- Prosecutors declined to argue that he should be kept behind bars.
- Sirhan — a 77-year-old prisoner — has appealed for parole on 16 occasions.
Sirhan shot Kennedy to death at the Ambassador Hotel in Los Angeles after a campaign event for Kennedy, who was seeing some victories during his road for the Democratic nomination for president in 1968, according to CNN.
- Sirhan was originally sentenced to die. However, his sentence with commuted to life in prison in 1972, per CNN. This happened after California ruled the death penalty unconstitutional.
The decision Friday does not guarantee his release, though. His case will be reviewed by the California Parole Board’s staff over the next 90 days, per The Associated Press. After that, the case will be sent to California Gov. Gavin Newsom, who will have to make a decision in 30 days about whether or not to grant the parole, reverse it or modify it in any way.
- “I take responsibility for taking it in and I take responsibility for firing the shots,” Sirhan said, according to The New York Times.
Douglas Kennedy, who was a young boy when his dad was killed, supported the parole after hearing Sirhan’s case, according to The Associated Press.
“I’m overwhelmed just by being able to view Mr. Sirhan face to face,” he said. “I think 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.”
Los Angeles County District Attorney George Gascón said he would not speak out against the decision, saying his role ended with the sentencing, according to CNN.
- “If someone is the same person that committed an atrocious crime, that person will correctly not be found suitable for release. However, if someone is no longer a threat to public safety after having served more than 50 years in prison, then the parole board may recommend release based on an objective determination,” said Gascón adviser Alex Bastian in a statement.
- “Our office policies take these principles into account and as such, our prosecutors stay out of the parole board hearing process,” Bastian said.