Today’s picture shows Robert Kennedy, one of the charismatic Kennedy brothers, near the summit of Mt Kennedy, in the Yukon, having his photograph taken.
The mountain was aptly named in honour of his brother, John F Kennedy in 1965.
Tragically, and what seems to be some kind of deadly legacy that continues to pursue the Kennedy family, Robert too was assassinated on June 6th 1968, at the Ambassador Hotel, Los Angeles, during his election campaign.
His killer, purported to be the Palestinian Sirhan-Sirhan, denied carrying out the murder but was imprisoned anyway. Thousands of conspiracy theories came to light afterwards, including, surprise-surprise, possible CIA involvement and news of an alleged second gunman.
Many people indeed believed that Sirhan was the killer, as he had been caught with gun in hand. But apparently there was a mountain of evidence showing that Sirhan was in the wrong position if he was indeed the one who fired the fatal shot.
Amazingly, most witnesses to the scene said Sirhan fired the shot from the front, but the post-mortem showed Robert was shot from behind. Not only that:
1 witnesses said the distance from which the gun was fired was about 1 to 1.5 feet, but the autopsy shows the gun was approx. an inch to three inches away from the Senator’s body when it was fired.
2 witnesses said Sirhan’s gun was fired being held in the horizontal position, but the autopsy shows the shot being fired from a very low angle, upwards, as if shot from below.
3 there was an armed security guard, who apparently had very strong anti-Kennedy views, at the scene. He admitted he was in direct contact with the Senator and that when he heard the shot, he dropped down below Kennedy and drew his gun. Witnesses say he was seen to fire his gun, but police failed to confirm this further and his weapon was never checked.
4 only one person apparently photographed the shooting, a chap called Jamie Scott Enyart. He was immediately tackled and arrested at gunpoint by police and his camera seized by them, never to be recovered. Los Angeles police burnt 2410 assassination-related photographs in the county hospital incinerator, long before Sirhan’s trial was to begin. A court later awarded Enyart a substantial sum for loss of his photographs.
5 the official autopsy report concluded that Sirhan was not the killer, but not surprisingly, this report was deliberately delayed from release until after Sirhan was found to be the killer.
6 FBI photographs of bullet holes in a door frame at the scene confirmed that the bullets could not have all come from Sirhan’s gun. The police failed to mention this in the trial, even though they were seen removing the bullets by other police personnel. The door frame was subsequently removed, under the colour of a supposed court order, and destroyed.
7 Police falsified their records and switched bullets to show that the bullets from Robert’s body did indeed come from Sirhan’s gun, but this was proved false.
8 Dr Herbert Spiegel, the country’s leading psychiatrist, after examining Sirhan, concluded that Sirhan had been under the influence of a hypnotic trance, and that he was probably acting out hypnotic commands given to him by an unknown person or persons. Sirhan’s behaviour after his arrest showed that he was totally disoriented both when he fired a shot and afterwards in his cell. When under hypnosis he was asked to describe the Senator, he spontaneously spoke out the phrase “RKF must die”, a phrase that investigators found in a notebook found in Sirhan’s apartment.
So, to date, this crime has never been solved. One person was killed and several others injured. And one person, who still denies he is the killer, has been in jail for over 30 years for a crime he says he didn’t commit.
The discrepancies that abound in the case have never been brought to light since that trial.