RFK's Assassin Seeks Parole, Still Says He Remembers Nothing

Will Sirhan Sirhan be the first convicted assassin in the U.S. to be released on parole?

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Sirhan Bishara Sirhan, the man convicted for assassinating Robert Kennedy in 1968, is being considered for parole this week. With the help of a new lawyer, Sirhan must convince a parole board that he is not a threat to himself or others, that he acknowledges he is guilty of the crime, and that he feels sincere remorse. Instead, Sirhan continues to maintain that he has no memory of the shooting.

The Associated Press reports that Sirhan's new lawyer, William Pepper, believes that his client sincerely doesn't remember the event, going so far as to suggest that "Sirhan was 'hypno-programmed,' turning him into a virtual 'Manchurian Candidate,' acting robot-like at the behest of evil forces who then wiped his memory clean." But the AP notes the parole board is more likely to stick to the facts of what went down at the Ambassador Hotel the night Kennedy was shot, rather than "consider the many conspiracy theories floated over the years."

Claiming to have no memory of an assassination--particularly one he once admitted to committing "with 20 years of malice aforethought"--seems like a particularly crazy way to prove one's innocence. Sirhan's hardly the nuttiest of these cases, though. John Hinckley Jr. famously insisted he only attempted to assassinated Ronald Reagan in order to impress Jodie Foster. John Flammang Schrank also had a pretty good story for his failed attack on Teddy Roosevelt. He claimed former President McKinley came to him in a dream and told him that he was actually murdered by Roosevelt, who was hoping to succeed him. Neither of these men were granted parole but, rather, life sentences in psychiatric institutions.

This article is from the archive of our partner The Wire.