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Convicted serial killer Wesley Shermantine Jr. gives interview

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Posted: Monday, February 27, 2012 12:00 am | Updated: 9:11 am, Tue Jan 28, 2014.

Convicted California serial killer Wesley Shermantine Jr. says he knows where additional victims are buried, while also apologizing for taking years to reveal where he disposed of the bodies of two of his victims.

During an interview at San Quentin State Prison's death row with a reporter for the Stockton Record, Shermantine said Saturday that he was sorry it took so long for authorities to find the remains of Cyndi Vanderheiden, 25, and Chevelle “Chevy” Wheeler, 16, but denied that he had killed them.

Vanderheiden disappeared in 1998, while Wheeler disappeared in 1985.

"I'm sorry I buried their loved ones," he told reporter Scott Smith. "In no way, shape or form did I kill them," he said.

Vanderheiden's and Wheeler's remains were found earlier this month after Shermantine provided a map to authorities.

Shermantine and accomplice Loren Herzog were dubbed the "Speed Freak Killers" for their meth-fueled crime sprees in the 1980s and 1990s.

During the interview, Shermantine also said there were additional victims buried in Modesto, Stockton, Ripon and Milton. He said he would provide more details in future letters.

Shermantine was convicted of four murders and sentenced to death.

Jurors found Herzog guilty of three murders, but those convictions were later 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.

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

Shermantine blamed the drugs and alcohol for making him a killer.

"If I hadn't been on drugs, I wouldn't have been involved in any of it," he said.

Shermantine has been corresponding with The Record for six years in an exchange of letters that increased in frequency and detail beginning late last year.

His interview comes after more human remains were recovered Thursday near the site where the remains of Vanderheiden and Wheeler were found.

Shermantine has also led authorities to a well in San Joaquin County where investigators have recovered hundreds of human bone fragments.

Shermantine began disclosing where victims were buried when Padilla offered him money for the information.

Meanwhile, San Joaquin County sheriff's officials are staying mum about any possible future searches for human remains.

Sheriff's spokesman Les Garcia released a statement late Sunday saying sheriff's investigators had met on Friday with the FBI, the California Department of Justice and the San Joaquin County District Attorney's Office, but said details of the meeting would not be released.

© 2014 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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