In 2010, a man named Daniel Wozniak murdered two people– Sam Herr and his college friend, Juri Kibuishi. Today, he sits on California’s death row.
What went down on that fateful night that Herr and Kibuishi were murdered? Here’s what we know.
Wozniak was a community theater actor in Orange County, and was deeply in debt. According to ABC, he had no full-time job, no money, and was facing eviction. He also had a wedding coming up and had no means of paying for his honeymoon.
According to Popularmilitary.com, Herr had reportedly saved up to $50,000 from his service in Afghanistan– money that Wozniak wanted as his own.
On May 21, 2010, Wozniak “lured Herr to an attic at the Los Alamitos Joint Forces Base”. There, he shot him twice in the head and took his phone and wallet. Reports suggest that Wozniak beheaded Herr and even left different body parts at El Dorado Nature Center in Long Beach.
He then went on to lure Herr’s friend, Julie Kibuishi, to Herr’s apartment, where he killed her, and staged the area to look like an assault. Wozniak wanted police to think that Herr had sexually assaulted and killed Kibuishi. At the time, Costa Mesa police Lt. Ed Everett told ABC’ 20/20, “Julie … is basically being killed to cover this thing up. And it just — I mean, it’s horrific.”
The same night he committed these unthinkable acts, Herr performed onstage in a community theater production of “Nine”.
At first, police believed that Herr was responsible for Kibuishi’s murder, and a manhunt for the army veteran was launched by police. It wasn’t until a Wozniak hired a 16-year-old to withdraw money from Herr’s bank account and police confronted the boy that they were led to Wozniak. He was taken in for questioning at his bachelor’s party two days before his wedding.
Wozniak spent hours lying to police about his involvement in the murder. However, his story kept changing. At one point, he told the police, “I saw the goddamn body. Is that what you want to hear? … I was right over the body,” Wozniak said. “I didn’t touch her. I didn’t do anything … I saw two gunshots in her head.”
Everett tells ABC News, “His story kept changing,” Everett said. “I think he thought that his acting ability was going to carry him through this performance, so to speak. And it wasn’t doing it.”
Eventually, he confessed and brought authorities to the location of Herr’s body at the El Dorado Nature Center in Long Beach.
In court, Wozniak was convicted on two counts of first-degree murder. He was sentenced to death in September 2016.
Watch the full story on “20/20” FRIDAY, May 31 at 9 p.m. ET on ABC.