Samuel Eliezer Herr and Juri (Julie) Kibuishi were murdered May 21 and 22, 2010. Sam was a decorated combat veteran who made close friends. He was helpful and his friends said that he would give you the shirt off of his back and throw in his pants for a laugh. Julie was a kind and compassionate person and everyone who knew her fell in love with her.
The Murderer, Daniel Wozniak
Sam and Julie were murdered by Daniel Patrick Wozniak to pay for his pending marriage and honeymoon to Rachel Mae Buffett. Descriptions of Dan portray him as lazy. He often got drunk and admits to have used drugs that include methamphetamine. He is alleged to have been fired from his jobs because he stole. His family is said to have quit talking to him six months before the murders because Dan stole from them, including stealing the gun he later used in the murders.
Descriptions of Sam and Dan paint a picture of dichotomy. Where Sam would make friends and care about his friends like brothers and sisters, Dan had few, if any close friends, and would buy groups of people dinner so that Dan could be the center of attention. Sam earned his money in combat, willing to give his life for strangers, while Dan stole money from people who trusted him. Sam was in college and planned to graduate, so he could return to the Army as an officer; Dan dropped out of college and had no career ambitions.
Accused Accessory After The Fact, Rachel Buffett
Rachel was convicted as an accessory after the fact in the murders but is alleged to have been part of the murderous plot. She had occasional jobs that include being a princess at Disneyland. On the day of the murders, Rachel was looking online for topless waitressing jobs. She too, enjoyed drinking, using methamphetamine, and is said to have liked using ecstasy.
Rachel’s personality is a dichotomy against murdered victim, Julie. Rachel is said to not have many friends; Julie had hundreds of friends. People discussing Rachel on social media say she is odd, while Julie was well-loved, admired, and a magnet for happiness. Testimony about Rachel during Dan’s trial shows Rachel to be a bully, manipulative, mean to people for fun, and cold; Julie is described in terms that show her to be giving, compassionate, unconditional, and selfless. Rachel’s only ambition appears to be related to theater work; Julie was a talented dancer who aspired to be a fashion designer, she achieved goals in her life was on her way to becoming a success in anything she chose to do.
Sam, Dan, and Rachel lived at the Camden Martinique Apartments in Costa Mesa, Orange County, California. Julie was a close friend of Sam and she thought of Sam like her older brother. Sam and Julie both attended Orange Coast College. Julie tutored Sam in Anthropology and his mother Raquel beams when she says, “Sammy got an A in that class.” Sam met Dan when Dan and Rachel moved to the apartments February 2010. Sam and Dan became friends. Julie met Rachel through the friendship between Sam and Dan and they became friends.
The murders began the afternoon of Friday, May 21, 2010 when Dan lured Sam to a community theater and shot him twice in the head. Dan then had a teenage friend use Sam’s ATM card to withdraw $400 for Dan. That afternoon, after Sam’s murder, Dan used Sam’s cell phone to send text messages to Sam’s ex-girlfriend and to Julie Kibuishi. Dan and his fiancée Rachel starred in a musical together that evening.
After returning to their apartment together, Dan continued sending text messages to Julie on Sam’s phone, while Rachel sent a Facebook response to Julie on the computer she shared with Dan at their apartment. Dan lured Julie to Sam’s apartment and she arrived just before midnight. Dan killed her around midnight, May 22, 2010. Dan returned to the apartment he shares with Rachel and they went to bed together around 1:00 or 1:30 AM, according to Rachel. Dan continued to use Sam’s ATM card in the days that followed and withdrew over $2,000 before being arrested.
Sam was murdered for his nearly $60,000 in combat pay and Julie was murdered in a botched attempt to cover-up the murder of Sam. Dan wanted to pay some bills and to pay for a honeymoon cruise with Rachel. A former acquaintance of Rachel testified during Dan’s trial that Rachel had said she would kill someone if she thought she could get away with it. Dan killed for money, if Rachel is as involved in the murders as people say she is, then her motive may have been entertainment.