Calif. AG asks judge to deny Sirhan Sirhan appeal

Feb 2, 2012, 5:13 AM

LOS ANGELES (AP) – California’s attorney general has recommended the denial of the latest appeal of assassin Sirhan Sirhan, saying Wednesday that the man long-convicted in the murder of Sen. Robert F. Kennedy hasn’t proved his innocence.

Lawyers representing Sirhan filed an appeal late last year alleging a bullet was switched in evidence at his trial and that new forensic details exonerated him from the 1968 killing.

The lawyers, William F. Pepper and Laurie Dusek, said sophisticated audio tests 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 said eight bullets were fired, with three hitting Kennedy and the rest flying wildly around the kitchen and striking five other victims who survived.

In a 46-page reply brief, Attorney General Kamala Harris said the ballistics allegations fall “well short of dismantling the prosecution’s overwhelming case against him.”

The Sirhan trial was never reliant on ballistic evidence or forensic evidence because he was detained “in the process of shooting at the victim and was the killer by all credible accounts,” she said.

Harris also wrote that Sirhan hasn’t made the requisite showing of actual innocence.

“All claims in the petition should be dismissed as both untimely and procedurally barred,” she said.

Sirhan’s lawyers have also 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 in the latest appeal.

Harris added in her brief that there is ample evidence that Sirhan premeditated Kennedy’s murder.

Sirhan, now in his late 60s, was denied parole at a hearing last March where he denied any memory of shooting Kennedy at a Los Angeles hotel moments after he claimed victory in the California presidential primary. All of his appeals have been turned down.

(Copyright 2012 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)

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Calif. AG asks judge to deny Sirhan Sirhan appeal