OC actor stands trial 5 years after allegedly killing 2 people

SANTA ANA, Calif. (KABC) -- Opening statements were underway Wednesday in the double murder trial of Daniel Wozniak, a man accused of killing two people for money, in part, to pay for his wedding.

Daniel Wozniak appeared to smile as he entered the courtroom for his trial more than 5 1/2 years after he allegedly killed his neighbor, 26-year-old Army veteran Sam Herr, and Herr's friend Juri "Julie" Kibuishi.

Jurors heard how Wozniak allegedly lured Herr to a theater attic at the Los Alamitos Joint Forces Base on May 21, 2010.

"Sam knelt down and Daniel Wozniak pulled out his father's Llama .380 automatic pistol. He aimed it and shot Sam in the head," prosecutor Matt Murphy told jurors.

Prosecutors said the first shot did not kill him, so Wozniak fired a second shot into the side of Herr's head. He then allegedly took Herr's wallet and phone.

Prosecutors said it was part of a plan to solve money problems. He had no paying job and was facing eviction.

"He needs money for bills, he needs money for overdrawn bank accounts, and he's getting married in a week and a half," said Murphy.

Wozniak, a local community theater actor, was engaged to a fellow actor Rachel Buffett. They were supposed to be married May 28, 2010.

Prosecutors allege Wozniak's plan included using Herr's cellphone to lure a woman to Herr's apartment.

Authorities allege Wozniak texted Kibuishi, pretending to be Herr, telling her he needed to talk. The prosecutor read part of the text message: "You sure you won't let me down. Julie: 'I never let my friends down when they need me there.'"

Kibuishi arrived at Herr's Costa Mesa apartment around midnight. Wozniak allegedly lured her into Herr's bedroom, telling her to look at something on the bed.

"He pulls out the same gun, and he aims at her head and he shoots her twice and kills her", said Murphy.

Prosecutors allege Wozniak staged the area, ripping down her pants to make it look like Herr sexually assaulted and killed her to throw police off the trail.
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