SACRAMENTO -- Gov. Jerry Brown has allowed parole for James Schoenfeld, one of three men convicted in the 1976 kidnapping of 26 children and their school bus driver, who were held captive in a buried trailer.
Brown had until midnight Thursday to decide whether to approve parole for Schoenfeld, now 63, or send the case back to the board that recommended his release. The governor chose not to act, which allowed the parole board's decision to stand.
Schoenfeld, his brother, Richard, and a friend, Fred Woods — all from wealthy Bay Area families — were convicted in 1976.
The men spent 18 months devising the plot and planned to ask for a $5 million ransom for the children, who ranged in age from 5 to 14.
The hostages were taken from Chowchilla to a quarry near Livermore and for 16 hours were kept inside the ventilated trailer, stocked with mattresses, food and water. (See Los Angeles Times photo gallery on the kidnapping and aftermath.)