The Story of Sirhan Sirhan
The Story Of Sirhan Sirhan Is Sirhan Sirhan an impulsive young man full of bitterness who got drunk June 4 and then just happened to wander into that back hall of the Ambassador Hotel? Or is he an angry, deliberate killer to whom life means nothing and a cause means everything, who went out that day to sharpen his shooting eye and then to lie in wait for Robert F. Kennedy? THESE ARE crucial questions that the 12 persons sitting in judgment of him must answer before they can arrive at a verdict. Yet the actions and the testimony of Sirhan Sirhan, witnessed from afar, present a confusing picture. No question is involved here as to who pulled the trigger on that terrible night in Los Angeles. This unveiling of the soul of Sirhan Sirhan is unlike most murder trials because the only question is whether he acted deliberately or insanely and thus cannot be held accountable for the act. If the shooting of Robert Kennedy was, as Sirhan asserts, an unpremeditated product of an enraged and alcohol-cluttered mind the jury may be justified in returning a verdict of less than first-degree murder for which the penalty could be life imprisonment. And if the act was the work of a mind out of control, as the defendant's counsel likely will aim to establish, the jury may be justified in finding him not guilty by reason of insanity. SIRHAN SIRHAN has given us a schizophrenic impression of his heart and soul. In part, he would tell us that this was a political killing, done on behalf of Arabs everywhere as a demonstration of anti-Semitism, with Sirhan Sirhan a hero to those who hate the Jews. But in another part of him, he seems reluctant to retain this image, apparently because it could result in his own death. So we have the contradiction of a man shouting one day that he is mentally stable and ready to die for hav-ing killed Robert Kennedy, and then another day expressing remorse for the deed though he insists he cannot remember having done it. With this hybrid of tragic data, the jury indeed has an unenviable task. The nation and the world will watch its work with the greatest of interest. For the test here is not merely of a perplexing person but of our very judicial system.