A California jury recommended the death penalty yesterday for Daniel Wozniak, a community theater actor convicted last month of killing two people in a plot to steal money to pay for his upcoming wedding.
Wozniak is scheduled to be sentenced on March 11.
Wozniak killed his neighbor, 26-year-old Army veteran Sam Herr, and Herr’s friend, Juri “Julie” Kibuishi, in 2010. Wozniak lured Herr into the attic of an empty theater on the Joint Forces Training Base in Los Alamitos, California, claiming he needed help carrying furniture. But once Herr arrived, Wozniak killed him by shooting him twice in the head while his back was turned.
Hours later, after performing in a local theater production of the play Nine, Wozniak lured Kibuishi into Herr’s apartment by posing as Herr with texts using Herr’s cell phone, and shot her twice in the head. He then staged the crime scene to make it look like she had been sexually assaulted and killed by Herr.
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After he killed Herr, Wozniak dismembered his body: He left his torso and legs in the theater but tried to discard Herr’s other body parts, including his head, to a large park.
He was arrested days later at his bachelor party after police discovered he had convinced a teen to use Herr’s ATM card to withdraw money out of his account for him. In all, $2,000 was taken from Herr’s bank account.
He later confessed to detectives, saying, “It was all just about the money, that was it.” Evidence from his computer showed he had searched for “Quick ways to kill people.”
Herr and Kibuishi were both students at Orange Coast College.