'Speed Freak Killers' case lands in federal court

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Updated: 1/10 1:41 pm

SAN FRANCISCO (AP) — A federal judge in California is considering a lawsuit filed by the mother of a girl whose remains were found at the bottom of a well during the investigation of the so-called "Speed Freak Killers" case.

Joan Shelley claims San Joaquin County and Sheriff Steve Moore mishandled the remains by ordering deputies to dig them up with heavy equipment in 2012.

U.S. District Judge Morrison C. England Jr. heard arguments Thursday on who holds property rights to the remains — the sheriff or the girl's mother. JoAnn Hobson was 16 when she vanished in 1985.

Two years ago, death row inmate Wesley Shermantine led investigators to remains of five victims of a 15-year methamphetamine-fueled killing spree. He and friend Loren Herzog were arrested in 1999. Herzog hanged himself in 2012.

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 This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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