A Sadly Engaging Case Of Murder

Camden Martinique Apartments

Almost from the first day, the murders of Sam Herr and Juri (Julie) Kibuishi grabbed public attention. It took six years for the killer to receive his conviction and final sentencing of death and then his brother accepted a plea deal for being an accessory after the fact. Eight years after the grisly murders, the prime beneficiary of the heinous crimes, the killer’s former fiancée, is about to go to trial for lying to the police three times. May 31, 2017, the first book about the murders was released. Two other writing projects are also being discussed by their respective authors. This is a review of the authors for the three writing projects so far.

The Nightmare Began One Weekend In May 2010

A beautiful dancer, college student, and tutor for a war veteran, was found dead in the war veteran’s apartment. Residents of the apartment complex were mostly students at the local community college. Their fear is palpable in the news stories that broke back in May of 2010. The sentiment in the news stories raised many questions. “Who killed Julie?” “Where was Sam?” “Would there be more victims?”

Friends of Julie and Sam gathered together to comfort and console each other at their time of sudden grief in the wee hours of Sunday morning after Julie’s body was discovered on Saturday by Sam’s father, Steve Herr. Among those in the group was Daniel Wozniak, according to a couple of people who were there, crying and grieving with the rest of Sam and Julie’s friends.

Invesigation In The Murders Of Sam And Julie Tried Emotions

Police immediately suspected Sam, a combat veteran, as the killer of Julie, while Steve was adamant that Sam would never rape and kill Julie. Police released a wanted poster looking for Sam and calling him “Armed and Dangerous.” Sam thought of Julie as his little sister and Julie tutored Sam in Anthropology. Sam’s mother, Raquel, later boasted with pride, “Sammy got an A in that class.”

Steve Herr did not know who killed Julie or what happened to Sam but he was certain something terrible happened and Sam was not involved. One of Sam’s friends from the Army stayed with the Herr’s. He slept on the sofa in their living room and kept a firearm by his side. People close to Sam and Julie were in fear for their lives.

Six days after the murder of Julie, Dan was arrested. Within hours of his arrest and after telling several lies and different stories for where Sam was, Dan confessed, “I killed Sam and I killed Julie,” he said in a cold, emotionless tone. “I was laughing and smiling when I did that,” he later said. He exclaimed, “It was a hundred percent about the money!”

Police recovered Sam’s body and search teams looked for Sam’s dismembered remains. News of the confession of the grisly murders of Sam and Julie went viral through news media. On Sam’s birthday, his father, Steve, said that his son should be celebrating his 27th birthday but instead Steve was praying search teams would find Sammy’s head.

Rachel led police to the backpack full of evidence and Dan was charged with murder. Dan’s brother, Timothy, was charged as an accessory after the fact and two years later Rachel was charged with being an accessory after the fact for lying to police on three occasions.

Six years of trial delays and anguish for the families of the victims finally yielded to a conviction against Daniel Wozniak for the murders of Samuel Herr and Julie Kibuishi. A few delays later, Dan was sentenced to death and now sits on California’s Condemned Row in San Quentin State Prison.

Prosecuting Daniel Wozniak

The trial against Dan was hindered by various trial delays, most notable, were those of his defense attorney, Scott Sanders, who was stifled by his other case defending notorious mass murderer Scott Dekraai. In both cases, the defendants confessed almost immediately and both cases were so heinous that only the death penalty would provide justice. Dekraai would later escape the death penalty at the behest of the loved ones of the victims whose agony grew with each new delaty. Sanders had no defense for either of his clients and chose to attack the prosecutors against his clients, as he is said to have done for most of his cases in his over two decade career.

Sanders’ attacks against the justice system and outbursts in court were portrayed in early media of the case as infantile tantrums. After a few years of blanketing the courts with novel-length motions, rich with non sequiturs and lean on facts, Sanders began to get attention for what news media dubbed a “Snitch Scandal.” Sanders argued that the Orange County Sheriff’s Department (OCSD) unlawfully used a snitch against Dekraai and that the Orange County District Attorney’s Office (OCDA) did nothing to stop it. The OCDAis not a supervisor or monitor for OCSD and failed to show how the OCDA was involved after many requests to prove his case. Sanders never provided “one shred of proof” that actions in the Dekraai case had anything to do with Wozniak’s case.

Trial delays by Sanders raised questions of professional ethics. One of the delays by Sanders was caused by a motion to dismiss the case against Wozniak because Sanders failed to control his client when Wozniak appeared on the television program LockUp. Some witnesses for both the criminal and penalty phases died and some struggled with serious illness during the trial delays. Sanders was admonished for filing a motion that had already been adjudicated. Sanders delayed one hearing so that he could accept an award and speak at an event.

Scott Sanders managed to win the media attention that he desperately sought for so many years. The California Bar and the American Bar Association both provided articles about Sanders’ claims of misconduct. Families of the victims filed complaints against Sanders with various bar associations and have publicly voiced outrage against Sanders and his antics.

The case of the State of California versus Daniel Patrick Wozniak garnered public attention for its depravity, its complexity, its litigation, and its legal twists and turns not usually seen in cases to the degree and multitude that they are seen here. The case has attracted attention of all major news media outlets and international attention.

Media Attention Went Viral

Television media has come alive with the gripping story of this disturbed and senseless case of two murders. ABC’s 20/20, NBC’s Dateline, CBS’s 48hours, Discovery’s ID Network, Dr. Phil, and so many other national and syndicated programs have covered this story.

Authors showed interest in the case from its beginning, often being seen in the courtroom taking notes. So far, three people have discussed book projects. May 30, 2017, was the release date of the first book about the murders of Sam Herr and Julie Kibuishi. Each writer who has discussed writing about this case has a different background and a different view of the case. The people writing about this case are as interesting as the case itself. Check out more stories about the book projects and authors covering the case of the murders of Sam Herr and Julie Kibuishi on Opinion Jockey.

 

7