Ex-Gov Apologizes to Victim's Family: Report

By R. Stickney and Katia Lopez-Hodoyan
|  Wednesday, Jan 12, 2011  |  Updated 9:51 AM PDT
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Nunez Family Silent in Court

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Former Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger reportedly has apologized for not informing a slain man's family he was cutting the prison term of one of the two people involved in the killing.

On his last day as California's governor, Schwarzenegger announced he was shortening the prison sentence of Esteban Nunez, the son of former assembly speaker Fabian Nunez.

The victim's father, Fred Santos, told a Los Angeles radio station Wednesday that he received a letter Saturday in which Schwarzenegger justifies one of his lasts acts as governor and apologizes for not giving the family advance notice.

Santos tells KNX he's considering filing a victim's rights lawsuit.

The tragedy started in 2008, during a knife fight that killed 22-year old Mesa College student Luis Santos. 

Esteban Nunez pleaded guilty to voluntary manslaughter and assault with a deadly weapon. In June 2010, he was sentenced to 16 years in prison for the role he played in the murder, but the former governor reduced the sentence to seven years.

The Santos family said it never got a call from Sacramento and didn't even know a commutation was being considered. The couple said it learned about the decision through the media. They said that the outcome undermines their faith in the criminal-justice system.

"I think it's absolutely despicable," said the victim's mother, Cathy Santos. "I think it's a huge injustice to our son."

"[It seems] the courts don't mean a thing," she said. "It sends out the message that back-door deals are fine."

An aide confirms to The Associated Press that Schwarzenegger sent a letter to the family but has no further comment.

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