Orange County News

O.C. beheading suspect has first day in court

Tuesday, June 01, 2010

A stage actor accused of beheading his neighbor and killing another woman was set to enter a plea on Tuesday on double murder charges. His arraignment was postponed as requested by his public defense lawyer.

Daniel Wozniak, 26, could face the death penalty if convicted.

Prosecutors said Wozniak killed 26-year-old Samuel Herr on May 21 at a military theater in the Los Alamitos Joint Forces Training Base.

"Mr. Wozniak convinced Mr. Herr to help him move some furniture. That's how he got him there," said prosecutor Matt Murphy. "He 'rused' him onto the base where he committed the murder."

The two lived in the same apartment complex in Costa Mesa. Wozniak then allegedly scattered Herr's remains, some of which were found at El Dorado Wilderness Park in Long Beach.

Wozniak is also accused of killing Herr's female friend, 23-year-old Juri 'Julie' Kibuishi of Irvine. Authorities suspect Wozniak text messaged Kibuishi from Herr's mobile phone to get the victim to Herr's apartment.

"This was a very methodical murder, and we believe the evidence. We look forward to presenting that to a jury," said Murphy.

Prosecutors believe Wozniak was trying to drain Herr's bank account. He allegedly used a teenage boy to withdraw about $2,000 from Herr's bank account.

Police arrested Wozniak in Long Beach on May 26, and the amateur actor allegedly confessed after his arrest.

Wozniak was charged with two felony counts of murder, with special circumstances for the deaths of both Herr and Kibuishi. Both victims were college students, and Herr's father told Eyewitness News that his son was a decorated war veteran who served in the U.S. Army in Afghanistan.

There is footage of Wozniak, an amateur actor, on YouTube.com, promoting a play in 2009 in which he co-starred with his fiancée, Rachel Buffett. Buffet was expected to marry Wozniak last weekend. His arrest came on the night of his bachelor party.

Buffet tried to hide her face from the cameras as she walked out of the Tuesday court hearing surrounded by friends and family.

Wozniak is due back in court for arraignment on June 25.

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shooting, murder, missing person, body part found, orange county news, eileen frere
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