The murders of Julie Kibuishi and Samuel Herr by Daniel Wozniak are featured on California Killer on Investigation Discovery.
At around 9:20 pm on May 22, 2010, Samuel’s father, Steven Herr, went to his apartment in Orange County, California, after he was unable to reach him via telephone. He became concerned because he said it was unlike Samuel, 26, who was a war veteran suffering from PTSD, not to answer his phone calls.
When Steve entered Samuel’s apartment, he made a shocking and gruesome discovery. Inside Samuel’s bedroom, he found Kibuishi dead, lying face-down on the bed with a gunshot wound to the head and her clothes had been torn. The 23-year-old was an acquaintance of Samuel, and she was tutoring him for an anthropology class.
Steven alerted Orange County police, who suspected Samuel of murdering Kibuishi. When they searched through her phone, they found out that she received a text message from Samuel the day before she was found dead, saying he was going to help his neighbor, Dan Wozniak, and then he was going somewhere else for the weekend.
Two hours later, Kibuishi received another text message from Samuel’s phone that read: “Can you come over tonight at midnight alone… very upset. Need to talk.”
Another message read: “I’m hurting with some family crap. I can’t be alone. No sex. Please, I’m begging as a brother.”
Police officials believed that Samuel may have snapped and murdered Kibuishi, but their suspicions were put to rest when they found out that Samuel was missing. According to his credit card activity, there were four ATM withdrawals. When police checked security cameras, it depicted a 16-year-old boy making the withdrawals.
However, an investigation revealed that Wozniak asked the teen to withdraw $1,900 from Samuel’s credit card. He later confessed to the murders of Kibuishi and Samuel.
Wozniak said he didn’t have a job, and he needed money for rent and his upcoming wedding. So, when Samuel told him he had saved $62,000, he lured him to the Liberty Theater on the Joint Forces Training Base in Los Alamitos, California, where he fatally shot him and dismembered his body before discarding it at a nearby park.
He stole his credit card and then went to perform with his fiance in the musical Nine. Hours later, he killed Wozniak to cover up Samuel’s murder.
Authorities found Samuel’s remains, but most of his flesh had been eaten off by animals. They also found a backpack with the murder weapon, along with Wozniak’s DNA and Samuel’s clothing.
On December 16, 2015, Wozniak was convicted of two counts of first-degree murder, and he was sentenced to death.
California Killer airs at 10/9c on Investigation Discovery.