SACRAMENTO (CBS13) – A mother is outraged more than a year after former Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger cut the sentence of the man who killed her son.

Esteban Nunez plead guilty to manslaughter charges and was sentenced to 16 years in prison; but, his fathers political connections helped get that sentence reduced by more than half.

“I’m very, very disappointed. The attorney general’s office fought for corruption, and they won,” said Kathy Santos, victim’s mother.

The parents of murdered San Diego college student Luis Santos are devastated over the ruling to overturn Schwarzenegger’s commutation of the sentence of the son’s killer.

The attorney general’s office defended Schwarzenegger in a Sacramento courtroom Friday.

“They defended a backroom deal; they got away with it,” said Santos. “We’re disappointed. Where’s the justice for our son? He was murdered, and two conniving politicians got away with it.”

Schwarzenegger cut Esteban’s sentence in half, just hours before leaving office last year.

Esteban is the son of Schwarzenegger’s political ally, Fabian Nunez.

“The one thing I think we all agreed with, what the judge said. What Schwarzenegger did was the most egregious abuse of power anybody had seen,” said Nina Salarno-Ashford, Santos family attorney.

Judge Lloyd Connelly called the former governor’s action repugnant, distasteful, and even abusive.

But, he says Schwarzenegger was well within his powers to commute Esteban’s sentence, and did not need to notify the victim’s family or the district attorney’s office as the Santos family argued.

“We stand for the proposition that it includes it. And, I think the court is extremely wrong in it’s ruling at this point,” said Salarno-Ashford.

While they lost the latest battle, the Santos say they’ll keep fighting.

“We’re committed to fighting for justice. This is not over yet,” said Santos.


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