published Saturday, November 23rd, 2013

Robert F. Kennedy's assassin moves to new prison

  • photo
    Sirhan Sirhan, 66, speaks during a Board of Parole Suitability Hearing at the Pleasant Valley State Prison in Coalinga, Calif., n this 2011 file photo.
    Photo by Associated Press /Chattanooga Times Free Press.

SAN DIEGO — Sen. Robert F. Kennedy's killer was moved to a new prison in California on the 50th anniversary of the assassination of Kennedy's brother, President John F. Kennedy.

Sirhan Sirhan, 69, was transferred Friday from the Corcoran prison in central California to the Richard J. Donovan prison in San Diego, more than 250 miles south.

The move was routine, said Deborah Hoffman, a spokeswoman with the state Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation.

"This transfer had been planned, and the date of the move is simply an unfortunate coincidence. On any given day, inmates are moved from institution to institution for a variety of reasons," she told U-T San Diego.

Sirhan shot Robert F. Kennedy on June 5, 1968, as he was leaving the Ambassador Hotel in Los Angeles. The senator had claimed victory in California's Democratic presidential primary just moments earlier.

Sirhan was sentenced to death, but it was commuted to life in prison in 1972. He has since spent time in several California prisons.

Sirhan was denied parole in 2011 at a hearing where he said he had no memory of shooting Kennedy. His lawyers have claimed that Sirhan was framed in a conspiracy. They contend that he was programmed through hypnosis to fire shots as a diversion for the real killer.

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