In February 1989, David Frost, an ardent admirer of Bobby Kennedy, interviewed Sirhan Sirhan in Corcoran prison. The interview was first broadcast in the US over three nights on the syndicated Inside Edition but a longer version was broadcast by the BBC and it makes for fascinating viewing, as one of only two in-depth television interviews Sirhan has ever done.
I recommend watching the whole thing but the clip above jumps to halfway through the interview, as Sirhan recalls his reprieve from Death Row and discusses in some detail whether he should be paroled. ‘Obviously, there’s a lot of public opinion out there that says never’, says Frost:
Well…if I were a monster, I would say never. If I were a mass-murderer, I would say never. If I were a serial murderer, I would say never. But to punish me for one single act, a criminal act as heinous and as onerous as it was…it just doesn’t seem fair. Of some hundred men who were with me on Death Row, Mr. Frost, 43 of them have been released on parole and are on the streets now and many of the remaining ones have been found suitable by the California Parole Board and have release dates. I just wonder what would be so egregious about, you know, being humane and merciful and carrying out as impartially towards me as you would carry it out towards other formerly condemned men.
The US broadcast ended with a telephone vote asking viewers ‘Should Sirhan Sirhan be Paroled?’ Host Bill O’Reilly expressed surprise that of almost 200,000 votes cast, a quarter favoured parole. That was twenty-seven years ago.