Daniel Wozniak, the California theater actor accused of beheading his neighbor, Army vet Sam Herr, and his friend Juri “Julie” Kibuish, in Costa Mesa six years ago, is the focus of Dateline NBC tonight. According to Dateline NBC’s website, the episode entitled “Plot Twist,” will include new details in the high profile murder case. Police say Wozniak killed combat vet Samuel Eliezer Herr and tutor Juri “Julie” Kibuishi because he needed fast cash, in order to pay for a lavish beachside wedding that was supposed to take place.
After the murders, Wozniak acted in a play with his fiancee that same night. Daniel Wozniak’s fiancee, actress Rachel Buffet, is also facing time in prison if it can be proved that she was an accessory to the double murder, according to the OC Register. Daniel Wozniak was found guilty of the murders and will most likely die on California’s Death Row.
Sam Herr’s father, Steve Herr, will never get over his son’s death, whom he describes as his best friend and only child, NBC viewers will learn in the Dateline interview tonight. Just the sheer ugliness of the way his son was murdered is an image he’ll never forget, according to the Los Angeles Times.
“In my mind, I see him whacking away at my son’s head. I see him sawing my son’s arm off. I have trouble sleeping at night because if I turn the TV off that’s what I focus on.”
The Daniel Wozniak-Rachel Buffet case was splashed all across news headlines in 2010, after the dead body of a local woman was found in an apartment at the Camden Martinique apartments in Costa Mesa, according to OC Weekly. The victim was identified as 23-year-old Julie Kibuishi. And the apartment that she was found in belonged to her friend, Sam Herr. The body was discovered by Sam Herr’s father, who was looking for his son after he failed to show up at his home. When the story first broke, Sam Herr was suspected of killing Julie. Wozniak allegedly intended to frame Herr for Julie’s death.
After Julie’s body was discovered, investigators informed Sam Herr’s father that his son was found shot and beheaded, and his limbs were found in a park in Long Beach. The police had a true mystery on their hands, but they struck gold when Sam Herr’s ATM card was traced back to Daniel Wozniak. Dateline will reveal that before police got to Daniel Wozniak, another young man had used Herr’s car, which was given to him by Daniel.
Investigators say Wozniak brutally killed Samuel Herr at the military base theater, then used the dead man’s phone to call his friend, Julie, in order to lure her back to Sam’s apartment. The trick worked. Once Julie arrived, she was stripped naked and shot, then positioned to make investigators believe that she had been sexually assaulted. It was all a devious and elaborate plot to fool police into believing that Sam had killed Julie and himself in a murder suicide.
Daniel Wozniak’s acting abilities made him think that he could get away with committing the perfect crime. Turns out, this case was not as open and shut as he had expected. Once police were able to connect Wozniak to Sam Herr’s bank card, he was arrested and charged with two counts of murder.
Now, Rachel Buffet, Wozniak’s former fiancee, is trying to convince anyone who’ll listen that she is innocent and had nothing to do with these murders. In her side of the story, she wants people to know that she was duped by Daniel’s charm, stating that, after the murders, she found out that she really knew nothing about him. In an interview with Dr. Phil, Buffet stated that her fiancee told her that the beautiful heirloom engagement ring that she was wearing was a vintage ring that once belonged to his grandmother. Buffet found out that was a lie, among a string of other lies that Daniel Wozniak told her.
You’ll want to hear all of the details for yourself. But, be prepared for the many twists and turns in the case that sounds like it’s right out of a movie. Watch a two-hour Dateline tonight at 9/8 central on NBC.
[Image via OC Weekly/Facebook]