The man convicted of assassinating Senator Robert F. Kennedy in 1968 will meet with a parole board for the 16th time on Friday (August 27) as he seeks to be released from prison. Sirhan Sirhan was sentenced to death for the assassination, but his sentence was commuted to life in prison after California abolished the death penalty. While his parole is unlikely, this time around, prosecutors will not oppose his release.
"The role of a prosecutor and their access to information ends at sentencing," Alex Bastian, special adviser to Los Angeles County District Attorney George Gascón, told the Washington Post. "The parole board's sole purpose is to objectively determine whether someone is suitable for release. 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," he continued.
Bastian added that Gascón's office will remain neutral in the case and will not send lawyers to hearing or send a letter voicing an opinion on Sirhan's release.
The last time Sirhan sought parole was in 2016. At that hearing, he denied he shot Kennedy.
"If you want a confession, I can't make it now," Sirhan said during the hearing. "Legally speaking, I'm not guilty of anything."
He was also denied parole in 2011 after the board determined he had not shown remorse for his actions and did not understand the gravity of his crime.