Daniel Wozniak, accused of murder and dismemberment of Samuel Herr
A 26-year-old-man who was arrested on suspicion of killing two people, one of whom was dismembered, is back in jail after being released from the hospital, Costa Mesa police said.
Daniel Patrick Wozniak was hospitalized for a head injury he inflicted on himself, Sgt. Patrick Wessel said Sunday. He went back to jail Saturday. He is expected to be arraigned on Tuesday.
Wozniak was arrested Wednesday night at a Huntington Beach restaurant and charged Friday with two felony counts of special circumstances murder in the deaths of Samuel Eliezer Herr, 26, of Costa Mesa and Juri “Julie” Kibuishi, 23, of Irvine, police said.
Authorities believe Herr was killed May 21 and his body dismembered. Kibuishi’s body was found May 22 at Herr’s apartment. Police initially suspected Herr in the killing, because he had disappeared.
Parts of Herr’s dismembered body have been found at El Dorado Park and at Los Alamitos Joint Forces Training Base.
When Wozniak was arrested Wednesday night, he was only suspected as an accessory. Herr was still the suspect, said Det. Sgt. Ed Everett of Costa Mesa police. But after interviews with Wozniak and further investigation, police found Herr’s body, and Wozniak became the suspect.
According to Costa Mesa police, at about 1 p.m. on May 21, Wozniak and Herr drove to the Los Alamitos Joint Forces Training Base, where Wozniak shot and killed Herr at the base’s theater facility to rob him.
Wozniak then cut off Herr’s head, left arm, and right hand, police said. Herr’s torso was discovered Thursday in a seldom-used portion of the theater. Police said Wozniak disposed of other body parts at El Dorado Park.
Wozniak then set up a meeting with Kibuishi at Herr’s apartment by sending text messages from Herr’s phone, police said.
Shortly after midnight, Kibuishi went to Herr’s apartment at the Camden Martinique complex at 2855 Pinecreek Drive in Costa Mesa, where Wozniak met her, police said.
Inside the apartment, Wozniak shot her in the head with a shotgun, killing her, police said. He then removed some of her clothing to make it look like a sexual assault, police said.
On Saturday, Herr’s father went to the apartment to check on him and found Kibuishi’s body. Police discovered text messages that showed Kibuishi had gone to the apartment voluntarily and began looking for Herr.
They found that somebody was using his card to make ATM withdrawals in Long Beach. That led them to a 17-year-old boy, who told police he was making the withdrawals for Wozniak.
Noah David Buffett, 28, of Long Beach, and Wozniak’s brother, Timothy Wozniak, were arrested on suspicion of accessory after the fact. They are suspected of helping dispose of evidence other than the body, Everett said.
The only known motive for the crime is financial gain, Everett said. About $2,000 was withdrawn from Herr’s account.
A video of Wozniak surfaced Saturday showing a smiling and laughing man during apparent outtakes for a 2009 play he starred in (http://bit.ly/cFirFI) and a Facebook profile for a “Dan Wozniak” showed that he became friends on the social networking site with a “Julie Kibuishi” sometime between March 22 and April 5.
Wednesday morning, the day he was arrested, he was making jokes on a friend’s Facebook profile. A friend wrote “No help cmon I need something to paint people!!!” and Wozniak replied “I suggest Santa Claus trapped in a snowstorm…come on…think about it!”
When Wozniak was arrested two weeks ago on another matter, he listed his profession as actor. He was the star of a recently completed production of “Nine” at Hunger Artists Theatre Company in Fullerton.
Wozniak was scheduled to get married this weekend to Rachel Buffet, who starred alongside him in the production, police said.
The OC Weekly raved, “Dan Wozniak’s Guido is superb. Though his character should be an unlikable pig – he’s self-obsessed, egotistical and a liar who uses women as checkers pieces – Wozniak somehow manages to make Guido eminently likable and even sympathetic. … Wozniak captures the angst of a man staring into the abyss of his own being and seeing his own frailty.”
Police ask that anyone with additional information contact Everett at 714-754-5395 or Detective Jose Morales at 714-754-5637.