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Speed Freak Killer Gives It Up for a Candy Bar

Wesley Shermantine is the scum of the earth. On death row for murdering four people, Shermantine and his partner in crime Loren Herzog are suspected of killing as many as two-dozen people during an unchecked crime spree throughout the 1980’s and 90’s. At long last, more than a decade after being sent to death row, Shermantine is squealing like a pig, leading the authorities to where the bodies are buried. Thus far more than 1,000 bone fragments have been recovered from the first of three bone yards. Two victims have been identified.

Shermantine didn’t give up the killing fields to unburden himself before the Lord, and he didn’t have an attack of conscience. He wasn’t trying to do the right thing by giving resolution to the families of his victims, and he wasn’t negotiating for a reduced sentence or even to get off of death row. No, Wesley Shermantine wanted a candy bar.

That he puts such a small value on life should come as no surprise. Shermantine and his childhood friend Loren Herzog engaged a methamphetamine fueled killing spree that spanned two decades and terrorized a Central California community around Stockton, California. They killed in drug induced frenzy, they covered their crimes by eliminating witnesses, but mostly they killed for the thrill. Their victims were mostly young, defenseless women who had no idea what they were getting into, and were ultimately unable to extricate themselves from the grip of unrelenting evil. Shermantine bragged of kidnapping, raping, torturing and killing more than 20 victims.

Last month Shermantine accepted Sacramento, California based bounty hunter Leonard Padilla’s $33,000 offer for information leading to the recovery of his victims. He claims that he wants to use the money to pay victim restitution, purchase headstones for his deceased parents, and fund an inmate account that will allow him to purchase candy bars from the prison commissary. We know that Shermantine is a narcissistic psychopath who lacks conscience, so dismissing victim restitution as motivation is a no brainer. Perhaps he does want to purchase headstones for his parents, but they will be tiny and cheap. In the final analysis it is instant gratification, the ability to stuff his fat face with Mars bars that really flushes Shermantine’s toilet: that and the fact that in September, 2010 Loren Herzog was inexplicably paroled for his complicity in their criminal enterprise.

On January, 17, 2012 the bounty hunter called Herzog and told him that his partner in crime was leading the authorities to their mass graves. Later that day Herzog hanged himself in his state-issued trailer just outside the gates of the High Desert State Prison in Susanville: one down one to go.

The debate rages on. Is Shermantine the beneficiary of blood money, or is this a legitimate means of bringing resolution to the families of the missing? Although they refused Shermantine’s offer to reveal their daughter’s remains in exchange for $10,000 years ago, Cyndi Vanderheiden’s parents are grateful to Leonard Padilla for finally bringing their daughter home. Upon learning that their daughter’s remains had been identified Chevy Wheeler’s mother told the Associated Press that, “This is a happy day. We can finally have some closure.” However, Susan Kizer, the mother of missing Gayle Marks, also believed to be a victim of the speed freak killers, said that she’s offended by the $33,000 deal. “He has been found guilty of murder,” she said. “Why should he get any kind of pleasure, anything that would bring him any pleasure from all that?”

Philosophically, I am opposed to profiting from crime. Therefore, I understand and empathize with Ms. Kizer’s outrage. But as the father of a child who was missing for 65-days I can tell you that knowing enables relief. It provides resolution, and although the hole in your heart will never heal, you will be able to compartmentalize the tragedy knowing that resolution has been achieved. Knowing that your child is not being tortured, being able to bring them home for burial, so that they can at long last rest in peace is a benefit that cannot be calculated.

Let Shermantine gorge his fat face with Snickers and Almond Joy’s. Studies prove that eating too much sugar has serious health consequences. With a little luck he will contract diabetes and/or heart disease and die sooner rather than later. Unless of course Padilla doesn’t actually pay the money as promised and Shermantine’s lust is denied. Now that would be an ironic, and fair, resolution to the sordid saga of the speed freak killers!

Powell Family Secrets


“It is a federal crime to knowingly possess, manufacture, distribute, or access with intent to view child pornography (18 U.S.C. §2252).  In addition, all 50 states and the District of Columbia have laws criminalizing the possession, manufacture, and distribution of child pornography.  As a result, a person who violates these laws may face federal and/or state charges.”

Images of animated incestuous sex were found on Josh Powell’s computer after his wife Susan was reported missing in 2009. According to the Pierce County Sheriff’s Department the images were realistic computer-generated depictions of parent-child sex. So, why, after Utah authorities discovered these images, was Josh allowed to retain custody of his children? Why did Chuck Cox, Susan’s father and the boy’s grandfather, only learn about this revelation this morning as he was being interviewed on the Today Show?

In Utah, possession of child pornography is classified as a felony of the second degree. The penalty for individuals convicted of a felony of the second degree is 1-15 years in prison and a possible $10,000 fine. The authorities found child pornography on Josh’s computer shortly after his wife Susan disappeared, so they knew that he was guilty of a felony of the second degree. Yet, they allowed him to leave the state unimpeded. Had they pursued those charges instead, Josh would be in prison right now and Charley and Braden would still be alive.

