These Are The People In Your Neighborhood

Recently I was watching an episode of The Perfect Murder about a man from Orange County named Kevin Green. He spent 16 years in prison for a crime he didn’t commit. Green was found guilty of the rape of his pregnant wife (she survived) and the murder of his unborn daughter.

I’d seen this story before on other true crime shows, so I was only half watching it while I was writing. The man was finally exonerated when DNA proved that his wife and unborn child were actually victims of another man, Gerald Parker. Before his capture, Parker was known only as “The Bedroom Basher.”

Gerald Parker received that dubious nickname exactly how you would imagine. Along with the rape of Green’s wife and the murder of her unborn baby, The Bedroom Basher raped and murdered five other women in Orange County in the 1970s.

The episode ended by announcing that Gerald Parker is currently on death row in San Quentin. He was sentenced to lethal injection in January of 1999. He’s 60 now. He’s also two cells down from my friend Daniel Wozniak.

A couple of days before I watched the show, Daniel and I had a phone conversation, and he told me about an older guy he’d met in one of his classes. They got into a conversation about how they were both from Orange County. Parker was impressed that Daniel had spent six years in the OC Jail without getting one major write up. Daniel didn’t ask about Gerald Parker’s crime, but when I mentioned watching the show, Daniel made the connection.

When you’re on death row, you can probably assume everyone around you is there for doing something pretty bad. I had already wondered if Daniel would eventually come in contact with some of the more infamous killers I’d seen profiled on so many ID Network programs.

People Magazine dubbed Daniel Wozniak “The Grizzly Groom,” but I’m happy that moniker didn’t catch on. Daniel’s crimes are heinous, but I don’t think he warrants a nickname.

There are currently 745 condemned killers on San Quentin’s death row. The majority haven’t been given a lot of press. But there are quite a few inmates who’ve acquired enough notoriety to show up repeatedly on the ID Channel and have their own Wikipedia page. There’s the Yosemite Park Killer, the Freeway Killer, the Trailside Killer, the Toolbox Killer, and even Scott Peterson.

Daniel does not have a Wikipedia page. I checked. There is a Daniel Wozniak who does have a Wiki page, but he’s “a Paralympic athlete from Poland.”

Daniel’s case has been profiled quite a lot, though. Perhaps certain crimes grab the public’s attention because the circumstances are particularly bizarre. A higher number of murders committed probably draws more interest, as well. In the case of serial killers like the Bedroom Basher, the nickname often comes from the press during the investigation of the crimes.

For me personally, I find the cases that include torture or sexual assault or the murder of a child to be the most terrifying and incomprehensible. In those situations, I’m not sure if even I could look beyond the crimes to try to see the human being inside the killer.

I’m sure many of you feel the same exact way about Daniel Wozniak. Fair enough.

I’m sure if Daniel ends up meeting more of his notorious new neighbors, he will have no trouble seeing the human being behind the killer. It’s likely he won’t even know what that person did to end up on death row.

Ironically, the episode of 48 Hours and the re-airing of the Dateline episode about Daniel’s case were both shown soon after Daniel’s arrival at San Quentin. He didn’t have a TV yet, but many of his fellow inmates watched the programs.

 So, who is on death row with my friend Daniel Wozniak?

The Toolbox Killer

There were actually two Toolbox Killers: Lawrence Sigmund Bittaker and Roy Norris. However, after the men were arrested, Norris made a deal and testified against Bittaker, who ended up on death row.

Together, Bittaker and Norris kidnapped, raped, tortured and murdered five teenage girls in 1979. They earned the name Tool Box Killers because their instruments of torture were items that could generally be found in the average tool box.

Richard Allen Davis

Maybe Daniel will meet Richard Allen Davis. He doesn’t have a nickname.

Davis was found guilty of molesting and murdering twelve-year-old Polly Klaas. He abducted her from her own bedroom during a slumber party with two of her friends.

Davis’ case was the impetus for the three strikes law in California. Adding to the Klaas family’s pain, just before his sentencing, Davis made a claim in court that Polly told him she’d been molested by her father, Marc Klass.

*Writer’s note – I apologize for not pointing out that Davis was lying about Polly’s father. This was just an attempt to hurt the family even more.*

The Yosemite Park Killer

Then there is Cary Anthony Stayner, who is also known as the Yosemite Park Killer. Stayner was sent to death row for the murders of 4 people.

Stayner was a handyman who worked at a motel just outside of Yosemite Park. A woman and two teenage girls were staying at the motel (mother and daughter and a family friend whose family was visiting from Argentina). Stayner used a ruse to gain access to their room by claiming he needed to repair something in the bathroom.

