Bul­let switch claim in Bobby Kennedy killing

Con­victed as­sas­sin’s de­fence team sub­mits new ev­i­dence

The Herald - - WORLD NEWS -

L AWYERS rep­re­sent­ing con­victed as­sas­sin Sirhan Sirhan ar­gue in newly filed court doc­u­ments that a bul­let was switched in ev­i­dence at his trial and new foren­sic de­tails show he is in­no­cent of the 1968 killing of Se­na­tor Robert F Kennedy.

In the lat­est of many ap­peals filed on be­half of Sirhan, the lawyers are seek­ing to over­turn his con­vic­tion.

They re­peated a pre­vi­ous as­ser­tion and pre­sented re­ports from ex­perts who said Sirhan was pro­grammed through hyp­no­sis to fire shots as a di­ver­sion for the real killer.

Pros­e­cu­tors had no com­ment, said Lynda Gled­hill, a spokes­woman for the Cal­i­for­nia at­tor­ney-gen­eral’s of­fice, which is han­dling the ap­peal.

The lawyers, Wil­liam F Pep­per and Lau­rie Dusek, also said so­phis­ti­cated au­dio tests re­cently con­ducted on record­ings from the as­sas­si­na­tion night show 13 shots from mul­ti­ple guns were fired – five more than Sirhan could have fired from his small pis­tol.

Au­thor­i­ties have claimed eight bul­lets were fired, with three hit­ting Mr Kennedy and the rest fly­ing wildly around the kitchen and strik­ing five other vic­tims who sur­vived.

Paul Schrade, who was struck by gun­fire, re­fused to com­ment on the new fil­ing, say­ing he is work­ing on his own new anal­y­sis of the as­sas­si­na­tion.

The lawyers ar­gue that be­fore Sirhan’s trial, some­one switched a bul­let be­fore it was placed in ev­i­dence be­cause the bul­let taken from Mr Kennedy’s neck did not match Sirhan’s gun.

They sug­gest a sec­ond gun was in­volved in the as­sas­si­na­tion, but they do not know who fired it.

Mr Pep­per said the new ev­i­dence, out­lined in a 62-page fed­eral court brief filed in Los An­ge­les, is suf­fi­cient to prove Sirhan is in­no­cent un­der the law. “They put fab­ri­cated ev­i­dence into court be­fore the judge and jury,” Mr Pep­per said. “We are sat­is­fied that for the first time in 43 years of this case we think we have the ev­i­dence to set this con­vic­tion aside.”

The mo­tion was filed last week in fed­eral court in Los An­ge­les

Whether it has any chance of suc­cess is ques­tion­able, said lead­ing ap­pel­late lawyer Dennis Fis­cher of Santa Mon­ica.

“It’s a long shot in the long­est way,” he said, “but they cer­tainly are rais­ing in­trigu­ing ques­tions.”

He said the pas­sage of time weighs against de­fence ap­peals, with courts tend­ing to ask why it took so long to raise the is­sues. How­ever, he said fed­eral courts fre­quently are will­ing to take a closer look at cases in which gov­ern­men­tal mis­con­duct is al­leged, even if it is so long af­ter the fact.

“The cur­rent think­ing by the US Supreme Court is these things need to end,” said Mr Fis­cher. How­ever, he added in a case with such his­tor­i­cal im­por­tance: “Noone will ever be sat­is­fied.”

Sirhan, now 67, a Pales­tinian im­mi­grant, was de­nied pa­role af­ter a hear­ing last March where he de­nied any mem­ory of shoot­ing Mr Kennedy on June 5, 1968, mo­ments af­ter he claimed vic­tory in the Cal­i­for­nia pres­i­den­tial pri­mary.

Pa­role of­fi­cials said he does not un­der­stand the enor­mity of his crime that changed US his­tory.

Main pic­ture: UPI

NEW AP­PEAL: Sirhan Sirhan, top, be­ing ar­rested in 1968 for the shoot­ing of Se­na­tor Robert F Kennedy. The as­sas­sin’s lawyers claim their client, above, now 67, is in­no­cent.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from UK

© PressReader. All rights reserved.