California's parole board on Tuesday upheld an earlier decision that deemed Richard Schoenfeld, one of three men responsible for kidnapping 26 children and their school bus driver in Chowchilla in 1976, suitable for parole.
As SBF previously reported, a rally was held in San Francisco in February in support of the release of Schoenfeld and the other two men.
Schoenfeld would not be scheduled for release until 2021. Also, his parole still must be reviewed by the governor, according to a spokesman for the parole board, the Los Angeles Times reports. In addition, any sitting governor between now and 2021 could ask the board to reconsider its decision.
Schoenfeld, his brother Richard and Fred Woods commandeered an Alview-Dairyland Union School District bus carrying students ranging from ages 5 to 14 and a bus driver. They then made the children and driver climb into a moving van buried in a quarry, intending to ransom them. However, the children and driver escaped.
At the mens' sentencing, Prosecutor David Minier convinced Superior Court Judge Leo Deegan that the nosebleeds, upset stomach and fainting suffered by three of the girls constituted injury, which warranted life in prison with no parole. However, an appeals court in 1980 found that there was not bodily harm, making the men eligible for parole.
Schoenfeld was found "suitable for parole" by a two-person parole board in 2010, but that decision was later rescinded. The parole board met Tuesday to reconsider the decision to rescind.
The other two kidnappers have not yet been found suitable for parole.