31-year-old Daniel Wozniak, a community theater actor in Orange County, has been found guilty of the double murders of an Army veteran and his female friend.
According to the NY Post, Wozniak was deeply in debt, needed money for his upcoming wedding and was facing eviction, when he concocted a plan to kill a neighbor and steal his money.
That neighbor was Samuel Herr, an Army veteran who had reportedly saved $50,000 from his service in Afghanistan, prosecutors said. Wozniak allegedly hired a 16-year-old boy to use Herr’s ATM card to withdraw money from the victim’s bank account.
Prosecutors told jurors how Wozniak lured Herr to an attic at the Los Alamitos Joint Forces Base on May 21, 2010.
There, he shot Herr twice in the head, then allegedly took his wallet and phone. Officials say, Wozniak beheaded Herr and left his body parts at El Dorado Nature Center in Long Beach.
Later, pretending to be Herr, Wozniak used the stolen cell phone to lure 23-year old Julie Kibuishi to Herr’s Costa Mesa apartment. Herr and Kibuishi both attended Orange Coast College together.
After killing Kibuishi too, prosecutors said Wozniak “staged the area,” pulling down her pants to make it look like Herr sexually assaulted and killed her — attempting to throw police off the trail.
That same night-according to authorities-Wozniak performed as the lead in a musical alongside fellow actor Rachel Buffett, who was also his fiancé. They were supposed to marry one week later, but Wozniak was arrested days after the murders–at his bachelor party.
Asked about a motive during the trial, Wozniak replied: “Money and insanity… I don’t know why I did it… Mainly it was the money, and it seemed so easy.”
Wozniak could be sentenced to death.
(Editor’s note: This article was originally published with incorrect information in the headline. It read, “Actor kills Army combat vet and decapitates vet’s girlfriend”)
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