Trials: Sirhan through the Looking Glass
Key Excerpts from Article on Website of Time magazine
Posted: May 3rd, 2010
A mirror. Two flickering candles. And Sirhan Sirhan. Focusing his mind power on the looking glass, Sirhan soon convinced himself that he could order an inanimate object to move. He rigged a pendulum from a fisherman's weight, and on command, he said, it began to sway. Yet telekinesisthe ability to cause objects at a distance to move through the exercise of willwas a frightening power, and Sirhan feared that he might lose his mind. The candles swayed and changed color. Sirhan insisted that it was no trick of imagination, reported Dr. Bernard L. Diamond. The noted psychoanalyst, who combines professorships in law, psychiatry and criminology at the University of California at Berkeley, was the star witness for Sirhan's defense. His testimony buttressed the diagnoses of five other experts that Sirhan was afflicted with paranoia and schizophrenia. Sirhan professes that he has no recollection of shooting Kennedy. Prosecutor David Fitts peppered the diminutive professor with hostile questions, but he could not blunt the thrust of Diamond's testimony about murder in a trance. After two more psychologists declared that Sirhan suffers from grave mental disorders, avuncular Attorney Grant Cooper rested for the defense. The prosecution faces an uphill struggle to refute contentions that Sirhan was either insane or suffering from diminished mental responsibility.
Note: This article confirms that Sirhan was not mentally competent at the time Robert F. Kennedy was assassinated, but it suggests that Sirhan's "trance state" was self-induced. Other sources, however, have argued that he was a victim of mind control; click here for more information on this possibility.