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Sherman is willing to talk about his first wife, but he does so on the front porch. His current wife is inside, and he's worried it might be uncomfortable. He wears blue jeans and a black T-shirt with the big face of a bald eagle. He sports a full beard and hair that falls halfway down his back.
"I've long stopped worrying about it," Sherman says about the police suspicion. "I didn't do anything. It's been, what, 14 years? A lot of things have happened in my life since then. Till this new thing, the new technology, I hadn't thought about it in a long time."
Who killed his wife? Sherman says he doesn't know and has no theories or suspects of his own. "There were many rumors flying around about what could have happened, what was going on," he says, including one involving a supposed cocaine ring at the records center where Linda worked.
He says he was shocked when he learned that the skull found outside Casa Gallardo -- his favorite place to drink -- belonged to Linda. Whoever put it there, he says, was "either trying to tell me something or pin it on me, one or the other."
Sherman says the police, and Lt. Webb in particular, focused on him for years. "They interviewed my wife before she was my wife, every girlfriend I had before her," he says. One told police he had confessed and attempted to collect on the reward, Sherman says.
He can understand why he is the prime suspect: He was the last known person to see his wife alive; she'd filed for divorce only days before; their marital problems were no secret; and the Casa Gallardo where the skull appeared was his hangout.
"Always look at the husband, right? Especially now there's a divorce here," Don Sherman says. "I'm sure the statistics probably support that -- spouses killing spouses."
Sherman clearly harbors a certain animosity toward Lt. Webb, because he believes the lieutenant is convinced that he is guilty. He doesn't even refer to Webb by name. "One local lieutenant just loves harassing me," he says. "He thinks it's going to make him famous one day, I think."
Webb, for his part, denies harassing Sherman, though he readily admits questioning him on numerous occasions -- too numerous to count. "He's never been eliminated as a suspect," Webb says. There was no cocaine ring at Linda's workplace, Webb says -- none that he knew of, anyway, and none that Don Sherman ever told him about. Some details of the police investigation Webb won't discuss, such as Sherman's ex-girlfriend who claimed he confessed. "I won't deny that," the lieutenant says. "I really can't comment on that aspect."
He says there's a standing invitation for Don Sherman to take a polygraph examination. Sherman has declined to do so, on the advice of his lawyer.
Don Sherman was unaware of plans to exhume his wife's skull until he was contacted by a local television reporter. He says he hasn't been kept abreast of the investigation, though he is not too surprised. "Obviously, they don't tell me anything," he says. "I get most of my news from the newspaper."
Don Sherman says he loved his wife.
"I think I was sadder when they came and knocked on the door and told me they'd found her remains. There was always a little hope that she'd run away."
Asked about any photographs of Linda that he might have, he says that most of them, along with her belongings, are stashed away in boxes in his basement. Then he suddenly recalls that their wedding album is easily accessible. He steps inside and is back in a moment, proudly turning the pages, identifying the bridesmaid, the minister who married them, the restaurant where the reception was held. He readily lends a picture of the newlyweds for publication.
When the interview is over, he shakes hands. "Do a good story," he says. "She deserves it." nYears after Linda Sherman vanished, her skull turned up at a restaurant. Now the cops are hoping that new forensic tests will lead to her remains -- and nail their primary suspect. But he's not worried.
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