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Retrial of Loren Herzog set to begin in December

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Posted: Friday, October 22, 2004 10:00 pm

A Dec. 14 retrial date has been set for Loren Herzog’s second murder trial.

Herzog, 38, of Linden, was formally charged on Friday with one count of murder in connection with the 1998 death of Clements resident Cyndi Vanderheiden.

Herzog pleaded innocent before San Joaquin County Superior Court Judge James Hammerstone on Friday before the case was transferred to Judge Clark Sueyres, who will preside over the trial, said Deputy District Attorney Thomas Testa.

Herzog was sentenced to 78 years in state prison in 2001 after being convicted of three counts of murder and being an accessory to a fourth slaying. But a panel of three judges from the 6th District Court of Appeal overturned Herzog’s three murder convictions in August, saying that Herzog was “coerced” while being interviewed by San Joaquin County Sheriff’s investigators in 1999.

The appellate court ordered a retrial for Herzog in the murder of Vanderheiden, 25, who disappeared in 1998. Vanderheiden is presumed dead, but her body has never been found.

Charges were refiled, but only in connection with Vanderheiden’s death, Testa said.

Preliminary motions will be held the week of Nov. 16 in Stockton. The trial will be held in Santa Clara County Superior Court, the same location where Herzog’s first trial was held after he was granted a change of venue due to extensive pretrial publicity.

Sueyres ruled that the San Joaquin County Sheriff’s Department would determine whether Herzog should be placed in custody at county jail or in state prison at Duel Vocational Institution in Tracy, Testa said.

The Sheriff’s Department ruled that Herzog should stay in state prison.

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