Atlantis Online
March 04, 2024, 09:20:17 am
Welcome, Guest. Please login or register.

Login with username, password and session length
News: Has the Location of the Center City of Atlantis Been Identified?
  Home Help Arcade Gallery Links Staff List Calendar Login Register  

Sirhan Sentenced to Gas Chamber on 5th Jury Vote

Pages: [1]   Go Down
Author Topic: Sirhan Sentenced to Gas Chamber on 5th Jury Vote  (Read 222 times)
Superhero Member
Posts: 4607

« on: April 23, 2010, 07:13:19 am »

Report Spam   Logged

"He who controls others maybe powerful, but he who has mastered himself is mightier still. - Lao Tsu

Share on Facebook Share on Twitter

Superhero Member
Posts: 4607

« Reply #1 on: April 23, 2010, 07:14:18 am »

Sirhan Sentenced to Gas Chamber on 5th Jury Vote
12 Who Convicted Murderer of Kennedy Set Penalty After Nearly 12 Hours Judge Can Ease Ruling He Will Hear Defense Plea for a New Trial May 14 - Execution Unlikely Soon
By Douglas Robinson
Special to The New York Times


Nixon Requests Wide U.S. Powers to Combat Mafia: Gambling Target: President Seeks Halt in 'Subversion' of Society by Crime

More Tax Reforms Are Urged in House

March Price Rise of 0.8% Is Biggest Since Korea War: Report by Labor Department Also Finds 0.5% Increase in Key Industrial Index

More Tax Reforms Are Urged in House

Korea Reds Warn U.S. Over Planes: Say They Will Down Craft Entering Airspace -- Fire Over Truce Line Charged

Cornell Faculty Reverses Itself on Negroes: Disciplinary Action Is Nullified -- Peril Cut, Perkins Says

C.C.N.Y. to Close Again; Negroes Agree to Talks

School Bill Gains Backing in Albany: Decentralization Agreement Supported by Democrats and Leaders of G.O.P.

House Backs Nixon In Voting School Aid With 2-Year Limit

Key Aide Scores Vote at Harvard: Black-Study Advocate Quits Panel to Protest Action on Voice for Students

Student Violence Shuts 2 City Highs: 7 Students Are Arrested in Disorders at 5 Schools

Biafra's Capital Seized: Umuahia Captured in Heavy Battle, Nigeria Declares

Paris Peace Talks Said to Be Stalled

Los Angles, April 23 - Sirhan Bishara Sirhan was condemned to death in the gas chamber today for the murder of Senator Robert F. Kennedy last year.

The death penalty was returned by 12 solemn-faced jurors who had deliberated the fate of the 25-year-old. Palestinian Arab for 11 hours and 45 minutes. The same panel found the defendant guilty of murder in the first degree last week.

George A. Sitzel, 57 years old, one of the jurors, said the jury's original vote was 5 for death, 3 for life and 4 undecided. The count became 9 for death, 1 for life and 2 undecided on the second ballot and 10 for death and 2 for life on the third. It shifted to 10 for death, 1 for life and 1 undecided before agreement was reached on the fifth ballot.

Formal sentencing will not take place before May 14, when Superior Court Judge Herbert V. Walker will hear a motion for a new trial as requested by Grant B. Cooper, the chief defense attorney.

Judge Has Power

Under California law, Judge Walker has the power to reduce the sentence to life imprisonment should he feel the death penalty is unwarranted.

Should the decision stand, however, it is extremely unlikely, that Sirhan will die in the gas chamber in the near future because of various appeals and the unofficial ban on executions in the state.

Mr. Cooper said that after the decision had been read to the crowded courtroom, he went with Sirhan to a cell just off the courtroom and told him that "we did the best we could."

The attorney said Sirhan had replied:

"Even Jesus Christ couldn't have saved me."

The decision to send Sirhan to the gas chamber at San Quentin Prison was announced at 11:35 A.M., when the court clerk, Mrs. Alice Nishikawa, read a formal printed form that had been handed to the court by Bruce D. Elliott, the jury foreman.

"We the jury in the above entitled action having found Sirhan Bishara Sirhan guilty of murder in the first degree as charged in count one of the indictment now fix the penalty at death," Mrs. Nishikawa intoned in a clear voice.

Then, pausing, she continued, "Is this your verdict, ladies and gentlemen of the jury, say you one, say you all?"

The seven men and five women in the oak jury box replied "Yes" in unison. They repeated their agreement one by one as they were polled individually.

The defendant was impassive as the decision was read and the jurors were polled. He chewed gum and stared steadily at the jurors.

