Ethel Kennedy, the widow of the late New York Sen. Robert F. Kennedy (D), has spoken out after the man who killed her husband was granted parole.
In a statement to NBC News on Tuesday, Ethel said that her husband’s killer, Sirhan Sirhan, “should not be paroled.”
“Bobby believed we should work to ‘tame the savageness of man and make gentle the life of the world.’ He wanted to end the war in Vietnam and bring people together to build a better, stronger country. More than anything, he wanted to be a good father and loving husband,” Ethel said. “Our family and our country suffered an unspeakable loss due to the inhumanity of one man. We believe in the gentleness that spared his life, but in taming his act of violence, he should not have the opportunity to terrorize again.”
At the bottom of her typed statement, NBC News said she wrote by hand, “He should not be paroled.”
On June 5, 1968, Kennedy had just finished delivering a victory speech after winning California’s Democratic primary at the Ambassador Hotel when 24-year-old Sirhan Sirhan shot Kennedy and five other people. While the other five survived, Kennedy died from his injuries about 26 hours later.
Sirhan, now 77, was granted parole on Aug. 27 at his 16th parole hearing during his 53 years incarcerated, after the parole board deemed Sirhan to no longer be a threat to society.
Ethel and Robert had 11 children together. The nine of whom are still living are split over the news that the man who assassinated their father has been granted parole.
Six of the nine surviving children — Kerry Kennedy, Rory Kennedy, Joseph P. Kennedy II, Courtney Kennedy, Christopher G. Kennedy and Maxwell T. Kennedy — released a statement denouncing Sirhan being granted parole.
Two of the remaining three children, Robert F. Kennedy, Jr. and Douglas Kennedy, have publicly supported Sirhan’s release.