SACRAMENTO (CBS13) – Convicted killer Wesley Shermantine has a lot to say. And he sent a letter from behind bars to CBS13 talking about everything from his friend and fellow killer Loren Herzog, to the current search for the remains of victims, to how he feels about his sister.

Shermantine dated his letter from death row Feb. 14, 2012, and it arrived at the CBS13 studio Friday morning addressed to CBS13’s Koula Gianulias.

shermantine envelope CBS13 Gets Letter From Speed Freak Killer Wesley Shermantine

Shermantine, one of the so-called “Speed Freak Killers,” is currently on death row in San Quentin for killing four people in a spree that lasted from 1984 to 1999. However, officials believe he and Herzog are responsible for many more deaths.

With this letter, Shermantine appears to want to set the record straight. He starts by saying “Their (sic) have been nothing but lies. 90% are lies.”

The letter also says local bounty hunter Leonard Padilla has yet to make good on his promise to pay Shermantine $33,000 for information on the victims, something Padilla doesn’t dispute.

“What is he is saying is ‘if I don’t get my money, I ain’t gonna give up anymore information,'” Padilla said. “I got no problem with that.”

Padilla said the problem is where to put the money and that he’s trying to set up a trust for it.

The letter comes as the grisly search for victims of Shermantine and Herzog enters its second week and will continue through the three-day holiday weekend.

So far, San Joaquin Sheriff’s Department officials and other searchers have found more than 1,000 bone fragments and other items in an old well near Linden.

Cadaver dogs from Santa Clara County were searching the area on Friday for a second well but so far nothing has turned up.

Padilla has said he has a map and information on the second well’s location, but sheriff’s spokesman Deputy Les Garcia says that if that’s true, the information hasn’t been shared with sheriff’s investigators.

“If they information that’s going to help us, they need to turn it over to us,” Garcia said. “I keep hearing all this in the background ‘Well, I have information on the second well.’ Well, give it to us.”

Padilla for his part says he’s been ignored by investigators.

A Department of Justice official also disputed claims by retired FBI agent Jeff Rinek that the dig was destroying evidence.

“Everything was handled according to proper procedure and we were very careful in what we have done,” Jill Spriggs said.

Comments (16)
  1. matt says:

    Please post a pdf file or picture of whole letter.

    1. Mo Betta says:

      Click the link “Letters from behind Bars”.

  2. Holly Cavanaugh says:

    I am the niece of Paul Cavanaugh, one of the men Shermantine and Herzog were convicted of killing. My family and I would appreciate it if you would please post the whole letter so that we may read its contents.

    1. Dan says:

      I agree wholeheartedly with Holly Cavanaugh’s request, based in no small part to the lack of clarity and organization of the article. If indeed he had a lot to say, why omit the core of the letter from the article? Allow the public to understand and respond to the content of the letter without omission.

    2. Cindy says:

      I believe that if you click on “this letter” in the fourth paragraph of the article you’ll see the entire letter. So sorry for your loss.

      1. Holly Cavanaugh says:

        Thank you very much. This gives me some look into Shermantine. i was not at the trial or sentencing. i was 15 and in high school at the time they were convicted and was not allowed to travel to California with my family for the trial or sentencing. I was born just two weeks after my uncle was murdered by Herzog and Shermantine so as you can imagine this was hard on my parents. it took me fifteen years to learn about the Uncle I never got to meet.

  3. Mary says:

    I am the Mother of one of the possible victims. Kimberley Ann Billy. Missing from Dec, 1984. I live in Oregon and am finding out about all this because I read a small article in our local paper about remains found in Calaveras Co. I always though it was Leonard Lake and Peter Ing who had something to do with her being missing.
    Would have been appreciated if the Sheriff office would have let me know about what was going on. They have what they need to identify remains I hope they will be able to do that. Not a day goes by that I don’t wonder what happen and I miss her so much.

    1. korikill says:

      My deepest condolences to you and your loved ones, Mary. I hope the results of these investigations brings peace to you.
      And yes, the Law Enforcement Officials in charge should definitely have contacted all involved.
      Now that you know how they operate, you should call them every week for updates. You’ll get more information that way.
      God Bless.

  4. Hank A. says:


  5. Hank A. says:

    OK, NOW it’s working. Both of these low lifes are guilty as hell, and speaking of hell, one is already there and the other will be going there someday ! Good riddance to them both ! I hope the families of the victims get closure.

  6. Why says:

    Why is this evil man still alive. Where is the Justice. The California dream has slowly become a nightmare. My deep condolences to the friends and family of the victims of these two demons.

  7. sherry Balesteri wilson says:

    i happened to marry into this family and have known wes and loren for years. they were always mean and nasty, couldn’t stand either one of them. I wouldn’t give wes anything. he complained about being put in a cell for 14 hours with just a smock on and he was cold. Isn’t that just two friggin bad, what about all those poor people in that well, I’ll bet they were cold too. he says he wanted headstones for his parents graves, Wes sr. and his wife sue had more than enough money to by their own, at least he has the luxury of knowing where his mom and dad are buried. what about his victims parents, what relief do thay have thats the last thing fat boy needs is a candy bar…save taxpayers some money an follow in lorens footsteps siince you like to kill together why not die together…your cousins ex wife sherry balesteri

  8. Fencepost says:

    Excluding the being related part, What Sherry said!!!!

  9. RK Davies says:

    That letter is missing portions, and am curious what those pieces may say…

  10. Dan says:

    In 1998, I had the uncomfortable moment of briefly encountering Wes shermantine, a month before he evidently murdered Cyndi Vanderheiden. His stare, brief as it was , left me cold. We were not formally introduced, but he was waiting in the lobby of the business I was working at, waiting for Cyndi to join him for lunch. I am certain, as a serial killer, he is getting a mental and physical thrill with all the attention he is receiving. I hope the families of the victims find peace in all of this but that Wes receives nothing than life in a cage.

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