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HomeWire ReportsMastermind of Chowchilla School Bus Kidnapping Paroled from Prison

Mastermind of Chowchilla School Bus Kidnapping Paroled from Prison

As reported by CBS News, Frederick Woods was granted parole this week after serving 45 years in prison for his role in kidnapping a California school bus full of students and holding them along with their driver for a ransom of $5 million, which today would be worth over $25 million.

At the time, the prosecutor called the crime the largest in U.S. mass kidnapping in U.S. history.

A California parole board recommended Woods, 70, be released in March. He was denied parole 17 previous times. Fellow convicted kidnappers James and Richard Schoenfeld were paroled in 2012 and 2015, respectively.

Gov. Gavin Newsom objected to Woods’ release. But because it was not a murder case, Newsom could not block his parole, though he asked the board to reconsider.

Adding a twist to the case, Judge William Newsom, the governor’s father, served on an appellate panel that reduced the sentence of Woods and brothers James and Richard Schoenfeld from life in prison to the possibility of parole. William Newsom also pushed for the release of all three men upon retiring from the bench in 2011, citing that no one was seriously injured during the kidnapping.


Related: California Students Research, Retrace 1976 Chowchilla School Bus Kidnapping
Related: Chowchilla Kidnappers on Life After Prison
Related: D.A. Investigating Whether Chowchilla Victims Were Paid to Support Kidnappers
Related: Heroic Chowchilla School Bus Driver, Ed Ray, Remembered

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