Convicted Chowchilla bus kidnapper's release contested

FRESNO, Calif.

The California Attorney General is contesting Richard Schoenfeld's release. He's been in prison since 1978, but just last month it was determined he should be allowed out of prison.

Convicted kidnapper Richard Schoenfeld sits in a San Luis Obispo prison waiting for a decision.

He's been denied parole more than 20 times, then told he could be out in 9 years, then told he could be out immediately.

But all of those options are pending a California Supreme Court decision.

Larry Park remembers every detail of that day in 1976 - the day when 3 men took over his school bus and buried he, his classmates and his bus driver alive.

"We were under 4 feet of dirt and the weight of the dirt was collapsing the roof of the moving van so you could hear the seams giving way and the dirt was falling through the seams in the cracks," Park said.

Since then Larry has been diagnosed with post traumatic stress disorder and paranoid schizophrenia. Unlike many of the other victims who each lived to talk about that day, he's calling for the kidnapper's release.

"I'm finding a little bit of closure with the possibility of him being released. It's as if a part of my life is ending," Park said.

Emotions aside, and 35 years later, an old case is facing modern laws. One of the three convicted, 57-year-old Richard Schoenfeld, is in the middle of it.

"Did the Board of Parole Hearings properly calculate Mr. Schoenfeld's release date?" Madera County District Attorney Michael Keitz said.

The attorney general filed a petition asking the Supreme Court to review whether the law back in 1977 was recently misconstrued.

"It's such an old case and it was such a horrific crime and there's 3 people who stand to spend more time in custody because of that older sentencing law," Keitz said.

Madera County's District Attorney says if the same crime happened today offenders would get life without the possibility of parole, which was Richard Schoenfeld's original sentence.

But while attorneys battle over the case in the high court, Larry Park struggles with his own battle.

"All I have left is to forgive him," Park said.

The California Supreme Court has up to three months to respond. They could also decide not to review the case. At that point, Schoenfeld could be released.

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