Nation: The Man Who Loved Kennedy

The opening defense gambit in Sir-ban Bishara Sirhan's murder trial was a variant of the tactics often used by those accused of "crimes of passion." But instead of claiming that "everything went black" at the moment of the crime, Sirhan's attorneys contended last week that the defendant was "in a trance" when he fired the shots that killed Senator Robert Kennedy in Los Angeles' Ambassador Hotel.

In his opening statement for the defense, Attorney Emile Zola Berman described Sirhan, 24, as an "immature, emotionally disturbed and mentally ill youth." Sirhan's behavior in court sometimes seemed to bear him out. He smirked, grinned...