Convicted double murderer Daniel Wozniak has received a recommendation for the death penalty.
The jury, which has been on the case for more than 5 years, deliberated for just over an hour before deciding the former Costa Mesa theater actor should be put to death for the slayings of two friends. Wozniak killed the two in a plot to steal money in order to pay for his wedding.
As if it were written for a Lifetime movie, Wozniak killed his friend, Sam Herr, dismembered Herr’s body, and deposited some of the remains in a park in Long Beach. Wozniak then lured Juri Kibuishi to Herr’s apartment using Herr’s cellphone, where he shot her twice, placed her body on Herr’s bed, and ripped away her pants as if she had been sexually assaulted. After Herr’s father, Steve, found Kubuishi’s body and reported it to police, the police began searching for Herr, only to discover that Wozniak was making regular withdrawals from Herr’s bank account.
Herr, an Army veteran who served in Afghanistan, had saved more than $60,000. Upon learning of this, Wozniak plotted to kill Herr and use the money to finance his own wedding.
Wozniak was arrested at his bachelor party just days after the killings.
Assistant Public Defender Scott Sanders, who is heralded as being largely responsible for exposing systemic misconduct by the Orange County District Attorney’s office during the investigation of Scott Dekraai, alleged the same misconduct occurred during this case as well, jeopardizing Wozniak’s ability to receive a fair trial. The misconduct involves the alleged improper use of jailhouse informants.
Regardless, jurors decided that Wozniak’s crimes are deserving of the death penalty. The last prisoner executed in California was Clarence Ray Allen in 2006.