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Woman Says Shermantine Raped Her Just Months Before Vanderheiden Murder

CALAVERAS COUNTY (CBS13) — Lisa Pisano will never forget Feb. 14, 1998, the day she says her friend of 10 years, "Speed Freak Killer" Wesley Shermantine, raped her.

"And he starts ripping my clothes and he pulls out a knife and held the knife to my throat," she tells CBS13 in recounting the event on Friday.

The terrifying ordeal started with a 2 a.m. phone call. She says he called drunk from a bar begging for a ride home.
Once she got there, Lisa says Shermantine forced himself into the driver's seat, taking her down a remote road where he pulled over.

"And then he raped me and all I could do is look at this windmill out in the field and I watched it turning," she says.

She says it continued for two hours. She prayed she'd get home to her son, who was with a babysitter.

"I kept telling Wes I had to get home, I got to get Richie ready for school," she says.

When he was done, she says he told her to put her clothes on but she wasn't fast enough.

"And he got me out of the car and he got me out of the passenger seat and he slammed my head down to the ground and he said 'If you don't want to die, then you'll hear the heartbeats of the families I buried here,'" she says.

Finally, he let her go home, but she says she was so shaken and scared it took her a day to tell her family and police. The case went to trial in Calaveras County.

"I told the jury, 'He's the type of person that will do it again, he needs to be stopped, he's going to do this again,'" she says.

Then, Lisa says she felt violated all over again. The jury didn't believe her story. Shermantine walked away a free man.

Five months later, he murdered Cyndi Vanderheiden of Linden in San Joaquin County. She was one of four victims he and partner Loren Herzog were convicted of killing.

Shermantine is on death row at San Quentin State Prison. Herzog killed himself last month while out on parole. The murder charges against him were later reduced on appeal.

"The jury did not listen to me, and Cyndi would be alive now if that jury had listened to me," a sobbing Lisa says.

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