Speed Freak Killer’ Brings Spotlight to His Northern CA Hometown


Authorities are searching near Linden, Calif., after a man on death row for murder claimed that he and a boyhood friend killed many others and dumped their remains there. Serial killer Wesley Shermantine says he was a partner in murders committed by a neighbor, Loren Herzog. Shermantine, 46, was condemned for killing women with Herzog in the 1980s and ’90s. A neighbor called them “total trouble” and “scary speed freaks,” reports the San Francisco Chronicle. So far, more than 300 bone fragments have been dug up near Linden, along with shoes, jewelry, coats and a purse.

Herzog, 45, hanged himself on Jan. 16. When Shermantine and Herzog were arrested in 1999, they were dubbed the Speed Freak Killers for committing a string of methamphetamine-fueled slayings throughout Central California. Between them, they were convicted of seven murders, but investigators believe they killed more than a dozen people. Shermantine started doling out details of body locations to several people, including a local bounty hunter, a Stockton Record reporter and a retired FBI agent, this winter in hopes of getting reward money to pay off debts and buy candy bars and other goodies prized in prison. Bounty hunter Leonard Padilla struck a deal to pay Shermantine $33,000 for the information.

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