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HERZOG.JPGA California lawmaker is asking Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger to intervene in an attempt to keep a San Joaquin County man once convicted of three murders from being released from prison.

Assemblywoman Cathleen Galgiani is fighting the planned parole next month of Loren Herzog, shown left, who is now in his mid-40s, who was convicted in December 2001 of a multiyear murder spree that killed Cyndi Vanderheiden and two others.

A companion in the killings, Wesley Shermantine, is lodged on death row but Herzog's murder convictions and 78-year prison term were thrown out on appeal for alleged violation of his rights during police interviews.

Herzog, in a plea bargain, later admitted committing voluntary manslaughter and was sentenced to 14 years in prison, reduced by time already served in county or state custody. His stint is nearly over.

Galgiani, a Stockton Democrat who continues to feel pain from the disappearance of her own cousin in San Joaquin county in 1981, an incident not tied to Herzog, contends that releasing the once-convicted killer would endanger society.

In a letter to Schwarzenegger this week, Galgiani asks the Republican governor to "intervene and request a clinical review and risk assessment of Loren Herzog's mental status" in an attempt to keep him incarcerated as a sexually violent predator.

Under state law, a judge can order a sexually violent predator incarcerated for an additional two-year period, with review once that stint ends, if the person is found by two psychiatrists or psychologists to have a mental disorder that makes reoffending likely.

Galgiani wants Schwarzenegger to target Herzog for such a mental evaluation before his release, saying in her letter that "I believe that Loren Herzog will be found to likely reoffend."

One potential obstacle for Galgiani is that the law permitting continued incarceration of sexually violent predators, beyond their parole date, targets those who have been convicted of sex offenses against two or more victims.

Though Herzog pleaded to voluntary manslaughter, Galgiani said in her letter that he was "believed to have been a participant in two rapes" and that "two women testified against Shermantine and Herzog for alleged rapes they never pressed charges for."

Luis Patino, a spokesman for the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation, declined comment other than to say the agency will review and consider Galgiani's request.

PHOTO: Loren Herzog makes a court appearance in 1999. The Sacramento Bee/ Kim D. Johnson



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