Most of the jurors gazed steadfastly at Sirhan, although several looked away at spectators or court officials.

There are now 81 prisoners on death row in San Quentin Prison. The last man to be executed there was Aaron Mitchell, the killer of a policeman, who was sent to his death April 12, 1967. Before Mitchell's death, the last execution in California took place early in 1963.

The most recent execution in the United States took place in Colorado June 2, 1967.

In condemning Sirhan to the gas chamber, the jury dismissed the pleas of the defense lawyers that the defendant was "too mentally ill" to die for his crime.

One defense attorney, Russell E. Parsons, said in his closing argument that the jury should show the world that "we don't execute sick people in this state."

This afternoon, Lynn D. Compton, the chief deputy district attorney, said at a news conference that he felt the death penalty was "a proper verdict."

He said that the decision would act as a "deterrent" in that "it will put people on notice that we simply can't tolerate this kind of crime."

The prosecutor, who directed the state's case since the trial began Jan. 7 said he thought the verdict reflected the feeling of the country since "Americans are largely in favor of capital punishment."

"I wouldn't say we feel any personal satisfaction in the outcome of this trial," he continued, "but I think we can justifiably take pride in the way the trial was handled."

Mr. Cooper told newsmen that the death penalty was part of the "overriding feeling of the community - the United States - the feeling for law and order."

He cited civil disorders in cities and on college campuses as creating a "backlash for the upholding of the law."

Mr. Cooper said his motion for a new trial would be based on these legal points:

That the judge did not exercise the proper discretion in not allowing an agreement between the defense and the prosecution that Sirhan be allowed to plead guilty to first-degree murder in exchange for a recommendation of life imprisonment.

That the grand jury was not properly constituted under a decision by the Supreme Court in that it did not represent a cross-section of the community.

That the seizure of Sirhan's notebooks from his home - notebooks that threatened the life of Senator Kennedy and other officials - had been illegal in that the police had had no search warrant or permission from the defendant, his family or the defense attorneys.

On the question of the social value of the death penalty, Mr. Cooper said that "if any of you think this will act as a deterrent to the kind of crazy mind that would assassinate a political figure, I will tell you that it has happened before and it will happen again."

He also maintained that "if the victim had not been Senator Kennedy, but some unknown, the district attorney would have accepted a plea of second degree murder."

Mr. Cooper said that when he and Michael A. McCowan, the chief investigator for the defense, went to see Sirhan shortly after the verdict was announced, "there were tears in our eyes."

"Sirhan had to reassure us," he said.

The lawyer, fearing an angry outbreak by Sirhan, who disrupted the trial several times during its almost 16-week duration, visited the defendant shortly after the jury signaled that it was ready to disclose the verdict.

"I told him not to make a fuss and to act like a man," Mr. Cooper said.

Cooper to 'Go Forward'

The defense lawyer, who has represented Sirhan without fee, as have the other lawyers, Mr. Parsons and Emile Zola Berman of New York, said he had "no choice than to go forward" and that he would have to "spend more money out of my pocket."

In finding Sirhan guilty of murder in the first degree, the jury also returned guilty verdicts on five counts of assault with a deadly weapon with the intent to commit murder for the wounding of five persons who surrounded Senator Kennedy when he was shot June 5.

The Senator was celebrating his victory in the June 4 California Presidential primary election.

Mr. Stitzel, a pressroom foreman for the Los Angeles Times, told newsmen:

"There was no one thing that swayed them over. One item, however, that was very important was that we should stand behind our laws. There seems to be a tendency today to not do this - to be lax. I felt all along that because of the seriousness and gravity of the crime it should be the death penalty. As long as we have capital punishment, what other crime would justify the death penalty if this didn't?"

After the jurors announced their decision this morning, they returned to the Biltmore Hotel, where they had been sequestered each night and each weekend since they were chosen in mid-February.

As the jurors walked off a sheriff department bus, looking haggard and exhausted, a crowd of newsmen and spectators pressed around the security men guarding them. A number of persons in the throng applauded. The jurors, their heads down, ignored the applause.

Back to the top of this page.
Back to today's page.
Go to another day.
Front Page Image Provided by UMI
Copyright 2010 The New York Times Company
Children's Privacy Notice
Report Spam   Logged

"He who controls others maybe powerful, but he who has mastered himself is mightier still. - Lao Tsu
Pages: [1]   Go Up
Jump to:  

Powered by EzPortal
Bookmark this site! | Upgrade This Forum
SMF For Free - Create your own Forum
Powered by SMF | SMF © 2016, Simple Machines
Privacy Policy