SAN LUIS OBISPO, Calif. — On Thursday, the last of three convicted kidnappers who was involved in the notorious Chowchilla school bus kidnapping nearly 40 years ago was denied parole again, the Associated Press reports.
A state Board of Parole Hearings panel denied parole to Frederick Woods for the 14th time, according to The Daily Journal. Alameda County Deputy District Attorney Jill Klinge told the newspaper that the board rejected Woods’ request because of his continued criminal thinking, which she said was demonstrated by his disciplinary infractions at the California Men’s Colony prison in San Luis Obispo. (Woods received three infractions for possession of pornography in 2002 and 2003, and two infractions for possessing contraband phones in 2013 and 2014, Klinge told The Daily Journal.)
Madera County District Attorney David Linn told the Associated Press that several victims of the kidnapping spoke against granting Woods parole at the hearing, though several other victims testified that, after 39 years in prison, he should be released. Parole for Woods was backed by prominent supporters such as state Rep. Anna Eshoo of Palo Alto, the news source reports.
Woods, along with brothers Richard Schoenfeld, hijacked a school bus in Chowchilla and imprisoned the 26 children and bus driver aboard in a buried moving van on July 15, 1976. The three planned to demand a $5 million ransom from the state board of education. However, after 16 hours, the bus driver, Ed Ray, and some of the students were able to break through a covered opening in the van's ceiling and get everyone to safety.
Woods will be able to seek parole again in three years.