The man convicted of assassinating Sen. Robert F. Kennedy in 1968 could be seeing freedom for the first time in more than decades after he was recommended for parole on Friday.
According to a report by CNN, the 77-year-old convicted killer’s fate and freedom is in the hands of California Gov. Gavin Newsom.
Sirhan was first incarcerated at the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation in May 1969 after he was convicted of first-degree murder and assault with intent to murder.
Robert F. Kennedy, Jr. and Douglas Kennedy, two of Kennedy’s surviving sons, supported Sirhan’s release during his 16th attempt before the parole board.
That position was opposed by several of the late senator’s other children who oppose the release of their father’s killer.
“I’m overwhelmed just by being able to view Mr. Sirhan face to face,” said Douglas Kennedy during the virtual hearing, who was a toddler when his father was gunned down in 1968.
“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.”
The longtime inmate reportedly attended his hearing wearing his blue uniform with a paper towel folded like a handkerchief and a smile for his advocates on the other side of the computer screen.
“I do have some love for you,” Douglas Kennedy told the inmate, who nodded and lowered his head.
Robert F. Kennedy Jr., also supported Sirhan’s request as he has in the past, this time in the form of a letter, recalling when he first met the inmate he “wept, clinching my hands and asked for forgiveness.”
Sirhan assured the parole board that he has “no intention whatsoever” of being a repeat offender and given that the state prosecutors didn’t oppose his release, as well as his advanced age, the board was favorable toward the request.
The inmate said that if he is paroled Sirhan wants to live with his only surviving brother in Los Angles, though if he is released he would likely first be placed in a transitional home for at least six months.
“I want to be there for him,” Sirhan said of his brother during the hearing. He also claimed to be a Christian that meditates “regularly” and took complete responsibility for his actions all those years ago.