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Kennedy assassin denied parole - again

San Diego: Sirhan Sirhan, the assassin of Democratic presidential candidate Robert Kennedy, has been denied parole for the 15th time despite claims another shooter did it.

Palestinian-born Sirhan, 71, is serving a life sentence for gunning down Kennedy, 42, at the Ambassador Hotel in Los Angeles on June 5, 1968. The shooting occurred minutes after the US senator from New York and former US attorney-general gave his victory speech after winning the California Democratic primary. Kennedy died the next day.

Sirhan Sirhan reacts during a parole hearing on Wednesday.
Sirhan Sirhan reacts during a parole hearing on Wednesday. Photo: AP

Sirhan was sentenced to death in 1969. His sentence was commuted to life in prison after California banned the death penalty.

Paul Schrade, a 91-year-old Kennedy confidant and among the five people wounded in the shooting, told the board that Sirhan should be granted parole since evidence showed that a second gunman killed Kennedy.

Paul Schrade, who was shot in the head by Sirhan Sirhan, points towards Sirhan at Sirhan's parole hearing on Wednesday.
Paul Schrade, who was shot in the head by Sirhan Sirhan, points towards Sirhan at Sirhan's parole hearing on Wednesday. Photo: AP

"The evidence clearly shows you were not the gunman who shot Robert Kennedy," Mr Schrade said in remarks prepared for the hearing.

He said Sirhan fired in front of Kennedy but the candidate was struck in the back by three bullets, including a fatal shot to the back of the head.

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He added an analysis of an audio recording showed that 13 shots were fired, but Sirhan's gun held only eight rounds and he had no chance to reload.

Mr Schrade alleged misconduct in the investigation by the Los Angeles Police Department and called for a new probe of Kennedy's killing.

Sirhan Sirhan, right, accused assassin of US Senator Robert F. Kennedy with his attorney Russell Parsons in Los Angeles ...
Sirhan Sirhan, right, accused assassin of US Senator Robert F. Kennedy with his attorney Russell Parsons in Los Angeles in 1968.  Photo: Anonymous/AP

A federal judge last year rejected similar arguments by Sirhan's lawyers, who had sought to have him released, saying he was innocent.

Sirhan has said that he had no recollection of the killing, although he has also said he had fired at Kennedy because he was enraged by his support for Israel.

Senator Robert F. Kennedy awaits medical assistance after being shot at the Ambassador hotel in Los Angeles in 1968.
Senator Robert F. Kennedy awaits medical assistance after being shot at the Ambassador hotel in Los Angeles in 1968. Photo: LATimes/AP/File

Sirhan was last denied parole in 2011. He is imprisoned in San Diego and will be up again for parole in five years, said Luis Patino, a spokesman for the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation.

Reuters