Son of politician released after Schwarzenegger pardon

SACRAMENTO (KUSI) — The son of former California state Assembly Speaker Fabian Nunez was released from prison Sunday, seven years after his sentencing.

According to the Associated Press, in October 2008 Esteban Nunez, then 16, killed Luis Santos in San Diego during a confrontation after Nunez and his friends were turned away from a party near the San Diego State University campus. Santos was a student at Mesa College at the time of his death.

Esteban Nunez was charged with manslaughter and was sentenced to 16 years in prison in 2010.

During this time, Arnold Schwarzenegger was nearing the end of his term as California’s governor.

According to AP, Schwarzenegger was an acquaintance of Fabian Nunez and on his last day in office in 2011, Schwarzenegger commuted half the manslaughter sentence for Esteban to seven years. 

AP reported Schwarzenegger refused to comment, but he did say he thought the 16-year sentence was "excessive," but he did acknowledge he was helping a friend. 

Frederico and Kathy Santos, Luis’ parents, along with San Diego County District Attorney Bonnie Dumanis sued, but they failed to get the shortened sentence overturned.

"Two politicians were basically able to get one of their sons off the hook for murder? How is that even allowed?" Kathy Santos said in an interview with AP Friday.

According to AP, the 3rd District Court of Appeal in Sacramento upheld Schwarzenegger’s decision last year, even as justices said the sentence reduction could be seen as "reprehensible" and "unjust." 

The state Supreme Court has not yet said if it will consider an appeal of that ruling.

Esteban, now 27, will be paroled within a week of his release, according to California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation spokesman, Luis Patino. 

Categories: Local San Diego News