WBSM TV: Fifty Years Later, Who Killed Robert F. Kennedy?
Tuesday marks the 50th anniversary of the assassination of Robert F. Kennedy, and even a half-century later, there is still suspicion of a conspiracy surrounding his murder.
Just last week, the Boston Globe published a story about Robert F. Kennedy, Jr. and his sister Kathleen Kennedy Townsend are looking for a new investigation into their father's killing. RFK Jr. recently met with the man convicted of the assassination, Sirhan Sirhan, and came away feeling that someone else had murdered his father.
When we first started WBSM's Spooky Southcoast program in 2006, I wanted to make sure conspiracies were a big part of the topic list. I had always been interested in the real story behind the killings of such notable figures as John F. Kennedy, RFK, Martin Luther King and others. That interest was only increased when I started attending UMass Dartmouth in 1996, and had the chance to take a course called "Political Assassinations in America," taught by the legendary Dr. Philip Melanson.
The late Dr. Melanson was extremely passionate about his belief in a conspiracy in the assassination of RFK. A prolific author, he has a written a number of books on the topic. But unlike some professors, Dr. Melanson didn't force his students to only buy his books for the course, and only buy into his theories. He encouraged us to read other authors, such as Jim Marrs, who I am honored to say became a friend and frequent Spooky Southcoast guest before his passing last year.
One of the books Dr. Melanson had us read was The Killing of Robert F. Kennedy: An Investigative of Motive, Means and Opportunity, by investigative author Dan E. Moldea. Melanson was one of the people directly responsible for Moldea researching the RFK assassination, and like Melanson, Moldea entered into the investigation believing there was a second gunman in the kitchen pantry of the Ambassador Hotel that night, and that Sirhan Sirhan probably was not the assassin.
With the 50th anniversary of the assassination upon us--and remarkably, having never covered the RFK case on Spooky Southcoast--I decided last week to reach out to Judy Farrar, the archivist for the Robert F. Kennedy archive at UMass Dartmouth. Not many know that the RFK collection is housed at UMD, inside the Claire T. Carney Library, but I figured that was a good place to start to see if someone local could come on to discuss the assassination.
Farrar got back to me and confirmed my suspicion that nobody had taken up the mantle of teaching the assassination course following Dr. Melanson's 2006 passing after a battle with cancer. She did, however, tell me that the RFK archive is in the process of being digitized, and she provided me with a link in which I could hear my mentor talking about the RFK assassination once again.
However, I still needed to find a guest. So I decided to shoot right for the top.
I hoped that one more time, just as I had been lucky enough that my connection with Dr. Melanson was enough for a legend like Jim Marrs to agree to come on the show, that I could also convince Dan Moldea to do to same.
Moldea graciously accepted, and it was a fantastic discussion that I think ranks up as one of our top episodes out of the nearly 550 shows we've done (you can watch the entire video at the top of this post).
Moldea discussed how he did enter into the research thinking there was a second gunman, and even had a suspect pegged in security guard Thane Eugene Cesar, and sold the book proposal based on the idea of a conspiracy and Sirhan Sirhan's wrongful conviction.
He told us, though, that his research led him to think exactly the opposite. He also discussed the issue he has with RFK, Jr. and close family friend Paul Schrade, one of the five other people struck by a bullet that fateful night in 1968, and their insistence that there was a conspiracy and that Sirhan Sirhan is innocent of RFK's murder.
I was never able to get Dr. Melanson on Spooky Southcoast, but I know had he not passed away just months after we started the program, he would have been a good friend and frequent contributor to the program.
But I'd like to think that through conversations with people like Marrs and Moldea, he's still giving us a bit of a guiding hand in seeking out the truth.