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Who Killed Bobby? The Unsolved Murder of Robert F. Kennedy Hardcover – Illustrated, 1 Jun 2008
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"O'Sullivan tries and succeeds in informing us about the failure of law enforcement in solving this crime, due to destruction of crucial evidence and prematurely ending the investigation. He compiles old and new data that is invaluable (and) provides history and possible solutions. I was standing with Robert Kennedy that night and was wounded but I will never give up trying to solve this case" -- Paul Schrade, shooting victim and friend of Robert Kennedy
"O'Sullivan's understated tone adds plausibility to the argument. He may or may not be right but this is a serious attempt to raise important questions about Kennedy's death" (Richard Aldous, Head of History and Archives, University College Dublin) -- The Irish Times
"Sane, well-documented, and convincing"
- The Irish Times
- -- Library Journal
"The most definitive work on the RFK case. It contains much new material that I am sure will contribute to a reopening" -- William Turner, former FBI agent and author of The Assassination of Robert F. Kennedy
"undoubtedly the most exhaustive investigation of the case ever written...a rattling good read" -- Sunday Business Post
"Sane, well-documented, and convincing"
- The Irish Times
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The story of the assassination goes like this: Robert Kennedy, having just won the Califoria primary, made a short speech to supporters at the Ambassador Hotel in Los Angeles. He was then ferried through the hotel's kitchen by bodyguards where he was ambushed by Palestinian Sirhan Sirhan. Sirhan shot Kennedy in the head at close range. Kennedy was rushed to hospital but died of his wounds the next day.
Sirhan was apprehended at the scene and the resulting trial was an open and shut case. Numerous people had witnessed the shooting and testified that Sirhan was the man they had seen pulling the trigger. Sirhan was further incriminated by a notebook found in his home in which 'RFK must die' had been written over and over again. Sirhan made little attempt to defend himself. He was just a 'lone nut' who had 'acted alone' (sound familiar?) and was quickly sentenced to death (later commuted to life in prison when California voted to ban the death penalty). Case closed.
When one looks deeper into the killing, however, certain facts unaired at the trial indicate something much more complicated was going on.
1) The fatal shot which hit Kennedy behind the ear came from the rear and was fired at a distance of less than 1 inch from his head. Witnesses, however, were in agreement Sirhan was standing directly in front of Kennedy and never came within 3 feet of him. The bodyguard standing to the rear of Kennedy had often voiced his hatred of the Kennedy family. He owned a gun identical to the one used by Sirhan and may have had it on him that night.
2) Whilst Sirhan has never attempted to deny his involvement, he still claims to this day to have no memory of the shooting. Witnesses reported he seemed to be in a trance like state during the shooting and up to several hours afterwards. Experts in hypnosis who examined him in later years saw evidence he had been regularly hynotised in the past.
3) Several witnesses reported seeing a girl in a polka dot dress fleeing the scene in an exited state, shouting 'We did it, we killed Kennedy' and 'we killed him'. Sirhan had said to police the last thing he remembered before waking up in a jail cell hours after the shooting was drinking coffee with a pretty girl in a polka dot dress.
Unfortunately, whilst O'Sullivan is able to highlight these inconsistencies in the official story (and many others), lack of evidence prevents him from preventing an alternative version of events. An enormous amount of research has obviously been put in but O'Sullivan is unable to give us anything concrete. For example, a lot of space is devoted to trying to place shadowy CIA figures linked to the JFK assassination at the scene of the crime but ultimately nothing is proven.
I give credit to O'Sullivan's journalistic integrity- unlike many writers of conspiracy works he is not willing to take shortcuts and fudge evidence to give us a culprit to point the finger at. He has the guts to admit he is at a loss as to what really happened.
So, this book is ultimately unsuccessful in its goal of solving the case, but I think O'Sullivan undeniably presents enough evidence to warrant a retrial of Sirhan, who stills sits in jail today.
As O'Sullivan points out at the end of book, real life is not like an Agatha Christie novel, where the detective calls all the suspects together at the end and reveals 'whodunnit'. We will probably never know what really happened in Dallas on 22nd November 1963 and we will probably never know what realy happened at the Ambassador Hotel on June 5th 1968.
Annoying, isn't it?
I won't spoil it for people who have yet to read it but in the end I did not agree with the conclusions reached by the author and in fact think that he has recently changed part of his theory on the assassination. Notwithstanding, this is a really interesting read which I recommend to anyone interested in the murder of RFK.
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