After serving over 35 years of his prison sentence, one of the three people convicted of kidnapping a bus full of schoolchildren from California, will be released. The Department of Corrections in California announced on Friday that it was releasing Richard Schoenfeld in late June at a location that is still undetermined.
The announcement came following an appeals court ruling earlier that ordered the immediate release of Schoenfeld, ruling the Board of Parole Hearings had set his date of release unfairly for 2021, even though the board had concluded he no longer was a threat to society.
Nevertheless, Schoenfeld has been behind bars while the Department of Corrections appealed to the Supreme Court in California. The high court on Thursday notified the Corrections Department that it refused to hear the case. In a prepared statement, the Department of Corrections said it did not have any other option legally expect to release Schoenfeld.
Schoenfeld’s other two co-defendants his brother James and Fred Woods their friend both have hearings before the parole board later in 2012.
The Schoenfeld’s grew up the sons of a podiatrist in Atherton a suburb of San Francisco along with their family friend Fred Woods. The three hatched their plan to kidnap for ransom in 1976 after a real estate deal went sour and they became mired in debt. The three planned the kidnapping for over a year and a half.
The three bungled the kidnapping by taking a nap and allowing the bus driver and children to escape unnoticed. The bus driver, Ed Ray, became famous for saving the children. This past May he died at the age of 91.