Thursday 19 September 2019

RFK assassin 'stable' after prison stabbing

Sirhan Sirhan, left, killed Bobby Kennedy, right
Sirhan Sirhan, left, killed Bobby Kennedy, right

Dom Thompson

Sirhan Sirhan, imprisoned for more than 50 years for the 1968 assassination of Robert F Kennedy, was hospitalised this weekend after being stabbed by a fellow inmate at a San Diego prison.

The stabbing occurred Friday afternoon at the Richard J Donovan Correctional Facility near San Diego.

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"Officers responded quickly, and found an inmate with stab wound injuries. He was transported to an outside hospital for medical care, and is currently in stable condition," read a jail statement.

Prison officials reported that the attacker has been identified and has been segregated from the rest of the prison population.

Sirhan, 75, was convicted of shooting Kennedy shortly after midnight on June 5, 1968, immediately after the New York senator had declared victory in the previous day's California Democratic presidential primary.

Kennedy had just finished delivering his victory speech to cheering supporters at Los Angeles' Ambassador Hotel when he decided to walk through the hotel kitchen. He had stopped to shake hands with a waiter who had delivered food to his room the day before, when Sirhan shot him in the head. Bobby Kennedy died the next day.

Sirhan was originally sentenced to death. But when California briefly outlawed capital punishment, his sentence was reduced to life in prison. He has been denied parole several times.

Five bystanders were wounded in the shooting. Over the years, Sirhan has claimed to have no recollection of the shooting or his initial confession.

Sirhan had once been kept in a protective housing unit in north California. After he told authorities several years ago that he would prefer being housed with the general prison population, he was moved to the Richard J Donovan Correctional Facility.

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