On Wednesday morning in San Diego, Sirhan Sirhan, the convicted assassin of Bobby Kennedy, will once again be considered for parole. Sirhan was originally scheduled for release in 1984 but after intense political pressure, his parole date was rescinded and he has since been denied 13 times.
At the hearing, Sirhan will come face-to-face with Paul Schrade for the first time — a close friend of the Kennedy family who, on June 5, 1968, was walking behind the senator when the shooting started.
For over 40 years, Schrade, now 91, has been campaigning to reopen the case, based on eyewitness evidence that Sirhan could not have fired the fatal shot described in Kennedy’s autopsy and an analysis of the only known audio recording of the shooting which indicates that 13 shots — and two guns — were fired.
Schrade plans to tell the parole board that new evidence shows Sirhan shot him and several others — but did not shoot Kennedy. In a short statement released in advance of the hearing, he says:
"The LAPD and LA DA knew two hours after the fatal shooting of Robert Kennedy that he was shot by a second gunman and they had conclusive evidence that Sirhan Bishara Sirhan could not and did not do it. The official record shows that [the prosecution at Sirhan’s trial] never had one witness – and had no physical nor ballistic evidence – to prove Sirhan shot Robert Kennedy. Evidence locked up for 20 years shows that the LAPD destroyed physical evidence and hid ballistic evidence exonerating Sirhan, and covered up conclusive evidence that a second gunman fatally wounded Robert Kennedy."
Schrade argues that a closer look at the bullet that hit him proves a second gun was fired and Sirhan could not have killed Robert Kennedy.
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Note two things:
(1) In both Kennedy assassinations, there is controversy over the number of shooters and the direction from which the shots came. Thorough forensic investigations would have resolved this once and for all time.
(2) Sirhan was a Palestinian, and Jack (Rubenstein) Ruby and Abraham Zapruder were Jews. Was there Israeli involvement in either killing? Some claim there was.