1 of 7 | Ethel Kennedy, Sen. Edward Kennedy and one of her children kneel at the grave of Sen. Robert F. Kennedy at Arlington National Cemetery in Arlington, Va., on June 6, 1979, on the 11th anniversary of his assassination. File Photo by Larry Rubenstein/UPI | License Photo
Sept. 8 (UPI) -- Ethel Kennedy, the widow of slain Sen. Robert F. Kennedy, is publicly opposing the parole and release of her husband's assassin, Sirhan B. Sirhan.
The California parole board recommended on Aug. 27 that Sirhan be paroled. Some members of the Kennedy family, including Robert F. Kennedy Jr. and Douglas Kennedy, have supported Sirhan's release.
California Gov. Gavin Newsom will have the final say as to whether Sirhan is released.
Kennedy, 93, said in a handwritten note posted online by her daughter Kerry on Tuesday that Sirhan should not be freed.
The note said, "He should not be paroled."
Ethel Kennedy and her other six children oppose the assassin's parole.
Sirhan shot Kennedy, commonly known by his initials RFK, following a campaign speech in Los Angeles in 1968 while he was running for the Democratic presidential nomination. He had just won the California primary when he was shot in the kitchen area of the Ambassador Hotel.
"While nobody can speak definitively on behalf of my father, I firmly believe that based on his own consuming commitment to fairness and justice, that he would strongly encourage this board to release Mr. Sirhan because of Sirhan's impressive record of rehabilitation," Kennedy Jr. wrote in a letter before the hearing, according to the Los Angeles Times.
Sirhan was 24 when he shot Kennedy on June 5, 1968. He died the following day at Good Samaritan Hospital. Had he not been killed, his campaign's next stop was the Democratic National Convention in Chicago.
Sirhan has repeatedly expressed remorse for killing Kennedy, but maintains that he has no memory of the shooting. He was initially sentenced to die in California's gas chamber, but the sentence was commuted to life with parole when the state abolished the death penalty.