But there is one Californian who won’t be leaving the state: Sirhan Sirhan.
Newsom on Thursday denied parole for Sirhan, who has spent 53 years in prison for the assassination of Democratic Sen. Robert F. Kennedy, the brother of President John F. Kennedy.
Newsom explained his decision in an opinion article in the Los Angeles Times on Thursday.
He said he reviewed the assassin’s file and overruled a recommendation to release Sirhan after determining the 77-year-old inmate “refuses to accept responsibility for the crimes,” which besides killing Kennedy, then a Democratic presidential candidate, included wounding five bystanders.
“I have determined that Sirhan has not developed the accountability and insight required to support his safe release into the community,” Newsom wrote.
“Kennedy’s assassination not only changed the course of this nation and robbed the world of a promising young leader, but it also left his 11 children without a father and his wife without a husband,” added Newsom.
“Kennedy’s family bears his loss every day. Millions of Americans lost a unifier in a time of national turmoil and grief, just nine weeks after the assassination of the Rev. Martin Luther King, Jr., and four-and-a-half years after the murder of Kennedy’s brother, President John F. Kennedy.”
Continuing, Newsom noted that “after decades in prison, Sirhan still lacks the insight that would prevent him from making the kind of dangerous and destructive decisions he made in the past. The most glaring proof of Sirhan’s deficient insight is his shifting narrative about his assassination of Kennedy, and his current refusal to accept responsibility for it.”
Newsom noted that over the last five decades, Sirhan has gone from boasting in a TV interview that he killed Kennedy and acted alone to claiming he “was in the wrong spot at the wrong time.”
“It is abundantly clear that, because of Sirhan’s lack of insight, his release on parole would pose a threat to public safety,” the governor added.
He also wrote that Sirhan, despite being 77, “remains a potent symbol of political violence.”
“He does not understand, let alone have the skills to manage, the complex risks of his self-created notoriety,” Newsom continued. “He cannot be safely released from prison because he has not mitigated his risk of fomenting further political violence.”
Newsom wrote that a kind of cult has grown up around Sirhan and that its believers, and the assassin himself, float “falsehoods” about his innocence that survive being disproved.
“Perhaps it is easier for some to accept debunked false claims than confront the difficult truth: Sirhan, one man with a gun, acting alone, inflicted grievous harm to our country,” Newsom noted. “I will not flinch from this truth.”
Sirhan was originally sentenced to die after his conviction. But his sentence was commuted to life in prison after California outlawed the death penalty in 1972.
Android Users, Click Here To Download The Free Press App And Never Miss A Story. It’s Free And Coming To Apple Users Soon