If the list “Best California Governors” is ever created, our current one has a better shot at making the cut than Arnold Schwarzenegger.

Schwarzenegger began his time in office with record high approval ratings (89% in December 2003), he left office with a record low 23% in 2011, only one percent higher than that of Gray Davis’s when he was recalled. The reasons for the plummeting approval are many, but ultimately stem from selling himself as a conservative but abandoning these principles after important citizen-backed control measures were defeated because of union shenanigans.

Californians might have forgiven him for bad politics, but one of his final acts as Governor was utterly disgraceful and unforgivable.

The son of a former California state Assembly speaker has been freed from prison after his manslaughter sentence was dramatically reduced in 2011 by then-Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger, prison officials said Sunday.

The California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation said Esteban Nuñez, now 27, will live in Sacramento County on parole supervision for three years.

Nuñez entered prison in June 2010 to serve a 16-year sentence in the stabbing death of college student Luis Santos in San Diego.
n his last day in office in 2011, Schwarzenegger commuted the sentence to seven years. Nuñez is the son of Fabian Nuñez, who was speaker of the state Assembly and a political ally while Schwarzenegger was governor.

Prosecutors in the case asserted that a group of four men, which included Nuñez went “looking for a fight” after they were kicked out of a fraternity party. Bruce Henderson, the father of another of young man attacked by the Nunez gang, explains what happened next:

…Upset at being barred entry to a fraternity party, they went to the apartment of one of their cousins, where they downed spiced rum and beers. “Faggot frat guys. Let’s go burn down their house.” They talked of beating up people, even killing someone. They had brought along knives.

Luis called his friends and said he and Brandon were about to get jumped. Evan, Keith, and Jason ran that way, and came upon a fleeing Luis. Four figures came from the opposite direction. As the two groups passed, Luis was dropped by a blow to the chest.

When Evan went to Luis’ aid he was pushed from behind. Not knowing he had been stabbed in the back, he spun around, and took a blow to the stomach.

When it was over, Keith had been stabbed in the shoulder, and Brandon had a fractured eye socket and orbital wall. Finally realizing he had been stabbed, Evan sat on the curb, took out his cellphone and dialed 911.

Luis, whose heart was severed by the blade, had collapsed under a large shrub.

Hours after returning to Sacramento later that day, the assailants learned on the Internet that someone had died. Esteban Nunez, 19, and Ryan Jett, 22, went to the Sacramento River, where they doused a pile of bloody clothing with gasoline and set it on fire, then threw their knives into the river. If necessary, Nunez said he would claim self-defense and see if his father could get him off. A few days later, Nunez sent a text message to one of the assailants: Gangster rap made us do it lol.

Schwarzenegger reduced the sentence from 16 years to just seven years, calling it “unfair” considering Esteban Nunez had no prior criminal record. San Diego District Attorney Bonnie Dumanis attempted to nullify the decision, but was unsuccessful.

The parents of the victim are heartbroken, and angry at the injustice:

“[My son] was cheated out of life by a group of thugs and he was cheated out of justice due to some well connected killers,” Kathy Santos said.

The Santos family spoke at the a victims’ rights rally outside the state Capitol on Thursday.

“It’s been very hard,” she said. “This is the year he would be turning 30 years old. This year his friends are getting married and having children.”

His family was notified that Nunez would be released soon from prison.

“Again, there’s nothing we can do about the release of our friends’ murderer–in our case, we have seen first hand the difference between the haves and the have-nots,” Fred Santos said.

On Good Friday this year, Governor Jerry Brown issued 59 pardons, including one for actor Robert Downey, Jr. This list included those convicted of nonviolent, drug-related or property crimes.

Not one killer was on his list.

(Featured image from Youtube video).