BOSTON (CBS/AP) – Former Massachusetts Congressman Joe Kennedy II says a parole board in California “made a grievous error” last week when it recommended the release of Sirhan Sirhan, the man who killed his father, Senator Robert F. Kennedy.

Sirhan, who is now 77 years old, shot and killed Kennedy on June 6, 1968, at the Ambassador Hotel in Los Angeles moments after delivering a victory speech in the California presidential primary.

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Sirhan had been up for parole 15 times and was denied each time until Friday’s 16th hearing where two of RFK’s sons spoke in favor of Sirhan’s release. Six of his other children opposed it. Prosecutors also declined to argue Sirhan should be kept behind bars.

Sirhan told members of the California Parole Board that he had learned to control his anger and was committed to living peacefully.

Sirhan Sirhan in August 2021. (Photo credit: California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation.)

“I understand that there are differing views about ending the sentence of this killer, including within my own family. But emotions and opinions do not change facts or history,” Joe Kennedy II said in a statement released Sunday, never mentioning Sirhan by name.

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“The prisoner killed my father because of his support of Israel. The man was tried, convicted and sentenced to death. Yet he now may walk free, no doubt to the cheers of those who share his views. Let there be no mistake, the prisoner’s release will be celebrated by those who believe that political disagreements can be solved by a gun.”

Kennedy added, “The murderer of anyone who runs for or holds public office because of his political stance must know that he will at a minimum spend life in prison without parole.”

The ruling by the two-person panel will be reviewed over the next 90 days by the California Parole Board’s staff. Then it will be sent to the governor, who will have 30 days to decide whether to grant it, reverse it or modify it.

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(© Copyright 2021 CBS Broadcasting Inc. All Rights Reserved. The Associated Press contributed to this report.)