Ex-Actor Sentenced to Death After Being Found Guilty of Killing 2 People to Raise Money for His Wedding

The community actor received the death penalty for murdering two people in 2010

Photo: Mark Rightmire/The Orange County Register

Daniel Wozniak has been sentenced to death for the murders of his neighbor and his neighbor’s friend, according to a press release from the Orange County district attorney’s office.

The California theater actor, 31, killed his neighbor, 26-year-old Army veteran Sam Herr, and Herr’s friend Juri “Julie” Kibuishi in 2010 as part of a ploy to clean out Herr’s $62,000 savings so he could pay for his upcoming wedding to his actress fiancée Rachel Buffett.

On Friday, Orange County Superior Court Judge John Conley ruled against Wozniak’s public defender Scott Sanders’ motion for a new trial and against another motion to dismiss the death penalty, according to the Los Angeles Times

“He wanted to do both with style and was willing to kill two young friends to accomplish this selfish goal,” Conley said on Friday. “The defendant got a fair trial, and that’s the bottom line.”

On May 20, 2010, Wozniak shot Herr twice in the head with a .38-caliber semiautomatic pistol after luring him to the attic of an empty theater on the Joint Forces Training Base in Los Alamitos.

Hours later, he lured an unsuspecting Kibuishi, a college student studying fashion, into Herr’s bedroom and shot her twice in the head before staging the crime scene to make it look like Herr had sexually assaulted her.

Though he hoped the double murder would throw off the police, he was arrested shortly after the homicides during his bachelor party. He had stolen Herr’s ATM card and convinced a teenager to get money out of his victim’s bank account for him.

Wozniak eventually confessed to the killings while in police custody. “I killed Julie, I killed Sam,” Wozniak allegedly told detectives. “Sam came first. It was all just about the money, that was it.”

During the trial, the victims’ families had the opportunity to directly address their beloved family members’ killer.

“You, Dan, are a coward and a poster boy for the need for an effective death penalty in California,” Steve Herr, Herr’s father, said in his victim impact statement to the court.”

Steve said he has attended 192 court hearings since his son’s murder. “I’ve been keeping track since day one,” he said.

Want to keep up with the latest crime coverage? Click here to get breakingcrime news, ongoing trial coverage and details of intriguing unsolved cases in the True Crime Newsletter.

Meanwhile, Kibuishi’s mother June gave a heart-wrenching account of the painful loss of her daughter.

“For six years and four months I have sat behind you every time I came to court, watching you come out and smile for the cameras and the audience, enjoying being the center of attention,” June Kibuishi said to Wozniak in court. “You show no remorse and no guilt for taking my beautiful, loving daughter away from us.”

Wozniak is set to be taken to San Quentin State Prison, where he will stay until his execution.

Sanders and the Orange County district attorney’s office could not immediately be reached for comment.

Related Articles