WEIRDLAND: The Killing of Robert F. Kennedy, Sirhan Sirhan

Friday, September 03, 2021

The Killing of Robert F. Kennedy, Sirhan Sirhan

Gov. Gavin Newsom is not likely to ever free Robert F. Kennedy’s killer from prison — nor should he. That’s just a guess based on Newsom’s stated admiration for Kennedy and the fact that he’s no political dummy. He also apparently understands that assassin Sirhan Sirhan unforgivably changed American history for the worse, committing a crime against the nation. If Newsom could announce now that he would never allow Sirhan to be paroled, he’d probably leap at the chance. If Sirhan’s release still has the green light, the governor could block it. Of course, just because RFK is a hero to Newsom and Sirhan spoiled history doesn’t necessarily mean the governor wouldn’t feel compelled to release him. Under California law, to be released on parole, a prison lifer must be considered no longer a danger to the public. Asked at his hearing whether he’d ever kill again, Sirhan replied: “I would never put myself in jeopardy again.” That wasn’t exactly a statement of remorse. But Sirhan at another point said: “Sen. Kennedy was the hope of the world … and it pains me … the knowledge for such a horrible deed — if I did, in fact, do that.” Source:

Dan Moldea, author of the book, "The Killing of Robert F. Kennedy", participated in a recent television special on the RFK assassination. Using, laser sights, stand-ins, and a re-creation of the Ambassador Hotel pantry in which the assassination occurred, Moldea purported to account for the six assassination victim's wounds using no more bullets than Sirhan's gun could hold. Moldea's television explanation, the same offered in his book, has several fatal shortcomings. One particularly critical conclusion by Moldea ensures that, under his scenario, no less than 9 shots were necessary to account for the victims' wounds. Problematically for Moldea, Sirhan fired an 8-shot revolver, which he unquestionably did not reload. Ironically, in a book which concluded that Sirhan B. Sirhan acted alone, Moldea actually offered a shooting scenario that demands two shooters! And what was Moldea's fatal mistake? He concluded that one of the victims (Paul Schrade) was struck in the forehead by a bullet that struck nothing else first. I made Moldea aware of his error in 2003 during a lengthy phone conversation. He sidestepped the issue, saying, "I wrote the book almost ten years ago. Honestly, I've forgotten the details [of the trajectory scenario] and put the RFK assassination behind me." Moldea ended the pleasant conversation by giving me some genuinely friendly advice: spend more time with your family and let the RFK assassination go. The key to understanding how Moldea's single-assassin shooting scenario, if correct, actually proves conspiracy, begins with an understanding of the number of victims and wounds they suffered. These wounds are undisputed:

1. RFK - Shot in the head, no exit.

2. RFK - Shot in the right rear armpit, with the bullet coming to rest in the flesh beneath the skin at the base of the back of the neck. The bullet was recovered at autopsy.

3. RFK - Shot in the right rear armpit one inch above shot No. 2. The bullet exited through right front chest below the clavicle.

4. RFK - Entry and exit of a bullet which passed through the rear right shoulder of RFK's suit jacket. The entry and exit were both behind the yolk seam at the top of the shoulder, and penetrated only the outermost layer of fabric.

5. Paul Schrade - Shot in the forehead above hairline near the apex of the head. Bullet fragments remained in the head, with a majority exiting through an exit defect several centimeters behind the entry point.

6. Ira Goldstein - Shot in the left buttock/thigh. The bullet was recovered during surgery.

7. Ira Goldstein - Entry and exit of a bullet that passed cleanly through his left pant leg without striking him.

8. Irwin Stroll - Shot in the left shin. The bullet was recovered during surgery.

9. Elizabeth Evans - Shot in the center of the forehead one inch below the hairline. Fragments of a bullet recovered during surgery were too light to comprise a full .22 round. There was no exit point in the scalp.

10. William Weisel - Shot in the left abdomen. The bullet was recovered near the spine during surgery.

The story of the girl in the polka dot dress has been a lingering theme in accounts of the events just after midnight on June 5, 1968, when Kennedy was gunned down in the hotel pantry after claiming victory in the California Democratic presidential primary. Witnesses talked of seeing such a female running from the hotel shouting, "We shot Kennedy." But she was never identified, and amid the chaos of the scene, descriptions were conflicting. Through the years, Sirhan has claimed no memory of shooting Kennedy and said in the recent interviews that his presence at the hotel was an accident, not a planned destination. Under hypnosis, he remembered meeting the girl that night and becoming smitten with her. He said she led him to the pantry. "I am trying to figure out how to hit on her... That's all that I can think about," he says in one interview cited in the documents. "I was fascinated with her looks. It was very erotic. I was consumed by her. She was a seductress with an unspoken unavailability." During Sgt. Hernandez’ polygraph testing of Jerry Owen, Hernandez seemed to display something of that attitude: “I’ve talked to twenty three people that say they saw a girl in the polka dot dress. They are all--they're all fibbing.”  (Tape #29272, July 3, 1968; Lt.Hernandez of SUS interrogation of Jerry Owen, page 46 of transcript). 

