California Gov. Gavin Newsom (D) has rejected a request for parole for Sirhan Sirhan, the man who killed Sen. Robert F. Kennedy at the start of his presidential campaign in 1968.

Newsom has cited RFK as a major political hero of his and denied the parole recommendation which was made by a two-person panel, beginning his decision by stating, “Mr. Sirhan’s assassination of Sen. Kennedy is among the most notorious crimes in American history.”

Despite Sirhan being an old man at 77 and having spent over 50 years in prison, Newsom maintained that he still posed a threat to the country. “After decades in prison, he has failed to address the deficiencies that led him to assassinate Sen. Kennedy. Mr. Sirhan lacks the insight that would prevent him from making the same types of dangerous decisions he made in the past.”

Kennedy’s widow, Ethel Kennedy, and several of his children released a statement supporting the decision and saying they were “deeply relieved” to see the parole request denied.

Sirhan’s lawyer, Angela Berry, has released a statement saying she plans to ask a judge to overturn the decision, saying “not an iota of evidence exists to suggest Mr. Sirhan is still a danger to society.”

During the hearing, Sirhan expressed admiration for the late Sen. Kennedy but claimed not to fully remember the shooting because he was drunk. “It pains me… the knowledge for such a horrible deed, if I did in fact do that,” Sirhan said.

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