Son of former California politician released from prison early

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The son of a once-powerful California politician is a free man. Esteban Nunez was released from prison after serving less than half of his original sentence. (KGO-TV)

The son of a once-powerful California politician is a free man. Esteban Nunez was released from prison after serving less than half of his original sentence in the stabbing death of a college student.

At least once a week, Fred and Kathy Santos visit the Lafayette grave of their son, Luis. On Sunday night, one of the men convicted in his death, Esteban Nunez, was released from prison.

"While Esteban is probably out celebrating with his family tonight, this is where we come to be with our family," Kathy said.

Nunez' prison sentence was cut in half thanks to former Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger. He commuted the sentence as the last act of his term, something he says was to help a political ally - former State Assembly Speaker Fabian Nunez, Esteban's father.

Schwarzenegger has since been hounded for this decision. "I think a lot of people want to know, why did you reduce the sentence for Estean Nunez?" KCAL TV asked.

Schwarzenegger snored in a 2011 interview.

"He doesn't have much regard for people. I think he's very egocentric and self-centered," Kathy said.

"He has a cavalier attitude that normal folks really don't mean anything to him," Fred said.

Nunez plead guilty to manslaughter in the violent stabbing death of Luis Santos and was sentenced to 16 years in prison.

According to prosecutors, Nunez and three others pounced on Santos and his friends.

Santos would have turned 30 this summer, something his parents miss as they see his friends start their own families.

"I cried for an entire day before one of his friends got married," Kathy said. "He would have been a wonderful father," Fred added.

Nunez was released early thanks to Schwarzenegger's commutation. The Nunez family declined an interview.

Instead, they issued a statement reading in part, "Our son has paid his debt to society," and asked for privacy.

Because of this case, a new law was passed that required any sitting governor to give a 10-day notice to district attorneys if they're considering a pardon. The hope is that families will not be caught off guard and prosecutors can offer council before a governor issues an order.
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newsarnold schwarzeneggercrimestabbingmanslaughterprisonmurderattackLafayette
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