He bound and gagged each of them. After murdering the mother and one of the teens, Stayner loaded their bodies into the trunk of a rental car which was later found burned.

He drove the other girl away for about an hour. Then he took her out of the car and slashed her throat.

Stayner’s fourth victim was a twenty-six-year-old Naturalist who was working at Yosemite Park. Stayner attacked her when they crossed paths. When she tried to escape from him, Stayner cut her throat so deeply that he decapitated her.

Scott Peterson

Daniel actually has met Scott Peterson. It was a brief interaction in the San Quentin law library. Daniel recognized Peterson by sight, because the guy’s face was everywhere in 2002 when his wife Laci Peterson went missing in Modesto, California.

Laci was eight months pregnant at the time. She had already named the baby Connor. Authorities presumed foul play and it was believed that Laci had probably been murdered.

Suspicion fell on her husband pretty quickly, especially when a woman named Amber Frey came forward and admitted to having an affair with Scott Peterson. According to Frey, Peterson claimed to be single and a widower.

In April 2003, the bodies of Laci and her unborn baby Connor washed up on the shore of San Francisco Bay, and in March of 2005, Scott Peterson received a death sentence for their murders.

Daniel’s thought Scott Peterson seemed like a nice guy.

Charles Ng

From the first time I saw Ng’s crimes profiled on a true crime show, he and his partner, Leonard Lake, have stuck in my brain as being the most terrifying of killers.

These two men were responsible for up to twenty-five murders. They kidnapped entire families, including infant children.

The men and children were murdered first. Then Ng and Lake would rape and torture the women to death. Most of this horror took place in a makeshift torture dungeon that Lake had built outside of his remote cabin out in the Sierra Nevada Foothills.

The men were captured after Ng was caught shoplifting a vice (it was to be used as a torture device since he’d broken the one they had). He was using the identification of a missing man, and this led the police investigate Ng.

Eventually the police would find copious amounts of physical evidence to link Lake and Ng to multiple murders. This included video recordings of the two men torturing their victims.

Leonard Lake never stood trial because he committed suicide soon after being apprehended. He’d sewn two cyanide pills into his clothes.

Charles Ng was eventually sentenced to death in 1999, after being extradited from Canada where he’d been apprehended for a separate crime.

And All the Rest…

San Quentin’s death row also houses Randy Kraft (the Freeway Killer), Rodney Alcala (the Dating Game Killer) and David Carpenter (the Trailside Killer). Carpenter has been on death row so long (since 1988) that he was sentenced to be executed in the gas chamber.

They say “good fences make good neighbors.” In the case of Daniel’s neighbors, maybe the expression should include “strong bars.”

The idea of interacting with these men would terrify most of us. I’m not worried about my friend’s safety though. He doesn’t seem to have any concerns. He has no gang ties. Also, he’s well known as the guy whose case is attached to the Orange County informant scandal.

Daniel has explained to me that on death row, no one goes into details about their cases. He prefers that. He can enjoy a person’s company and get to know him for who he is today. The guy in the next cell could have committed the most monstrous acts imaginable, but that won’t change Daniel’s opinion of him. He’ll just see a guy who gave him a shot of coffee when he first moved in.

23 thoughts on “These Are The People In Your Neighborhood”

  1. Scott Peterson fascinated me when he was prosecuted. Sad case though ….. I still haven’t heard from Daniel on the letter I sent – tell him to get to it. I really want to correspond with him. Give him my best and tell him he is in my prayers.

    1. Me too Raymond! The Scott Peterson case is so sad and horrifying. There are people who think he’s innocent. I don’t know enough about the specifics to make a judgement myself. Daniel told me he wrote you. I’ll let him know you didn’t get the letter yet.

    1. Likely the trial has been postponed until the new year, but I can’t find anything about it online. I’ll update when I know anything.

  2. The case date is online on the DA’s site, as it has been for the past several years. It is not on the court’s calendar because it is more than six weeks away. The pre-trial is postponed until January 27, 2017. I posted an event on Facebook. https://www.facebook.com/events/1301245233281756/

    Tim Wozniak’s pre-trial is December 15, 2016, and is on the court calendar. I’m sure his will get postponed because of the various Yuletide holidays and New Year.
    https://www.facebook.com/events/1222677781146056/

    I try to keep the Facebook events current when the cases are postponed.

  3. Daniel deserves to be next to these other killers.

    In fact, he is more despicable than they are. Most of them killed strangers. Daniel killed a friend. Why?

    Because he was too damn lazy to get a job to pay for his honeymoon.

    He deserves EVERYTHING he is getting.

