08 February 16
Source: Reader Supported News
obby Kennedy was shot to death 48 years ago. Sirhan Sirhan, the man convicted for his murder, doesn’t remember anything about that night. But he does know things about the past. His parole hearing is February 10. What can he say?
If he had shown remorse, he might have been freed a long time ago. Arthur Bremer, the man who shot George Wallace, was freed several years ago. How can you show remorse if something is wrong with your mind?
After Bobby was shot, the Los Angeles coroner, Thomas Noguchi, conducted what has been called “the perfect autopsy.” Noguchi was praised by everyone. After a string of controversial assassinations, he couldn’t be too careful.
After ballistics tests, Noguchi concluded that the fatal shot was one inch away from the back of Bobby’s head. There was a problem. Everyone agreed that Sirhan shot him from the front, and never got anywhere that close. That meant there was a second gun.
There was another problem – too many bullets for one gun. Sirhan’s gun held eight rounds. Seven were removed from the victims alone. LAPD determined that an eighth bullet was embedded in the ceiling.
No one accounted for the bullet holes in the doorframe where RFK’s party had entered the pantry. Photographs taken by the FBI, LAPD, and AP show apparent bullet holes, which were circled and initialed. The story was that these were “ricochets.”
Two police officers depicted in the photos reported an actual bullet embedded in the wood of the center door frame. Hotel waiter Martin Patrusky said that police officers told him that they had dug two bullets out of the center divider. FBI agent William Bailey, in the pantry within hours of the shooting, said he could see the base of the bullet in the center divider.
(LAPD crime photo)
Why would law enforcement cover up this evidence? It goes back to a longstanding relationship between the LAPD and the CIA. The CIA had a big conflict of interest in the RFK case, as we will see. The investigating team, Special Unit Senator, was run by a former CIA officer and embedded with this conflict of interest.
Sirhan’s court-appointed lawyer was Grant Cooper. He had the biggest case of his life. But there was the biggest problem of all. Cooper was fatally compromised.
Cooper was on one of the defense teams in the Friar’s Club scandal case. One of the defendants was Johnny Roselli, a mobster deeply linked over the years to the death of JFK. The CIA had relied on Roselli to assassinate Fidel Castro during the early sixties, but he wasn’t able to get it done.
When Jack Kennedy was killed, the CIA went to great lengths to hide from the Warren Commission the plans to kill Castro. That was a door that the Agency wanted to keep shut. They knew it might lead to close scrutiny. Johnny Roselli was already trying to beat the rap with a little blackmail. He was letting high government officials know that “Kennedy tried to get to Castro, but Castro got to him first.” The Castro story didn’t go public until 1975.
Bobby wanted to solve Jack’s murder, but knew he’d need the powers of the Presidency in order to do it.
One day grand jury papers were found on Cooper’s desk at counsel table, possibly planted there, perhaps by Roselli himself. Release of grand jury documents without the permission of the court is a felony.
Cooper was looking at a possible indictment. He could have lost his license to practice law. The matter was left pending for the duration of the Sirhan trial.
Cooper was not about to be a hero. He convinced Sirhan to not challenge the events in the pantry. The door frames were not admitted into evidence. Cooper based Sirhan’s defense on “diminished capacity,” arguing simply that Sirhan’s mind was weak.
No one wanted to cut the man caught alive any slack. Sirhan got the death penalty, later reduced to life with the possibility of parole. The door frames were destroyed. Cooper got a $1000 fine.
But a lot can still be learned about what happened in the pantry. Modern day acoustics tests indicate thirteen shots. Who was Sirhan with in the weeks before the shooting? It is not too late to determine his accomplices, or how Sirhan lost parts of his memory.
In the last few years, Dr. Daniel Brown of Harvard Medical School spent over sixty hours with Sirhan trying to recover his memory of the shooting. Dr. Brown concluded Sirhan’s amnesia for events before and during the shooting was real. Brown’s findings were ignored by the parole board. Sirhan has a strong case for parole. No prison violations since 1972. An excellent work record.
Although the politicians finally seem to agree that it is time to drastically reduce the prison population, those eligible for parole have an incredibly difficult time getting out. Isn’t it time to release him, so we can put together the story for ourselves before it’s too late?
Sirhan’s next parole hearing is Wednesday, February 10. For more on the campaign for his release, visit www.sirhanbsirhan.com.