Joseph P. Kennedy On Potential Sirhan Parole: Board Made "Grievous Error"


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BOSTON (WBZ NewsRadio) – Former Congressman Joseph P. Kennedy II is condemning the possible parole for Sirhan Sirhan, the man convicted of assassinating former Senator Robert F. Kennedy.

In a statement released to WBZ NewsRadio on Sunday, Kennedy said the two commissioners of the 18-member California Parole Board in favor of Sirhan’s release were making “a grievous error.”

While Kennedy understands the conflicting views of ending the sentence of a convicted killer, he said emotions and opinions do not change history.

“The prisoner killed my father because of his support of Israel,” Kennedy continued. “The man was tired, convicted and sentenced to death. Yet he now may walk free, no doubt to the cheers of those who share his views.”

Robert F. Kennedy was shot and killed after midnight on June 5, 1968, in the Ambassador Hotel in Los Angeles while seeking the Democratic presidential nomination. He died the next day.

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Kennedy hopes the full parole board will reverse their decision. He also hopes that California’s governor, Gavin Newsom, will choose to have Sirhan serve out his full life sentence in prison instead of granting him parole.

“The murderer of anyone who runs for or holds public office because of his political stance must know that he will at a minimum spend life in prison without parole,” Kennedy reiterated.

Kennedy is the eldest son of Robert and Ethel Kennedy. He reminded people about the personal impact his father’s murder had on his family.

“The prisoner left a pregnant mother of ten without a husband and soon-to-be 11 children without a father," he said.

Kennedy added that his mother and uncle, senator Edward M. Kennedy, had asked for Sirhan’s death sentence to be reduced to life imprisonment as a demonstration of mercy. California actually abolished the death penalty in 1972, four years after Robert F. Kennedy's death.

Of the 11 children the Kennedys had, nine are still living. Six of the siblings have vowed to challenge Sirhan’s parole recommendation.

Sirhan, who is serving out his life sentence at a California state prison, has been denied parole 15 times already.

WBZ's Laurie Kirby (@LaurieWBZ) has more:

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