Larry Hancock: It does seem clear that Sgt. Hernandez shifted from being an detached polygraph interviewer to an aggressive police interrogator during the course of the interview with Sandra Serrano. In the end, Hernandez gave Sandy Serrano a choice, she could accept his appeal to recant or she would be talking to police forever… and possibly worse. Serrano quit her job and moved back to Ohio. Much later, in 1988 after the LAPD files were made public, Serrano had one more comment. In a brief radio interview she said simply: “I don’t ever want to have to go through that again….that sort of everyday harassment…being put in a room for hours with polka dot dress all around you. It was a bad scene and one that as a young person I was totally unprepared to handle. I was just twenty years old and I became unglued. I said what they wanted me to say.” It is should be mentioned that a great many of the witnesses which LAPD discounted were rejected based on interviews with Sgt. Hernandez. Chief Houghton describes one instance of this in his description of how the police handled Sandra Serrano’s observations. He relates that supervisor Manny Pena knew that if Serrano stuck to her story nothing could dispel the polka dotted dress girl “fever”, only Serrano herself could “put the spotted ghost to rest”.

In his book, and with no apparent concern, Houghton described their tactics, beginning with Manny Pena calling the SUS (Special Unit Senator) polygraph specialist and asking him to take Ms. Serrano out for a “SUS bought steak” dinner. He did just that, first with an informal dinner with Serrano and her Aunt, then isolating Serrano at the police station for a impromptu series of aggressive and emotional interviews, including a lengthy polygraph interrogation lasting until very late that night. Conflicting statements and evidence, which the defense seems not to have been aware of (or certainly did not take up in court) did not become public knowledge until years and in some cases decades had passed. It became public only as the result of almost constant pressure from private investigators and researchers. Lisa Pease details the statements of the “five best” witnesses who were described by LAPD as being in a position to see both RFK and Sirhan. All confirm a distance between them of “three” to “several” feet. The closest man to both, Karl Uecker, later went on record as stating that “There is no way that the shots described in the autopsy could have come from Sirhan’s gun. When I told this to the authorities, they told me I was wrong. But I repeat now what I told them then: Sirhan never got close enough for a point-blank shot.” 

The coroner’s report on the wounds, the eyewitnesses to Sirhan’s distance from RFK and the witnesses who reported other men with guns in the pantry – all suggest an alternative scenario of the shooting: Robert Kennedy entered a relatively long hallway with side doors and progressed into the section of the hallway which served as a pantry. As he moved through the pantry, he approached Sirhan. Then Sirhan moved out as if to shake his hand and began firing a pistol at Kennedy. As Kennedy fell back and down, one of the men whom Kennedy had passed, stepped up behind him and fired with a concealed weapon (a weapon probably held at waist level where it had been concealed under a newspaper). Kennedy was fatally wounded from one of these shots fired at extremely close range and sagged to the floor. At that point the shooter and the women withdrew as others ran forward; they slipped out one of the side corridor doors into the Embassy room, observed by several witnesses in the corridor and around the doors. Sirhan, drawing attention because he was firing a now very visible weapon into the oncoming crowd, was wrestled down, his pistol coming out of his hand. There is little doubt that some of Sirhan's writing was done in an abnormal state of mind. Certain of his notebook entries were done in highly repetitive fashion, very suggestive of automatic writing, a technique that does involve auto-suggestion and visualization, suggesting Sirhan had practiced a form of self hypnosis and did have the ability to force himself into a trance like state. Research into Sirhan’s activities disclosed considerable evidence that he had indeed been highly interested in the occult, had appeared at a Theosophical Society meeting and studied its literature, joined the Rosicrucians and studied their literature and practices (which included auto-hypnosis) and at the time of the assassination had a book by Manley Hall, founder of the Philosophical Research Society and a master hypnotist. 

It seems virtually certain that there was a conspiracy involved in the murder of Senator Kennedy. He had been stalked in the weeks and days immediately before his death; Sirhan himself had been present at the Ambassador the prior weekend, reported in both areas where the Senator was to speak and in the general area of the hotel kitchen. Credible witnesses place Sirhan in the company with the same set of individuals throughout the evening of the assassination and Sirhan was clearly “positioned” on the route which the Senator had used to enter the stage on which he gave his victory speech. The fatal encounter was no random accident. In addition, Sirhan’s notebook entries clearly reveal a focus on the Senator and specifies the date at which he would have to be killed, an obvious date given the timing of the California primary. Sirhan’s knowledge of the actual shooting may be debated, his claim to have no recollection at all of any of his notebook entries, of various notes about RFK on other pieces of paper or of other events is questionable. It is unwise to use Sirhan himself as a reliable source of information. The same can be said for many aspects of the LAPD investigation. There is substantive reason to challenge a good deal of their ballistics and forensics data. Much of their witness investigation work raises questions, including witness evaluations based on department polygraphs. All of this leaves us with a most unsatisfactory situation, with ample evidence to recognize a conspiracy, with clues to possible accessories, with profiles of the people who were repeatedly reported in association with Sirhan – and with justice very definitely incomplete. Source:

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