The newly revealed incest animation was referenced during a court appearance last week. Josh was attempting to regain custody of his children which he lost when his father, with whom he was living, was arrested on child pornography and voyeurism related charges last September. At a custody hearing last week, the judge ruled that Josh would have to undergo an extensive psychosexual evaluation, polygraph test, and counseling before he could regain custody of the boys. There is no way that Josh could hold up under such close scrutiny. Like a rat in a corner, Josh Powell had nowhere to run, and there was no place left to hide.

Since acquiring custody in September 2011, the boys, once “disconnected, like robots,” were “slowly but surely realizing that they were safe and happy.” Where they used to run away from their grandparents when they talked about Susan, they now engaged the conversation. For the first time since their mother’s 2009 disappearance Charlie and Braden were in a nurturing environment that allowed them to share their feelings and perhaps even their secrets.

One of the reasons Chuck and Judy Cox wanted custody of the children was to protect them from their father. Charlie and Braden’s intuition was acute, but for naught. They disliked attending the supervised visitations with daddy. Last Sunday Josh Powell committed the ultimate act of abuse against his two boys. Was he simply trying to cover up the truth about what happened to Susan, or was something even more sinister going on?

Many incarcerated sex offenders justify their behavior by telling you that they were abused when they were children. In other words, they were caught up in a generational cycle of abuse, mirroring behavior that was perpetrated upon them and paying it forward to the next generation of children. I won’t pretend to understand the psychology of this behavior; only that it occurs often enough that should be taken seriously.

We now know that Josh Powell and his father Steven both kept secrets. They both had child pornography on their computers. Steven videotaped women and children, including Susan, without their knowledge. Josh had a very troubled past that included attempted suicide, a threat to murder his mother with a butcher knife, and killing his sister’s pet hamster. One has to wonder what prompts a young boy to acts of extreme violence, and why those acts are only now being revealed. What other dark secrets are buried in the Powell family history?

The final burning question that will never be answered might explain the whole sordid mess. Did Josh murder his wife because she caught him having sex with one or both of their young sons?

The Son of a Bitch Tried to Chop Off Their Heads!


No wonder he always looked like he was sucking on lemons. He was holding back a taste much more acerbic than lemon juice. First he killed their mother, his wife, and concocted a cockamamie alibi that carried him forth until he could commit the ultimate betrayal. Then the son of a bitch tried to chop off their heads before immolating them in a homemade inferno that also spat him back into the hell from which he came.

The disappearance of Susan Powell was never a real mystery. Josh murdered Susan on December 6, 2009. The weather was bitter cold. I can almost imagine Susan watching the 5:00 pm weatherman predict that a winter storm was projected to drop more than a foot of snow overnight. Of course she agreed when he closed his forecast with, “You do not need to travel tonight.”

Susan, her husband and sons, were reported missing by her parents the next morning. Josh and the boys showed up later that evening, but not Susan. She was never seen again!
Josh’s story was a poorly fabricated lie. But it seemed to fool the authorities, because, as we found out only after the fact, her disappearance was not reclassified as a murder until almost two years later. Josh was considered a “person of interest”, but apparently not enough interest to actually hinder his style.
About a month later Josh packed up the boys and moved out of state to live with his father, another lemon-sucking pervert, in Puyallup, Washington. Josh and his father Steven launched a campaign to assassinate Susan’s character and threatened to publish her childhood journals online. A judge issued a permanent injunction stopping that plan. Shortly thereafter Steven Powell was arrested on child pornography and voyeurism related charges. Steven’s daughter Jennifer Graves expressed relief after hearing that her father had been arrested, telling a reporter, “They’re getting him off the streets now and he won’t be able to take advantage of innocents in the future.” Steven remains in Jail, but somehow Josh was able to slither under the radar one more time.

He lost custody of the children to Susan’s parents, but not access. A judge gave him supervised visits. The boys began to blossom once they escaped Josh’s toxic influence. I’m using toxic as a synonym for evil here. They may have even begun to talk about the night Susan disappeared. I wonder if Josh was aware that his son Braden may have drawn a picture of a van with three people in it and told caregivers it showed his family going camping and that, “Mommy’s in the trunk.”  We could ask him, but…oh no, we can’t because he’s in Hell and still not cooperating with the authorities.

Josh Powell carried more red flags than a Chinese New Year parade. He showed no remorse or regret that his wife was missing. His alibi was a pitiful fabrication. He wasn’t cooperating with the police. His own sister hated him. His father was a known pervert. He segregated the kids from Susan’s family as he allowed them to be exposed to perversion. He tried to assassinate Susan’s character. It was all there in plain sight. Why couldn’t the court see the facts that screamed from the headlines for more than two years?