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1999 Jailhouse Interview Details ‘Speed Freak’ Killing

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Speed Freak Killers Loren Herzog and Wesley Shermantine (CBS)

Speed Freak Killers Loren Herzog and Wesley Shermantine (CBS)

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SACRAMENTO (CBS) – CBS has obtained chilling video footage of Loren Herzog, one of two men dubbed the “Speed Freak Killers,” after he was arrested in 1999. The jailhouse footage shows Herzog blaming Wesley Shermantine for the death of Cindy Vanderheiden.

The two men were suspected in as many as 20 murders during a meth-fueled crime spree. Herzog was found guilty of three murders, but his murder convictions were later overturned on appeal. He was sentenced to 14 years and released in 2010. He committed suicide outside High Desert State Prison in Susanville last month, where he was living in a mobile home after his release.

It’s been 13 years since the interrogation, but it’s chilling to hear Loren Herzog detail the deaths. He blamed Shermantine for all of it.

Herzog: He had her like this or not, I don’t know if it was like this. And he went like that.
Detective: Okay
Herzog: And that’s when I kind of turned over the other way.
Detective: And so it was more like this then, all right, and he continued to do that?
Herzog: Yeah, and he took her to the ground.

Herzog calls Wesley Shermantine a cold-blooded killer, claiming Shermantine murdered more than two dozen people, including two hunters.

Detective: Which side did he walk up to first?
Herzog: Driver’s side.
Detective: Okay, and then what happened?
Herzog: He started shooting.
Detective: How many times do you think Wes shot totally?
Herzog: I think he emptied his gun, because he used mine.
Detective: Okay, once he’s done shooting, then what happens?
Herzog: He took ‘em out of the car and emptied their pockets.

They got $11 from that robbery and murder. Herzog details the killing of Cyndi Vanderheiden, the first remains investigators recovered recently.

Detective: Did she ever ask you for help?
Herzog: Yeah
Detective: What did she say to you?
Herzog: She used to call me by a nickname, and she had asked you know…that nickname to help her.
Detective: What was the nickname she called you?
Herzog: Slim
Detective: What did she say?
Herzog: Slim, help me. Slim, do something.

He didn’t do anything.

Herzog: I really wish I hadn’t seen what I’ve seen.
Herzog: I mean, not only because I’m sitting here, it’s just…Got Cyndi on my mind for the rest of my life, man.
Detective: Yeah?
Herzog: That ain’t something I like picturing, you know?

Convicted killer Wesley Shermantine sent a new one-page letter to bounty hunter Leonard Padilla. He refers to one of the possible victims of the Speed Freak Killers, Joanna Hobson, who is feared to have been killed by one of the men. Shermantine said his partner in crime, Herzog, is responsible for her murder.

(Copyright 2012 by CBS San Francisco. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.)

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