Kennedy assassin Sirhan Sirhan stabbed in California prison

Tuesday, September 3, 2019

It was reported on Saturday Sirhan Sirhan was stabbed in the neck while in prison. Sirhan, 75, is serving a life sentence for the 1968 assassination of United States senator and presidential candidate Robert F. Kennedy.

Sirhan was serving his time at Richard J. Donovan Correctional Facility in San Diego County, California. He was reported to be in stable condition.

The California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation (CDCR) did not identify Sirhan as the victim. Rather, government sources confirmed his identity to various news outlets anonymously.

The Department issued a statement that an inmate had been stabbed: "There was an assault on an inmate on Friday, August 30 at Richard J. Donovan Correctional Facility at 2:21 p.m. [...] 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." They also said they believed they had identified the attacker, who was being held in isolation pending investigation.

Sirhan, an ethnic Palestinian from Jordan, opposed Senator Kennedy's pro-Israel position. Sirhan later claimed to have no memory of the night Kennedy was shot or of his own confession to the crime. For many years, Sirhan was held protectively separate from most prisoners at Corcoran State Prison because of his fame. At his own request, Sirhan was eventually transferred to the general population at Donovan.

Robert F. Kennedy was the brother of U.S. President John F. Kennedy, who had himself been assassinated in 1963. Robert was killed in June 1968, while seeking the Democratic nomination for president. Sirhan shot him in the head just after midnight, while he was walking through a hotel kitchen. Sirhan's initial death sentence was commuted to life in prison when, for a time, California outlawed the death penalty.