Joseph Kennedy III

Joe Kennedy III speaks out against parole of RFK’s killer

"For our family, there has been no apology, no acceptance of personal responsibility, and no remorse."

In this Sept. 1, 2020 file photo, U.S. Rep. Joe Kennedy III speaks outside his campaign headquarters in Watertown, Mass. (AP Photo/Charles Krupa, File)

Former Massachusetts Congressman Joe Kennedy III is speaking out against the possible parole of the man convicted of killing his grandfather, Robert F. Kennedy, in 1968.

Kennedy tweeted a statement on Wednesday sharing his disappointment with the recommendation of two commissioners on the California Parole Board.

“I believe deeply in the possibility of parole in the American Justice system,” he wrote. “I also believe deeply that the man who murdered my grandfather does not deserve it.”

RFK was a Democratic presidential candidate when he was shot June 6, 1968, at the Ambassador Hotel in Los Angeles moments after delivering a victory speech in the California primary.


On Aug. 27, two commissioners on the 18-member California Parole Board recommended the release of Sirhan Sirhan, 77. The full parole board and governor still has to review the recommendation. The board found he no longer posed a threat to society, and cited his involvement in over 20 programs, including anger management classes, Tai Chi, and Alcoholics Anonymous, the Associated Press reported.

“Two commissioners of the 18-member California Parole Board made a grievous error last Friday in recommending the release of the man who murdered my father,” former congressman Joseph P. Kennedy II wrote in the emailed statement released Sunday. “I understand that there are differing views about ending the sentence of this killer, including within my own family. But emotions and opinions do not change facts or history.”

There is division even among the Kennedy family. According to the AP, Douglas Kennedy, who was a toddler when RFK was killed, said he was moved to tears by Sirhan’s remorse and he 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 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.”


Kennedy III doesn’t believe Sirhan has earned freedom.

“I echo the anger and heartache of my father, the majority of his siblings, and my grandmother at the California Parole Board’s recent recommendation,” Kennedy III wrote. “For our family, there has been no apology, no acceptance of personal responsibility, and no remorse. For our country, there has been no justification for letting the perpetrator of one of our most devastating political assassinations walk free.”

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