Matt Murphy said, “Daniel Wozniak is a poster boy for why the death penalty exists in certain states. For a lot of murders, there are extenuating circumstances, but there are a few that are so awful and unnecessary and the grief that they cause is so profound for the most trivial reasons that they really should be subject to the ultimate punishment. And this is one of those cases.” Matt Murphy prosecuted Daniel Wozniak and won the death penalty conviction against Dan. He was interviewed in an episode of Crime Watch Daily and the previous quote is his summary for why Dan deserved the death penalty.
Dan is a perfect case for why we need the death penalty. We do not have an effective way to contain these brutal killers that is not a cruel and unusual punishment worse than death, so the death penalty is our best option. Those who argue that life without parole (LWOP) is as effective as the death penalty have not considered the sheer act of cruelty of subjecting others to these cruel monsters masquerading as people. Everyone is a target for killers like these; potential victims include other incarcerated persons, guards, healthcare workers, and visitors.
Placing these monsters in a regular prison also subjects people on the outside to harm and death. Killers in prison have ordered killings outside of prison. Killing does not stop when a killer goes to prison. A killer’s threat to society does not stop in prison. While some killers may stop killing, others do not and all are serious threats. These killers place a burden on society that society should not have to endure. At San Quentin, they are usually escorted by three guards when they leave their cells and taxpayers pay for the cost of their control.
Death Row inmates do everything they can to increase their cost of care from feigning illness to wanting sex changes, to raising frivolous lawsuits. Victims and their families hurt by devastating crimes must endure knowing that these disgusting pieces of waste still breathe the same air we breathe and still use our resources. No one should be subjected to that sort of pain, yet by not using the death penalty, the pain caused by these killers continues and their burden to society grows.
Dan Wozniak used agents to carry out part of his crimes. He used his victims Sam Herr and Julie Kibuishi as agents for their own deaths. It is possible he may have had intentions to use another friend, Chris Williams, as either an alibi for Dan’s fiancée Rachel Buffett or a possible frame-up for the murder of Sam. He used a then 17-year old Wesley Freilich to make cash withdrawals from Sam’s account at an ATM. Dan used his brother Tim to hide evidence and is alleged of using Tim to clean the crime scene and stage Julie Kibuishi’s body to make it look like she had been raped.
After his arrest, Dan used an acquaintance Glendele Way-Agle to post his comments on her blog and her Twitter account on his behalf, where she describes her flirtatious banter with Dan since befriending him four years after his arrest. He also got Glendele to bring a pair of glasses for a fellow inmate when Dan was still in county jail. Dan gave soup to one inmate who was used as a witness in his trial to say that Dan is friendly in prison and shares his soup. Dan was friendly before he went to prison back when he used his friendship to lure his victims and kill them in cold blood, so being friendly now does not show he is a good person but it does show his propensity to use friendship to use people for his own needs.
Dan has demonstrated that he has used people and he will continue to use people to further his own agenda. Control of a person like Dan for the protection of others would require placing Dan in a solitary cell with no contact with anyone outside of prison. People on death row do have limited contact and various forms of communication with each other. Dan would need to be housed in such a way that he would have no contact, no chance of escape, and no way to kill himself.
Many people on death row kill themselves because of how long they have been in that restricted environment. Dan would need more control than what is imposed on death row because he does use agents and he has used people while in jail. There is no humane way to control Dan Wozniak that will guarantee and protect public safety that does not raise concerns of cruelty. A lifetime of the sort of isolation Dan requires would inflict cruelty on him that is worse than execution.
Arguments Against The Death Penalty Do Not Apply To Daniel Wozniak
Every discussion of the death penalty raises the same set of arguments against the death penalty. None of those arguments apply to the case against Daniel Wozniak. Some of the more prevalent arguments follow.
Capital punishment does not deter murder or any other crime. This could be true but it is irrelevant. A deterrent should be both a social deterrent that stops people from committing crimes and a criminal deterrent that stops a person convicted of a crime from committing further crimes. Deterrence is not the role of capital punishment because it is applied after a person has demonstrated a total breach of social conscience and lack of self-control. It is impossible for a person to return from the state of viciousness for which people are convicted and sentenced on California’s death row. This is true because these killers had a free life and it is in that free life where they chose to be heinous killers. Daniel Wozniak’s acts are so unconscionable that it is irrational to expect rehabilitation or any measure conscience that would permit him to live in contact with another human being again.
The death penalty is inhumane. As I stated in this essay, letting Daniel Wozniak live with any contact with any other human being is more inhumane to others than it is to Daniel Wozniak, like the guards who must protect him from himself and others, the medical personnel who must care for him, and other inmates who must live with him. Isolating Daniel Wozniak so that he and others are safe and to the full extent of providing safety for others would require a total isolation that is so unconscionable it would be more inhumane than death. So, of society’s options for caring for Daniel Wozniak for the rest of his life, execution is the least inhumane.
There is no closure provided from the death penalty. The logic of this claim is elusive. Closure comes from the process of prosecution, punishment, and in finding some means to move on. The means of punishment must be fair and to the full extent that is necessary to accomplish a balance of the needs for protection of society and social equity. No one who is not personally involved in the pain suffered by victims and their families has any place to raise a voice under some theory of closure or lack of closure. For the families of victims, there is closure in knowing that killers can never kill again. Only the death penalty can secure this closure.
Retribution is not obtained by the death penalty. Psychosis runs deep in theories of retribution within the justice system. Saying that the death penalty will not provide retribution or that the death penalty should not be used for retribution evades the nature of the modern California death penalty. The purpose of the death penalty is to take rights from people who have committed acts so heinous that they should no longer have rights afforded by society. Any sense of retribution is personal and subjective but it is not a part of the death penalty.
The death penalty does not control crime. Perhaps the death penalty has no effect on crime but nor should it. Crime control is achieved through rehabilitation and deterrence. Criminal defendants who have been sentenced to the death penalty have shown that they have zero capacity to be deterred or to rehabilitate; this is why they are sentenced to death. It is irrational to expect crime control from the death penalty. It is also irrational to expect Daniel Wozniak will never kill again. He had never been convicted of a crime, he was well-liked, and he had a calm and reasonably normal life. These factors coupled with his acts show that he will betray those who trust him. This shows that he can never be trusted to never kill again.
The death penalty is arbitrary and capricious. This objection may be true outside of California but California law has specified that the death penalty when applied to murder will only be applied when one or more special circumstances exist with a first degree murder. The circumstances raise the underlying murder to a degree that is so heinous that no other punishment or management of the convicted will protect and serve the needs of society. California is very careful in how the death penalty is applied. The case against Daniel Wozniak has no signs of being arbitrary or capricious.
The death penalty is barbaric. To some people, killing a fly is barbaric. To the whole of society, allowing a person like Daniel Wozniak to live in contact with another living being is barbaric. Daniel Wozniak is a person, like others on death row, who kills without reflection or remorse, who gains trust from others so he may kill them, who manipulates people to help facilitate his killing, and who laughs and smiles while killing. It is barbaric to let Daniel Wozniak breathe.
Countries that do not have a death penalty have a lower crime rate than countries that do. For the reasons stated above, this objection to the death penalty is utter nonsense. The purpose of the death penalty has no connection to crime rates nor does it have an intended goal of influencing the crime rate.