A woman who has made startling claims on the number of shots fired the night Senator Bobby Kennedy was assassinated will be appearing on the CBS newsmagazine show 'Inside Edition' this month.
Nina Rhodes-Hughes told Digital Journal she'll be going from her home in Canada to Los Angeles to sit down and tape an 'Inside Edition' segment on May 21. The actor, stage director and former activist for the Democratic Party, claims there were "12 to 14" shots fired on the night Kennedy was shot in the Ambassador Hotel June 5, 1968. She says only now is anyone paying attention to her story.
Motion for retrial of Sirhan Sirhan
The official version of Kennedy's shooting has it that Sirhan Sirhan was the only shooter and only 8 shots were fired, the maximum amount of bullets Sirhan's gun took; he was tackled immediately and had no time to reload. Three bullets hit Kennedy, each of the other five hitting another person (the other five victims all survived).
However in February, Sirhan's lawyer, William F. Pepper, filed a motion for a retrial, claiming there was a second shooter and that more than 8 shots were fired. He also says his client, now 68 and serving a life sentence in Pleasant Valley State Prison in California, is the victim of a "horrendous violation" of his rights. Pepper claims to have the name of a second shooter but says it will only be revealed should a retrial be granted.
Upon learning of the motion for a retrial, CNN's Brad Johnson, who's written about Sirhan before, including recently when Sirhan was denied bail a 14th time, managed to contact Rhodes-Hughes. Johnson had found her name in records and, after talking to her in March, wrote a story featuring her account. Since that story was published, Rhodes-Hughes has been inundated with media requests, giving "30 to 40" interviews, including one on April 30th which was live on-air on Skype with Johnson's CNN colleague, Soledad O'Brien. She's also spoken with the Huffington Post, Vanity Fair, the Ottawa Citizen, media overseas and other media.
Bobby Kennedy shot in Ambassador Hotel
When Kennedy was shot, Rhodes-Hughes was some 7 feet away following him and his wife Ethel, trying to get them to go to a press room. She'd been a volunteer with the Democratic Party and that night says that the late- Pierre Salinger, Kennedy's campaign manager, had enlisted her to direct Kennedy when he came off-stage. He had been, however, ushered by others in another direction, through the kitchen, and she followed to try and get them to turn about and make their way to the press room.
“I do not have any contention that Sirhan Sirhan fired shots, that’s not being contested,” she said on Monday, May 14. “But I believe, because I was there and I have the rhythm of those shots in my head, that there were other shots coming from the other side of Kennedy, from another shooter.”
She was spoken to by the FBI about one month after the shooting, she says, and told them about the number of shots she heard. However, their report of her interview, which she did not see until the early 90's, said she heard but 8 shots; along with that inconsistency between what she said and their report said, she says there were 13 other inconsistencies. She let it be known at the time that she wanted to testify at Sirhan's trial but was never called to the stand.
Inside Edition: story on Rhodes-Hughes account
The 78-year-old Rhodes-Hughes moved to Canada in the late-80's and continued acting in TV shows and hosted her own interview show for 6 years. She remains active in theater and directs plays where she now lives on Bowen Island, off the coast of West Vancouver.
Inside Edition is a long-running newsmagazine show on CBS that covers topical events in a half-hour format. It has been hosted by Deborah Norville since 1995.