70-Year-Old Who Kidnapped A Bus Full Of Children Has Been Approved For Parole.

According to California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation (CDCR) spokesperson Joe Orlando, a 70-year-old man who was imprisoned for the 1976 abduction of a bus load of children has been authorised for parole. 

Frederick Newhall Woods, 70, was one of three men who abducted 26 children and their bus driver more than 45 years ago in Chowchilla, a tiny town in Northern California’s Madera County. 

All 27 victims were transported to Livermore, more than 100 miles away, and buried alive in a quarry owned by Woods’ father. The criminals then sought a $5 million ransom from the victims while they were underground, in what was the greatest mass kidnapping in US history, a strategy presumably influenced by a plot aspect in the film “Dirty Harry.”

 The driver and the kids dug themselves out after 16 hours below and fled while the captors were sleeping. 

Woods and his co-conspirators, Richard and James Schoenfeld, pled guilty to abduction and were each given 27 life sentences with no chance of release. An appeals court, however, reversed the sentence and declared that they should be eligible for parole. 

Richard Schoenfeld was freed on parole in 2012, and James Schoenfeld in 2015. Woods is the last of the three people still incarcerated. Woods had his 18th parole hearing on Friday at California Men’s Colony, a state prison in San Luis Obispo. According to jail records, he initially became eligible for release in 1982. 

The hearing panel’s suggested parole decision will become final within 120 days. The governor has 30 days after the parole decision becomes final to reconsider it. He has the option of allowing the judgement to stand or referring it to the whole board for reconsideration. The governor has the authority to overturn parole choices only if the offender was convicted of murder, which Woods was not. 

A few survivors of the kidnapping, presently grown-ups, expressed in 2015 that they still experienced anxiety and nightmares over the ordeal. Darla Neal, then 10, stated her “severe anxiety” made it hard for her to live properly. 

She explained that she was so overwhelmed that she had to quit work. She had to tell herself that she ought to have the option to shake this off and go on. But here she still feels a wreck. 

What are your opinions on his parole?

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