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Loren Herzog a free man

Killer of Clements resident Cyndi Vanderheiden will live on grounds of prison, but will face restrictions on where he can go

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Posted: Saturday, September 18, 2010 12:00 am

Convicted killer Loren Herzog is now technically a free man. Even so, he will be living on the grounds of a state prison in Susanville and will face severe restrictions on where he can go and when.

Herzog, 44, was released to a trailer specially built for him on the grounds of High Desert State Prison. Prior to the move, he was being held in the administrative segregation unit of the California Correctional Center in Lassen County since Thursday, according to the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation.

Lassen County Sheriff Steve Warren was meeting with officials from the state parole board branch in Red Bluff on Friday to hammer out the details of Herzog’s parole.

Herzog will likely be required to wear a GPS locator bracelet, remain within the county and abide by a strict curfew, according to Gordon Hinkle, press secretary for the corrections department. Herzog will also be required to check in with a parole officer several times a month for at least the next 3 years, Hinkle said.

Located in a region dominated by wind-swept sagebrush and rolling foothills, the High Desert Prison is 12 miles east of Susanville.

In addition to being housed on state property, Herzog will likely be employed by the prison for minimum wage.

The decision on where to house Herzog has been charged with controversy, and the location has been changed several times in the past 3 months. Corrections officials had initially planned to parole him to his last county of residence, San Joaquin County. But family members of his victims successfully petitioned the state to have his parole transferred to another area. Plans to move him to Tehama County were met with protests, as were plans to house him in the small community of Doyle on the Nevada border.

Residents of Lassen County have held demonstrations every day since news broke of his parole to the county on Tuesday. Officials in Susanville, the county’s seat of government, have collected 5,729 signatures on a petition protesting the parole to be sent to the governor’s office, according to Jim Chapman, Lassen County Superintendent. He accused state officials of choosing his county for Herzog’s parole because it is under-represented in Sacramento.

“This is a political hot potato that no one wants to deal with,” Chapman said.

Hinkle acknowledged that no community in California is likely to welcome Herzog with open arms, but consideration for the families of his victims and public safety were key factors in the decision. He said that although the corrections department is fielding criticism for the move, it is required by law to release inmates who have served their time.

“We did not set the sentence for Mr. Herzog, the courts did,” he said.

A San Joaquin County jury had convicted Herzog for his role in three area murders, including the brutal slaying of Clements resident Cyndi Vanderheiden. He was sentenced to 78 years in prison while his accomplice, Wesley Shermantine, now sits on California’s death row.

Six years ago an appellate court ruled that investigators had coerced Herzog’s confession, making the bulk of the evidence against him inadmissible in retrial. Prosecutors accepted a plea bargain that reduced Herzog’s sentence to 14 years with time off for good behavior.

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  • Cyndi Backman posted at 9:42 pm on Sun, Sep 19, 2010.

    Cyndi Backman Posts: 5

    Pray for your children.....He will do it again......so sad...

  • Darrell Baumbach posted at 9:29 pm on Sat, Sep 18, 2010.

    Darrell Baumbach Posts: 9403

    This is where all the voting starts!!!! Not only for judges, but for school board members...
    Wendy... I underand voting for judges, and politicians that can influence the outcome of parole approvals, but why did you include school board... sounds unrelated to the topic.

  • wendy coe posted at 8:46 pm on Sat, Sep 18, 2010.

    wendy coe Posts: 33

    This is where all the voting starts!!!! Not only for judges, but for school board members. This is blantant representation of what is wrong for society,needs to be stopped. Lets get out and vote for individuals that what to preserve this country, and stop the plea bargaining. Let's start enforcing laws, not the lawyers. California needs to be safe, but this is an example on how our courts are failing to make Californian feels safe.

  • Darrell Baumbach posted at 2:56 pm on Sat, Sep 18, 2010.

    Darrell Baumbach Posts: 9403

    I feel sad for the people living in Lassen County. Can you imagine this man living in Lodi?... Can you imagine children walking to school because the bus stopped its pick ups of children. There must be anxiety there.

  • trista aquino posted at 1:15 pm on Sat, Sep 18, 2010.

    trista aquino Posts: 98

    S c a r y....steal 3 cars, prison for life- murder 4 people, your handed $8/hr from your new job to buy things for your new place (since rent will be taken care of) and the only one in trouble is the investigator for um, investigating.

  • Cheryl Adams posted at 6:02 am on Sat, Sep 18, 2010.

    Cheryl Adams Posts: 4


  • terry jarvis posted at 4:29 am on Sat, Sep 18, 2010.

    terry jarvis Posts: 2

    it wont last long because he will do something stupid and he will be back in jail.i just hope nobody gets hurt in the process.our court system sucks.

  • Mike Hines posted at 1:58 am on Sat, Sep 18, 2010.

    Mike Hines Posts: 4

    Where to start with this! Outrageous! A convicted murderer gets a place to live, a job and protection? I could go on, but why? It falls on deaf ears. He should have been hung long ago!



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