'Speed Freak Killer' sends new letter to station

March 10, 2012 - 2:45 AM

SACRAMENTO, Calif. (AP) — A Sacramento television station has received a second letter from serial killer Wesley Shermantine, with it claiming that he knows of more than 70 murder victims.

Shermantine wrote to reporter CBS-13 Koula Gianulias (http://cbsloc.al/A5FaSn) saying that his accomplice, Loren Herzog, and a third man killed 72 people. The station did not identify the third man.

Shermantine, one of the so-called "Speed Freak Killers," is on San Quentin's State Prison's death row for killing four people from 1984 to 1999.

Herzog was convicted of three murders, but authorities had said previously that they suspect he and Shermantine killed about 20 people.

Herzog's convictions were overturned after a judge determined his confession was illegally coerced. He instead struck a plea deal on one count of voluntary manslaughter and was paroled in 2010.

He died in an apparent suicide in January, hours after receiving a call from bounty hunter Leonard Padilla warning him that Shermantine planned to reveal the burial locations.

The letter CBS-13 received Wednesday comes after Shermantine wrote the station in February, claiming that he knew where additional victims had been dumped. Both letters bore a San Quentin State Prison postmark, the station said.

Maps that Shermantine had previously provided led authorities to at least three locations, with Shermatine claiming that 10 bodies or more could have been stashed in the area.

Investigators found remains belonging to two of Shermantine's victims in Calaveras County. They also found hundreds of bone fragments in a well in an abandoned ranch in San Joaquin County.

San Joaquin County officials, who had been searching the ranch based on information provided earlier from Shermantine, did not immediately return calls seeking comment on the latest letter.

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Information from CBS-13, http://cbslocal