Article courtesy of Orange County District Attorney’s Office
A Costa Mesa woman was sentenced on Nov. 8 to serve two years and eight months in prison for being an accessory after the fact of a 2010 murder at the Joint Forces Training Base and another Costa Mesa murder.
The court dismissed a third count of being an accessory on Sept. 12, 2018,
Rachel Mae Buffett, who was convicted in September on two counts being an accessory after the fact in the murders of Samuel Herr and Juri “Julie” Kibuishi more than eight years ago.
Buffett was sentenced to serve two years for the first count of being an accessory and eight months for the second count. According to the courthouse website, one third of the eight-month term will be served concurrently with the two-year term.
Buffett must also pay restitution.
The victims’ family and friends gave victim impact statements at the sentencing, according to a statement issued last Friday by the Orange County District Attorney’s Office.
Julie Kibuishi’s mother, June Kibuishi, said, “I will never get to see her fulfill her dreams in fashion, be a bride or a mom… All of these dreams for a mom having a daughter were taken away not just from me but from our family and all of her friends.”
Samuel Herr’s father, Steve Herrsaid, “To know we will never see Sam again, never hear his voice again, and never touch and give him hugs again is a feeling no parent should ever know.”
Herr and Kibuishi were both students at Orange Coast College and Herr was a military veteran.
According to prosecutors, Buffett lied to Costa Mesa Police Department investigators who were investigating the murder of Kibuishi and the disappearance of Herr, who for a brief time was wrongly suspected of Herr’s murder.
Buffett entered a not guilty plea at her Dec. 3, 2012, arraignment. She was released on $100,000 bail on Tuesday, Dec. 11, 2012, but is now in custody according to the Orange County Superior Court website.
Buffett’s former fiance Daniel Wozniak was sentenced to death on Sept. 23, 2017, for murdering Herr and Kibuishi in May 2010. Wozniak and Buffett were scheduled to get married on May 28, 2010, according to the Orange County District Attorney’s Office
Prosecutors accused Wozniak of murdering Herr to get access to his money and murdering Kibuishi to make it appear that Herr had committed the second crime.
According to the prosecution, Wozniak murdered and dismembered Herr on the grounds of the Joint Forces Training Base, disposed of some of his remains in Long Beach’s El Dorado Park, went to Herr’s Costa Mesa home and used Herr’s phone to lure Kibuishi to Herr’s apparetment, were Wozniak murdered her. For a time, Costa Mesa Police considered Herr a suspect in Kibuishi’s murder.
The case broke when a young man was found in possession of Herr’s ATM card. He reportedly received the ATM card from Wozniak.
According to news reports, Wozniak, an actor, allegedly committed the murders to finance his honeymoon.
Prosecutors accused Buffet of lying to police investigators to help her then-fiance evade arrest.
In 2012, area resident and family friend Fred Cianciolo said he believed Buffett was innocent.
“I have known Rachel all her life and she has been one who was always honest and trustworthy and maybe her biggest fault was being a little too naive and always too trusting in other people,” said Fred Cianciolo, an area resident and friend of the Buffett family.