For the first time, prosecutors will not oppose the release of Sirhan Sirhan, the man convicted of murdering Robert F. Kennedy in 1968.
Sirhan, 77, will go before a two-person parole panel on Friday, with a new lawyer who plans to argue that he doesn't pose a threat to society and has had a clean record in prison. Kennedy was shot on June 5, 1968, at the Ambassador Hotel in Los Angeles, shortly after winning California's Democratic presidential primary. Sirhan was arrested at the scene and convicted in 1969 of first-degree murder. He was sentenced to death, which was reduced to life with possibility of parole in 1972 when the state abolished the death penalty.
Sirhan has been in prison for 53 years, and this will be his 16th parole hearing. Last year, Los Angeles County elected a new district attorney, George Gascón, who said he would support the release of certain inmates who have served their mandatory minimums and are older and at low risk of re-offending. Gascón's office told The Washington Post while prosecutors will not attend the Friday parole hearing, they also do not plan on sending the board a letter supporting Sirhan's bid for release.
The Kennedy family also hasn't formally submitted any letters for or against parole, the Post reports. Robert F. Kennedy Jr. told the Post in 2018 he does not think Sirhan killed his father, and this week said while he supports Sirhan's application for parole and believes there was a second gunman involved in the assassination, he will not participate in the parole process.