In Sirhan's '68 Notes, a Calculating Assassin

The picture they paint is not one of a brainwashed killer
By Evann Gastaldo,  Newser Staff
Posted Apr 7, 2011 12:34 PM CDT
Sirhan Sirhan, 66, convicted of assassinating Sen. Robert F. Kennedy in 1968, laughs during a Board of Parole Suitability Hearing March 2, 2011, at the Pleasant Valley State Prison in Coalinga, Calif....   (AP Photo/Ben Margot)

(Newser) Sirhan Sirhan claims he was brainwashed into assassinating Robert F. Kennedy, but notes he purportedly wrote 42 years ago tell a different story. The handwritten four-page chronology, which he wrote in front of a member of his defense team, shows a more calculated approach. In it, Sirhan describes his visit to a target practice range and then his trip to the Ambassador Hotel, where he waited in the kitchen pantry area to shoot Kennedy. According to the press release, Sirhan even included a detailed floor plan.

The assassination "never seemed to me to be a conspiracy. He wanted to be a martyr for the Palestinian cause," says Michael McCowan, the last surviving member of Sirhan's defense team. He tells the Los Angeles Times, "Sirhan's not stupid. In his 10th-grade history book from his high school in Pasadena he'd underlined the assassination of President McKinley and on the next page of Archduke Ferdinand." The notes will be sold at auction next week, along with other materials including a telegram Lee Harvey Oswald's mother sent to Sirhan's mother. (Read more Robert Kennedy stories.)

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