California Gov. Newsom denies parole to RFK assassin Sirhan Sirhan

"Mr. Sirhan currently poses an unreasonable danger to society if released from prison," Newsom wrote.

Updated: January 13, 2022 - 6:04pm

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Governor Gavin Newsom (D-Calif.) on Thursday denied parole for Sirhan Sirhan, who has been imprisoned for more than half a century after he assassinated Robert F. Kennedy in 1968.

Newsom, who has previously called RFK his "political hero," reversed the decision by the California Board of Parole Hearings to release Sirhan. The governor did, however, grant "24 pardons, 18 commutations and 5 reprieves" on Thursday.

"After decades in prison, Mr. Sirhan has failed to address the deficiencies that led him to assassinate Senator Kennedy. Mr. Sirhan lacks the insight that would prevent him from making the same types of dangerous decisions he made in the past," Newsom wrote.

"Mr. Sirhan currently poses an unreasonable danger to society if released from prison," Newsom added.

Thursday marked the 15th request Sirhan lost for release, according to The Associated Press.

While he did not admit to the assassination during the parole hearing, he called RFK "the hope of the world" and said: "It pains me ... the knowledge for such a horrible deed, if I did in fact do that."

Sirhan was 24 when he assassinated Kennedy, a Democrat presidential primary candidate and brother to President John F. Kennedy. The killing took place on the one-year anniversary of Israel's Six-Day War, and Sirhan, a Palestinian Christian immigrant from Jordan, shortly after the attack reportedly said: "I did it for my country."