Placer County shows overwhelming support for Justine Vanderschoot and her family; opposing the release of her murderers  

As Placer County heads into the week of the first parole hearing for Justine Vanderschoot’s murderers before the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation, the Placer County District Attorney’s Office reports overwhelming support for the Vanderschoot family.  

“Placer County is an incredible place to live, we are a true community, and we see that firsthand with the overwhelming support for Justine and the entire Vanderschoot family,” said District Attorney Morgan Gire. “Our county stands in support of the Vanderschoot family and we will relay their message loud and clear: keep her murderers behind bars.” 

Last evening, a large group of community members attended a candlelight vigil in honor of the life of Justine, hosted by Crime Victims United. The event included the Placer County District Attorney’s Office, Place County Sheriff’s Office and Placer County Law Enforcement Chaplaincy, who hosted a moment of silence in honor of Justine’s life. The vigil was held at the steps of the Historic Auburn Courthouse, with the dome lit in Justine’s favorite color pink, to bring awareness to teen dating violence.  

“Thank you to Placer County for the continued support and love you have given our family through this difficult time,” said Justine’s sister Christine Vanderschoot. “If her murderers are released, they quite possibly could come back to our community. To honor Justine is to fight for Justine and help ensure no other family has to go through what we have experienced at the hands of her murderers.” 

Danny Bezemer and his roommate Brandon Fernandez admitted to the strangulation and murder of Justine Vanderschoot in 2003. Brandon Fernandez and Danny Bezemer have parole hearings with the CDCR parole board on July 28 and August 10, respectively.  

The Placer County District Attorney’s Office will participate in the hearings on behalf of the Vanderschoot family. The Office has also joined Justine Vanderschoot’s family in advance of the hearing in their request to deny her murderers’ chance to be released from prison. 

Since reaching out to the community, there have been over 7,400 signatures on the petition to CDCR, hundreds of letters sent directly to the parole board, and tens of thousands of views on the corresponding education campaign with the Placer County Sheriff’s Office and more.  

Media can view photos and videos from the candlelight vigil here and view more information on the case here.