- The assassination of Senator Robert F. Kennedy shortly
after midnight on June 5, 1968, changed the course of world history. Senator
Kennedy had promised to end the war in Vietnam if elected as President,
as seemed likely to happen following his victory in the June 4 California
Democratic Presidential primary election.
- At first glance, the RFK case seems open and shut. After
all, Sirhan Sirhan was arrested with a gun in hand at the scene. There
the simplicity ends, however. There is an abundance of evidence which refutes
the official version of this crime.
- 1. Sirhan was out of position and out of range and therefore
could not have shot Robert Kennedy. The Senator was shot from behind, but
all witnesses place Sirhan in front of him in a face-to-face position.
All witnesses placed Sirhan's gun at between 1.5 and 5 feet from Senator
Kennedy, but the autopsy findings clearly establish that the Senator was
shot from a weapon held somewhere between less than 1 inch and no more
than three inches away. All witnesses describe Sirhan's gun as having been
held horizontally in a normal standing position, but the autopsy report
describes all bullet tracks in Senator Kennedy's body as angled sharply
upward, as though fired from below.
- 2. An armed security guard with strong anti-Kennedy views
admitted that he was standing directly in contact with the Senator to the
rear, that he dropped down when the shooting began and that he then pulled
his gun. One witness ignored by police claimed he saw the guard fire. The
guard's weapon was never checked. Meanwhile, the one person who photographed
the assassination, Jamie Scott Enyart, was tackled and arrested at gun
point. His camera was seized by police, and his photographs have never
been recovered. Los Angeles Police secretly burned 2,410 assassination-related
photographs in a county hospital incinerator long beforeSirhan's trial.
A Los Angeles jury later awarded Enyart a substantial verdict for the loss
of his photographs.
- 3. The official autopsy report devastates the prosecution
theory that Sirhan shot Robert Kennedy. However, prosecutors illegally
withheld this critical document from defense counsel for four months until
after the defense had unnecessarily conceded Sirhan's identity as the killer
during opening statements to the jury.
- Evidence photographs
- 4. Bullet holes in a door frame at the crime scene which
are documented in FBI photographs show that more bullets were fired than
could have come from "Sirhan's" gun. The police never disclosed
these bullets, even though their removal by LAPD criminalists was observed
by other police personnel. The door frame in question was then destroyed
under color of a court order issued immediately after Sirhan's trial without
notice to the defense.
- 5. Police switched bullets in order to fabricate evidence
lending apparent support to their theory of the case. As has been noted
by Sirhan case researcher Rose Lynn Mangan, Los Angeles police manufactured
a comparison photomicrograph using substitute victim bullets and then falsely
presented this photograph as evidencing a match between the bullet removed
from Senator Kennedy's neck and a test bullet fired from "Sirhan's"
gun. The use of substitute bullets in this exhibit ("Special Exhibit
10") is clear from the fact that identifying markings on the bases
of the involved bullets differ from those recorded by physicians when the
bullets were recovered.
- 6. Police behaved as though two guns were recovered at
the crime scene, because they fired two revolvers and obtained test bullets
from both weapons. The second gun had been in LAPD custody before the assassination.
Despite police denials, official records confirm that this gun was destroyed
by the LAPD long before Sirhan's trial.
- 7. Dr. Herbert Spiegel, a New York psychiatrist who teaches
at Columbia University and who is widely regarded as among this country's
leading experts on hypnosis, has concluded that Sirhan was probably acting
out hypnotic commands when he fired a gun in Senator Kennedy's presence
that fateful day. Sirhan himself was so disoriented following his arrest
that he did not even know he had yet to be arraigned. During pre-trial
psychiatric examinations in his cell, Sirhan proved to be the ideal hypnotic
subject, climbing the bars without knowing that he was carrying out post-hypnotic
commands. Expert trial testimony established that notebook passages containing
repetitions of the phrase "RFK Must Die" were written in a hypnotic
trance, and Sirhan spontaneously reproduced this phrase under hypnosis
when asked in his cell for a description of the Senator. Sirhan's amnesia
about the crime was unshaken by hypnosis and has consistently remained
- These and other issues of Constitutional dimension are
currently before the California Supreme Court, which is considering a habeas
corpus petition seeking an evidentiary hearing and a new trial for Sirhan.
Meanwhile, this historic crime remains unsolved. Its true perpetrators
have never been brought to justice. One victim was killed, and five others
were wounded. The seventh victim of this dastardly plot, Sirhan Sirhan,
has been confined for thirty years for a crime he did not commit.
- Lawrence Teeter
- Attorney for Sirhan Sirhan