Daniel Wozniak and his bride-to-be, Rachel Mae Buffett, were set to get married on Saturday, one week after the murders. They had just moved to the Camden Martinique Apartments in February and by May, they were facing eviction for not paying rent. Rachel’s parents were paying for the wedding but Dan wanted a bachelor party and they would both benefit from their rent and other bills being paid. There were internet searches on the couple’s shared computer for cruises, something two people facing eviction could never afford. Dan also owed a new friend of his $2,000 for loan made earlier in the month.
Dan and Rachel were neighbors of Sam Herr at the apartments and Sam was friends with Julie Kibuishi. Sam was a decorated combat veteran and Julie was his college anthropology tutor. Dan and Rachel said Sam loaned Dan $100 and that Sam said to keep it as wedding gift if they could not pay it back. Rachel and Julie were friends and friends on Facebook. Dan had also become acquainted with Chris Williams. Early in May, friends of Chris organized a benefit concert for him to help cover medical bills. Dan asked Chris for a loan of $3,000 and Chris let Dan borrow $2,000. Chris tried to get his money back from Dan. Dan and Rachel had learned from Sam that Sam had over $50,000 of combat pay in his bank account.
The Murder Of Sam Herr
The day of Sam’s murder, Friday May 21, 2010, Chris called Dan and said that he owed money to loan sharks who were going to break his legs if he did not pay them back and they were going to break Dan’s legs, as well. This was a lie told by Chris to get Dan to pay back the loan. Dan got upset over the phone, so Chris went to Dan and Rachel’s apartment to calm Dan down. Chris told Rachel that Dan had until Monday to pay back the loan. Rachel told Chris to not tell Dan that he had more time because, she said to the effect, “Dan is a pathological liar and he won’t pay you back.”
Dan came downstairs from Sam’s apartment to his and Rachel’s apartment with Sam. The two stayed at the apartment for about ten minutes and left. Chris said he thought they were going to get cash and they would be right back but they were gone for about three hours while Chris and Rachel talked about Rachel and Rachel searched online for topless waitressing jobs. Rachel later said that she was offered a job at a bikini bar.
Sam had spoken to his mother on the phone around noon. At 2:45 PM, Sam sent Julie a text message saying he was helping Dan move some things at a theater. Dan returned to the apartment around 3:30 PM or 4:00 PM and gave Chris $380 or $400; he did not count the money. Chris left the apartment and saw he missed a call from Dan’s phone. He called back and Rachel answered the phone, saying that Chris had dropped a twenty dollar bill. She urged Chris to return to the apartment and Chris declined, saying he would get the $20 later.
Facts of the murders later revealed that Dan had killed Sam at the Liberty Theatre by shooting him in the head. Dan’s gun jammed and Sam cried to Dan for help, he got an electric shock, while Dan cleared the gun jam. Dan looked into the eyes of Sam and shot him again in the head, killing him.
The Murder Of Julie Kibuishi
At 4:10 PM, Dan began texting Julie with Sam’s phone, posing as Sam. Dan, through several messages, begged Julie to “come to my apartment around midnight.” Julie agreed. Dan and Rachel acted together in a play called, Nine. Around 11:00 PM, Dan began texting Julie again and lured her to Sam’s apartment texting messages that said he was having serious family problems and needed to talk, emphasizing, “no sex.”
Dan and Rachel were at their apartment that Friday night. Dan was sitting on the sofa, using Sam’s flip phone to text Julie. Dan had a smart phone. Rachel was lying on the sofa, awake but alleges she was trying to sleep. At 11:10, Rachel used the couple’s shared computer to respond to a Facebook post that Julie sent her at noon that day. Julie responded to Rachel’s comment. About 11:30 or midnight, Julie arrived at the apartment complex and Dan met her on the way to Sam’s apartment.
Dan let Julie inside Sam’s apartment and asked her to look at a spot on the bed. He then shot her twice in the head, killing her. Dan then scrawled profanities on the back of Julie’s hoodie sweatshirt with a magic marker and ripped her pants part way off to make her body look like it had been raped by Sam.
Facts and narrative from Rachel later show that on Saturday, Dan went to his parents’ house, got some garden tools, and went to the theater to dismember Sam. Dan brutally hacked off Sam’s head, one arm and hand because the arm had a tattoo, and the other hand. Dan put Sam’s dismembered body parts in a Von’s supermarket shopping bag and tossed them in a nature park. Sam’s father, Steve, would later recount how on his son’s birthday, May 29, 2010, he hoped police would find his head. Sam’s head and one arm were found. One hand was never found.
Anxiety Grows As Parents Cannot Reach Their Children
Saturday, June Kibuishi, Julie’s mother, tried to reach her daughter by telephone and text. Julie’s friends were also trying to reach her. Saturday night, Steve and Raquel Herr could not reach their son and he planned to visit them that night. Steve went to his son’s apartment and found beautiful Julie’s deceased body. He immediately called 9-1-1.
Sunday morning, police were asking questions. Dan began telling lies about seeing someone with Sam. In one account, Dan said he saw a “white guy” with a baseball cap. In another account, he said he saw a Mexican with a baseball cap. Facts later show that Dan asked a seventeen year old, Wesley Freilich, to use Sam’s ATM card and withdraw the maximum ATM amount of $400 that Friday. Dan told Wesley that the money was owed to someone and Dan was collecting a debt so this was legal. Wesley said that Dan told him to wear a baseball cap and glasses at the ATM.
Dan had Wesley make several ATM withdrawals over the next several days. Dan also had his brother, Timothy Wozniak, try to use the ATM card. Dan used the ATM card to pay for his bachelor party. Dan was able to get about $2,500 of Sam’s combat pay. Wesley used the ATM card to order pizza and police SWAT teams swarmed Wesley’s house to arrest him and to look for Sam, who they thought was alive and on the run. Wesley told the police everything about the ATM card. Police then found Dan at his bachelor party and arrested him, May 26, 2010.
Dan’s Jailhouse Interviews And Confession
Once in jail, Dan began telling stories through the night about what happened to cause Julie’s death. One story was that Sam had an elaborate plan to get money from using his card and then report the card stolen to defraud the bank and get the bank to pay on the amount that Sam reported stolen. Another story became more convoluted and had to do with Sam running from someone he owed money to.
Police asked for a DNA sample from Dan. Dan looked nervous in his interrogation video. He asked why the police wanted DNA and just before the swab, he rinsed his mouth with water, perhaps thinking that water would wash away DNA.
Dan said that he saw Julie dead in Sam’s apartment. Officers conducting Dan’s interrogation bluffed Dan and asked, “How did your DNA get on her?” Dan referred to Julie as “the body,” and said he “saw the body,” and that his DNA got on her because he was standing over her body and “saw two bullet holes in her head.” The police could only see one bullet hole at first.
Dan was sent back to his cell he had a phone call with his fiancée, Rachel. The call sounded staged and scripted until Rachel said that Dan’s brother, Tim, had some evidence and that Rachel was going to tell the police. Dan panicked and said, “That can never be found.” Rachel said she had to tell the police because they were recording the phone call. Facts later show that Dan gave Tim a backpack full of evidence of the murders of Sam and Julie and that Tim threw the backpack over his parents’ fence to the yard of his parents’ neighbors. Dan told Rachel that he was going to do something, that she knew what it was, and that she would never see him again.
Dan asked to speak with police again. Dan was read his rights for a third time and then confessed to killing Sam and Julie, and describing how he dismembered Sam. He said that he laughed when he did that. In the early morning hours of May 27, 2010, Dan was charged with double murder of Sam Herr and Julie Kibuishi, six days after his murderous plan began.