Parole Denied Again for Convict in 1976 School Bus Hijacking

20 Nov 2015 | Author: | No comments yet »

Chowchilla Bus Kidnapper Seeking Release From Prison.

SACRAMENTO, Calif. (AP) — The last of three men convicted of hijacking a school bus full of California schoolchildren is seeking release Thursday after nearly four decades in prison.

The three young men from wealthy San Francisco Bay Area families were given life terms after hijacking a bus carrying 26 children and their school bus driver near the small Central Valley town of Chowchilla in 1976. Alameda County Deputy District Attorney Jill Klinge said the board denied parole for 64-year-old Frederick Woods for the 14th time because of his continued criminal thinking, which she said was demonstrated by his disciplinary infractions at the California Men’s Colony in San Luis Obispo. I think they need to be watched eternally, the rest of their lives,” victim Lynda Carrejo Labendeira, who was 10 at the time, said in a telephone interview days before the hearing. James Schoenfeld told commissioners at his April parole hearing that he was mired in debt and envious of friends in their neighborhood who had “his and hers Ferraris.” But Woods said he didn’t need the money. The Schoenfeld brothers and Woods were in their early to mid 20s when they ambushed a busload of schoolchildren from Dairyland Union School in Chowchilla, a small farm community about 35 miles northwest of Fresno in Madera County, on July 15, 1976, according to prosecutors.

The men left the bus camouflaged in a creek bed and drove the children and bus driver Ed Ray about 100 miles to the California Rock and Gravel Quarry in Livermore in Alameda County. The kidnappers, all from wealthy families in the Peninsula communities of Atherton and Portola Valley, then demanded a $5 million ransom for the schoolchildren and Ray. The hostages escaped from the buried van a little more than a day after they were first kidnapped when Ray and the two oldest children piled mattresses to the top of the van and forced their way out.

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