So while I’m not jumping up and down for joy and deliriously dancing on Main Street, there is an upside to the news that convicted killer Loren Herzog apparently hanged himself inside a little trailer on state property outside High Desert State Prison last week — we never have to worry about him hurting another woman, and frankly I am more than quite happy about that.
Yes, Loren Herzog will never kill again.
I don’t want to revisit the horrific deeds allegedly committed by Herzog and his boyhood friend, condemned murderer William Shermantine — the so-called Speed Freak Killers — in this column.
I honestly can’t say I remember hearing about Herzog and Shermantine when their cases made their way through the legal system. I guess the story never caught my attention for some reason.
My first recognition of Herzog came in September 2010 when the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation announced he would be released in Lassen County and serve his parole under some of the tightest conditions imaginable.
The news of Herzog’s hasty release in Lassen County without the customary state-mandated notice period caused considerable consternation, shock and anger among state legislators, city and county officials, law enforcement leaders and many citizens.
Some said CDCR chose to release Herzog in Lassen County with only two days notice because of the then recent death of Dave Cox, a powerful advocate for the north state in the California senate.
Thankfully, Dan Logue, representing the third assembly district, took up the challenge and even authored legislation to extend the notification timeline from 45 to 60 days. Lassen County and Susanville attorneys also filed a legal action objecting to Herzog’s release. Hopefully, no other county will suffer such indignation in the future.
Hundreds of county residents attended a town hall style meeting at Jensen Hall to express their opposition to Herzog’s release in Lassen County. A few of them even threatened Herzog’s life. They said if they saw him on the street they would take matters into their own hands and blast him in a heartbeat.
Thankfully, things never came to that. A correctional officer in the know said Herzog never traveled from his trailer to Susanville, although the newspaper recently received a call Herzog was seen shopping unguarded and unattended at Walmart. The newspaper called the prison, and a public information officer firmly denied the report.
I can’t help but remember the interview I did with John Vanderheiden, whose daughter Cyndi was murdered by Herzog and Shermantine. Her body has never been recovered, and now only one person (Shermantine) knows the location of her remains. I pray he has enough human decency to reveal the location of her body so the grieving family can bury a daughter and finally find some degree of closure.
Herzog’s earthly race is run, and now he must stand and face his maker. Maybe God can find a way to have mercy on his soul.
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