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Father 'outraged' Schwarzenegger reduced sentence of politician's son in murder case

January 3, 2011 |  5:17 am

http://latimesblogs.latimes.com/.a/6a00d8341c630a53ef0133f1d44e99970b-800wi

Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger's decision to reduced the prison sentence of the son of former Assembly Speaker Fabian Nuñez, who had pleaded guilty to participating in the killing of a college student, has been harshly criticized by the victim's family.

 "We are totally outraged," said Fred Santos, father of Luis Santos, told The Times' Evan Halper and Tony Perry. "For the governor to wait until the last day in hopes it would fly under the radar is an absolute injustice."

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Santos, a software engineer in Concord in Northern California, said Esteban Nuñez "had already gotten lucky once" when prosecutors accepted a plea bargain that allowed him to avoid standing trial on murder charges, which could have led to a life sentence. "The governor did not even have the courtesy to notify the victim's family," he said. "This is dirty politics: cutting backroom deals. I guess if you're the son of somebody important, you can kill someone and get all sorts of breaks."

Esteban Nuñez, now 21, was sentenced to 16 years in prison for his role in the stabbing death of Luis Santos. Schwarzenegger cut the prison term to seven years, noting in a statement that Nuñez, although involved in the fight that ended in Santos' death, did not inflict the fatal knife wound. Schwarzenegger cited a finding by the court that it was Esteban Nuñez's friend Ryan Jett who stabbed Santos, "severing his heart."

"I do not discount the gravity of the offense," the governor's statement said.
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Photo: Esteban Nunez in court. Credit: Los Angeles Times.
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