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Man confessed in 2 Orange County slayings, transcript says

Actor accused of killing two friends in a plot to frame one for the slaying of the other confessed to police when arrested, according to a grand jury transcript.

May 26, 2012|By Lauren Williams, Los Angeles Times
  • Daniel Wozniak, a community theater actor, is accused of killing Samuel Herr and Juri Kibuishi in 2010.
Daniel Wozniak, a community theater actor, is accused of killing Samuel… (Costa Mesa Police Department )

A community theater actor accused of killing two friends in an elaborate plot to frame one for the slaying of the other confessed to police immediately after his arrest, according to a grand jury transcript that was made public Friday.

"I'm crazy, and I did it," Daniel Patrick Wozniak, 28, told a Costa Mesa detective after the 2010 killings, according to the testimony.

Wozniak, who was arrested at his own bachelor party just days after the crimes, is accused of luring Samuel Herr, 26, to the Liberty Theater at the Los Alamitos Army Airfield and shooting him twice in the head.


FOR THE RECORD:

Homicide victim: An article in the May 26 LATExtra section about the killing of Samuel Herr incorrectly reported that he had served in the Marines. Herr, 26, served in the Army. —


He later beheaded Herr and dumped his hands and head in a nature center at El Dorado Park in Long Beach, police said.

Using the dead man's cellphone, Wozniak then lured one of Herr's friends through a series of text messages to an apartment where he allegedly shot her — trying to make it appear she'd been slain by Herr, authorities said.

Juri "Julie" Kibuishi, 23, responded to the text messages, thinking it was Herr who wanted to meet, police said.

Wozniak, according to the grand jury transcripts, told police he was motivated by money and knew that Herr had $50,000 in a savings account from his combat service in Afghanistan. Wozniak said he planned to slowly drain the account in $400 increments, a detective told Orange County grand jurors.

An actor who had just wrapped up a monthlong performance in the musical "Nine" at a community theater in Fullerton, Wozniak allegedly told detectives, "I killed Sam first, and then I killed Julie."

Homicide Det. Mike Delgadillo testified that the actor said he asked Herr to help him move some items at the military theater and then shot him in the head as he was bending over to lift a piece of furniture.

"At that point Sam fell to his knees, looked up at Mr. Wozniak and said, 'I have just been — something happened, I just got electrocuted,'" Delgadillo said.

Wozniak said he fired a second shot as his friend stared at him, Delgadillo testified.

The detective testified that Wozniak said he returned the next day to the theater with a saw, an ax and a pair of scissors borrowed from the base's barbershop and chopped off Herr's head and hands, which he tossed in the nature center.

But Deputy Dist. Atty. Matt Murphy, who presented the case to the grand jury, said Wozniak's efforts to make it difficult for police to identify Herr's body were "kind of silly" because his DNA was on file with the Marines and there was an identifying tattoo of a heart and a rose — along with the words Mom and Dad — on his body.


FOR THE RECORD: This article incorrectly said that Herr had served in the Marines; he was in the Army.


Before his body was discovered, however, Herr was a suspect in the Kibuishi case.

Detectives testified that a series of back-and-forth text messages showed that Wozniak — pretending to be Herr — pleaded with Kibuishi to meet him at an apartment.

"Can you come over tonight at midnight alone. Going out for a bit. Very upset. Need to talk," Wozniak wrote in one message, Det. Jose Morales told jurors.

Police said they later found Kibuishi face down on a bed, shot twice in the head. "All yours, (expletive) you" had been written in black marker on the back of her sweatshirt, they said.

Later in the police interview, "I asked (Wozniak) what was going on in his mind," Delgadillo told jurors, "and he said he was just kind of laughing and smiling."

Wozniak has been indicted for murder, and prosecutors said they will seek the death penalty. He is expected in court Aug. 24.

lauren.williams@latimes.com

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