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Robert F. Kennedy was assassinated in 1968. He was the brother of President John F. Kennedy. John F. Kennedy was assassinated in 1963 while he was president of the USA. Robert Kennedy was running for president when he was killed. He had just won an important vote in California on the night he was killed. He gave a speech at a hotel in Los Angeles celebrating his victory and was killed as he was walking through the kitchen of the hotel. His killer is called Sirhan Sirhan. He shot Kennedy three times and injured five other people in the shooting. He has been in prison since the assassination and was originally sentenced to death. His death sentence was later changed to life in prison. Over the years, he has been denied parole 15 times but has now been approved for parole on his 16th try. Two of Robert Kennedy’s children support Sirhan’s release.

However, since Sirhan’s parole was approved, six of Robert Kennedy’s children have opposed the decision. The six who oppose the decision released a statement after the announcement. They said that they were devastated by the decision to give Sirhan parole and that it had caused them great pain. They announced their decision to fight the release at every stage of the process. They also asked people who loved their father to stand with them in opposing the decision. Although the Kennedy children are publicly split on the decision to release Sirhan Sirhan, there has been no announcement about what Ethel Kennedy, Robert’s wife, thinks about the situation.

The parole hearing is just the first step for Sirhan Sirhan to be released. The decision will be looked at for 90 days by the California parole board which has the power to deny the possible release. Finally, if the California parole board approves the release, it will then go to the Governor of California. The Governor of California has the power to approve, change or deny the parole. The fight for and against Sirhan Sirhan’s release will now take place in public as six of the Kennedy children fight his release.

Difficult Words

Assassinate (v): To kill someone for political or religious reasons.

Sentence (v/n): To give someone a punishment for wrongdoing.

Parole (n): Released from prison with the promise of good behaviour.

Oppose (v): To disagree with something.

Devastate (v): To cause someone overwhelming shock or grief.

Hearing (n): An opportunity to state one’s case.

Activities

For listening practice, listen to the recorded article here:

American English Audio: Coming Soon!

Match the Synonym!

 1. Assassinate A. Sadden
 2. Sentence B. Disagree
 3. Parole C. Punishment
 4. Oppose D. Prison release.
 5. Devastate E. Kill

True or False?

1. Both Robert and John F. Kennedy were assassinated. T / F

2. John F. Kennedy was running for president when he was assassinated. T / F

3. Robert Kennedy was killed in his home. T / F

4. Sirhan was originally given a death sentence. T / F

5. Six of Kennedy’s children support Sirhan’s release. T / F

Unscramble the sentence!

1. he / John F. Kennedy / of / assassinated / the USA / president / while / in 1963 / was / was

2. vote / had / He / California / just / in / important / an / won

3. at / hotel / a / gave / speech / Los Angeles / in / He / a

4. said / devastated / were / They / they / that

5. step / is / The / first / hearing / the / just / parole

Listening and Vocabulary

Listen to the article and fill in the words OR practice vocabulary and fill in the words.

American English Audio: Coming Soon!

SplitOpposeRunning
DenyOriginallyAgainst

Robert F. Kennedy was assassinated in 1968. He was the brother of President John F. Kennedy. John F. Kennedy was assassinated in 1963 while he was president of the USA. Robert Kennedy was (1)___________ for president when he was killed. He had just won an important vote in California on the night he was killed. He gave a speech at a hotel in Los Angeles celebrating his victory and was killed as he was walking through the kitchen of the hotel. His killer is called Sirhan Sirhan. He shot Kennedy three times and injured five other people in the shooting. He has been in prison since the assassination and was (2)_____________ sentenced to death. His death sentence was later changed to life in prison. Over the years, he has been denied parole 15 times but has now been approved for parole on his 16th try. Two of Robert Kennedy’s children support Sirhan’s release.

However, since Sirhan’s parole was approved, six of Robert Kennedy’s children have opposed the decision. The six who (3)__________ the decision released a statement after the announcement. They said that they were devastated by the decision to give Sirhan parole and that it had caused them great pain. They announced their decision to fight the release at every stage of the process. They also asked people who loved their father to stand with them in opposing the decision. Although the Kennedy children are publicly (4)________ on the decision to release Sirhan Sirhan, there has been no announcement about what Ethel Kennedy, Robert’s wife, thinks about the situation.

The parole hearing is just the first step for Sirhan Sirhan to be released. The decision will be looked at for 90 days by the California parole board which has the power to (5)________ the possible release. Finally, if the California parole board approves the release, it will then go to the Governor of California. The Governor of California has the power to approve, change or deny the parole. The fight for and (6)________ Sirhan Sirhan’s release will now take place in public as six of the Kennedy children fight his release.

Conversation Questions

Take turns speaking with a partner or try to answer on your own:

1. Did you find this article interesting? Why or why not?
2. Did you learn anything new from this article? If so, what?
3. What do you think of this story?
4. Did you know about Robert F. Kennedy before reading this story?
5. Did you know about John F. Kennedy before reading this story?
6. Do you think Sirhan Sirhan should be released?
7. Does your country have the death penalty?
8. What is the longest a person should go to prison?
9. Was Sirhan Sirhan’s crime worse because of who he killed?
10. Have there been any assassinations in your country?
11. Why do you think there were so many assassinations in the US in the 1960s?
12. Do you think the California parole board or California governor will stop the release of Sirhan?
13. Is there a lot of crime in your country?
14. How is crime handled in your county? Is it common for criminals to go to prison?
15. Are there any crimes that you think should require life imprisonment?
16. Are there any crimes that you think a person should not go to prison for?
17. What should a criminal do to be released from prison early?
18. Do you think criminals are treated worse if their crime is famous?
19. Is there anyone who you think would have made the world a better place if they didn’t die young?
20. Were the Kennedy assassinations big news in your country?