Robert F. Kennedy’s Children Torn On Re-Opening Assassination Case

RFK Jr. and Kathleen Kennedy Townsend has pressing questions about what actually happened

American politician and lawyer Robert Kennedy (1925 - 1968) on an airplane during his presidential election tour,
Harry Benson / Getty Images

RFK Jr. and Kathleen Kennedy Townsend has pressing questions about what actually happened

The desire for a new investigation into the assassination death of Robert F. Kennedy is dividing the famous family, but Robert F. Kennedy Jr. and sister Kathleen Kennedy Townsend both support a reopening the investigation into the murder of their father. RFK Jr. has revealed that he has visited convicted killer Sirhan Sirhan in prison, and he is convinced that someone else killed his father, at that time a presidential candidate.

Kathleen Kennedy Townsend told the Boston Globe that she believes that her brother makes some valid points.

“I think Bobby makes a compelling case.”

But at least two of their siblings are not in support of a new investigation and are being vocal about their concerns. Joseph P. Kennedy II thinks the subject of a second gunman is divisive.

“As we approach the 50th anniversary of my father’s passing, I think what is most important is that our country and my family reflect on what my father stood for and fought for — a legacy promoting global peace, social justice, and civil rights.”

Kerry Kennedy agrees with Joe, saying that the way he died is less important than how he lived his life.

“The reason that people are interested in the circumstances of my father’s death is because of what he did with his life. And I think we should focus on his life and not so much on his death — his moral imagination, his capacity for empathy, his quest to heal divisions, and his belief that one person can make a difference.”

Ethel Kennedy, the widow of Robert F. Kennedy, has decided to stay mum on the subject, not choosing sides between her children publicly.

“[Ethel Kennedy] will not comment.”

Rory Kennedy and Joseph Kennedy III have both chosen to stay quiet on the topic, indicating that it is of a sensitive nature. Both Robert Kennedy Jr. and Kathleen Kennedy Townsend both remember their father’s death which at this time is said to have been at the hands of a Palestinian immigrant named Sirhan Sirhan, now 74, who has served nearly 50 years behind bars.

Questions linger because 13 shots were heard on the audio tape, and Sirhan’s gun only held eight shots. Paul Schrade, a friend of RFK, who was also shot in the incident shared his findings with the Washington Post and RFK Jr.

But Robert F. Kennedy Jr. says that it’s simply impossible that Sirhan fired that many shots out of an 8 shot pistol, and he decided he needed to meet with the man who has been behind bars for his father’s murder.

“I went there because I was curious and disturbed by what I had seen in the evidence. I was disturbed that the wrong person might have been convicted of killing my father. My father was the chief law enforcement officer in this country. I think it would have disturbed him if somebody was put in jail for a crime they didn’t commit.”

In addition to Kennedy and Schrade, four other people were wounded in the shooting that killed RFK. Schrade insists that Sirhan was not the one who shot RFK, and so as the 50th anniversary of his death arrives, his namesake is now seeking answers through his own investigation.