Top of page

Exhibition Drawing Justice: The Art of Courtroom Illustration

Arnold Mesches. Sirhan Enters Courtroom, 1968. Graphite on gray paper. Prints and Photographs Division, Library of Congress (020.00.00)
Gift of William H. Payne

Robert F. Kennedy's Assassin

Following his speech the night of his win in the California Democratic presidential primary, Senator Robert F. Kennedy walked through the kitchen of the Ambassador Hotel shortly after midnight on June 5, 1968, where Sirhan Sirhan shot him. Although the impact of Sirhan's act cast a large shadow, Arnold Mesches captured his likeness as a slight man entering the courtroom. Despite evidence of psychiatric illness, Sirhan was tried and sentenced to death. Changes in California sentencing have left him serving a life sentence: People v. Sirhan, 497 P.2d 1121 (1972). After parole was denied for the fifteenth time in 2016, he remains in the Richard J. Donovan Correctional Facility in San Diego County, California.