The California Board of Parole Hearings Tuesday granted parole to a man convicted with two others of burying over two dozen children and their bus driver for $5 million desired ransom in 1976, according to The Associated Press.
Frederick Woods, 70, and the already-released Richard and James Schoenfeld hijacked a school bus full of San Francisco Bay Area children and their driver, burying them in a poorly ventilated moving van, the outlet reported. The hostages spent 16 hours underground before digging their way out and escaping, according to CNN.
Woods’ lawyer Dominique Banos reportedly said he “poses no danger or threat to the community” after showing “a change in character for the good.” (RELATED: Pennsylvania Dem Senate Candidate Sought To Empty Prisons While In Power, Records Show)
Democratic California Gov. Gavin Newsom had called for the board to reexamine the choice to parole Woods after two of its members recommended his release in March, according to the AP. He claimed Woods used a contraband cellphone in jail to advise multiple businesses, accusing him of continuing “financial related-misconduct in prison,” the outlet reported.
Woods reportedly said in his March parole hearing he “didn’t need the money” when he and the Schoenfeld brothers kidnapped the children for ransom. Madera County District Attorney Sally Moreno stood against his parole, contending the 70-year-old “continues to demonstrate that he is about the money,” according to the AP.
“We have taken all the steps we can take to stop the release of Fred Woods,” Moreno told the Daily Caller News Foundation. “We requested that the governor have the entire set of parole hearing officers review the decision when they initially granted him parole on March 25th. At that hearing the entire board, many of whom were appointed by Newsom, decided to release Woods.”
An appeals court overturned an earlier decision to deny all three kidnappers any parole chance, according to CNN. They had all previously been sentenced to seven years to life imprisonment 27 times over, the network reported.
Newsom’s press office declined to comment on the board’s decision. Banos did not immediately respond to the DCNF’s request for comment.
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