinated in 1963. RFK was seeking the Democratic Presidential nomination when he was gunned down at the Ambassador Hotel in Los Angeles moments after delivering a victory speech in the pivotal California primary. Five others were wounded. – THE STATESMAN