Gov. Jerry Brown has decided against challenging the parole of one of three men convicted in the kidnapping of 26 Chowchilla children and their school bus driver nearly 40 years ago.
The decision was announced Thursday by Brown’s office. The governor had until midnight to decide whether to send the case of 63-year-old James Schoenfeld back to the board that recommended his release for review.
Deputy Press Secretary Deborah Hoffman noted that, unlike the cases of lifers convicted of murder, Brown lacks the authority to reverse or modify Parole Board decisions for lifers convicted in nonmurder cases.
The hostages were taken from Chowchilla to a quarry near Livermore and held captive inside a buried, ventilated trailer stocked with mattresses, food and water. They eventually managed to dig their way out and escaped unhurt.
Schoenfeld, his brother, Richard, and friend Fred Woods were convicted of kidnapping the children ranging in age from 5 to 14.
Richard Schoenfeld was paroled in 2012. Woods could have a parole hearing this fall.