    1. We’ll have to agree to disagree on some of what you’ve said here, but thank you for reading the blog and commentint.

    2. Amen!!! I found this waste of a website just by accident… a “dedication to murderers” website if you will and am totally disgusted someone would befriend a murderer. This man is beyond evil. I cried when I saw the report on TV; especially the parents. How can one actually kill a person and then dismember them???!! I can’t fathom it. Because I am normal and I have a heart. And they say atheists (of which I am one) are immoral.

    3. I agree with you.
      He also performed on stage in between his murders with no outward indication he was stressed or feeling guilty or bad or sad or ashamed about what he had done.

      What a guy! Sick, crazy f——.

  4. *Marc Klaas.

    Also, I would add that Davis’ claim is completely unsubstantiated. There is no evidence that Marc ever hurt his daughter. From what I have seen he is a fantastic man who has has dedicated his time, money, and his life to helping parents find their missing children or give parents’ closure on their children’s cases. Everything I have seen shows that Polly’s death has greatly affected him, as it would any good parent. He’s been a proponent of tougher crime laws. I have a lot of respect for the guy.

    Davis simply said that to add insult to injury to Marc and it’s what made the judge’s decision to sentence him to death much easier. He also flipped off the judge and jury as a result of the verdict. He deserves his punishment wholeheartedly.

    According to a news article I read, there are three upcoming documentaries on the Scott Peterson case. One contesting his innocence. From what I’ve seen, I think the guy probably did it but there wasn’t enough evidence to send him to death row.

    Lawrence Bittaker had a documentary on him which can be viewed on YouTube which is titled “The Devil and the Death Penalty” and it discusses his crime. Absolutely horrible human being. How he’s stayed alive so long is beyond me. He and Ray Norris made a tape of their last victim that’s so awful it’s used at the FBI academy to desensitize agents to the sounds of torture and murder. It was played for the actor, Scott Glenn, when he was researching for the role in Silence of the Lambs. He broke down and it even brought him to change his previously liberal stance on the death penalty.

    Anyway, I hope I didn’t sound too harsh on you for the thing about Polly’s dad but as someone who has followed and supported his foundation, I want it to be clear Davis’ comments are not to be taken as truth.

    1. THANK YOU for pointing out something I should have figured out in the first place. Foolishly, I assumed that I didn’t even need to say Richard Davis was lying about Polly’s dad just so he could be even crueler to this poor suffering father. But I really should have pointed that out. It seemed so obvious to me, but I can’t assume everyone would have figured that out. Everything I’ve read about Marc Klaas (it seems as though the business of the holidays made be incapable – embarrassed face) shows a wonderful man who helps others who are the experiencing tragedy he experienced.

  5. As someone who knew Daniel Wozniak before he was an admitted killer, let me shed a bit of light for you. Have you ever possibly entertained that maybe, just MAYBE, this was his way of finding some significance in the world where he meant absolutely nothing in his own mind? Sure, it was “all about the money”, but Dan completely orchestrated his own melodrama, and for whatever reason thought he would get away with it. I was as shocked as anyone when this happened, but upon reflection, it kind of made sense. Not in the way that one could justify, because it so beyond horror I can’t fathom. Dan is part of the generation that thinks they deserve recognition for no other reason than existing and it is despicable. I don’t care WHAT he tells you, person who never knew him before this and has some morbid curiosity as his only friend left. I was his friend before and it pains me to reconcile the man he became.

    1. If you’d ever be willing to let me interview you, I’d be very interested in hearing more of your thoughts on this topic. I can only discuss the man I know now, and his words and deeds from here forward. I’m interested in learning as much as I can about Daniel from the past.

      I’ve entertained many theories and that is one of them.

    2. Great commentary.

      I think he simply didn’t want to go out and look for a full-time job that paid more than minimum wage so h could go out and perform. He chose to kill someone who not only served his country, but had the self-discipline to save money, was in school and had a career path in mind. And he kills a darling, innocent young woman in the process. This killer is just a worthless psychopath who deserves to die. Simple as that.

  6. Sure would love to see something on the 2 notable events of Daniel’s brother, Tim, over the last few weeks. Apparently pled guilty to accessory after the fact (according to OC Register) and arrested for domestic abuse. Interesting, very interesting. Is Rachel still scheduled for a January trial? Thanks a million for taking the time to keep us posted. Would Danial be interested in mail? If so, repost his address. I certainly don’t want to pester him if he’d rather be left alone.

    1. Rachel’s pre-trial is still scheduled for January 27th. I plan to keep you all updated on that situation. I’ll be attending her trial if she ends up having one.

      Tim is currently incarcerated on that domestic abuse charge. I don’t know when he’ll be going back to court on that case. Right now there’s nothing scheduled in the next month. It’s ironic this happened so soon after his plea in the murders of Sam Herr and Julie Kibuishi. Especially since Tim Wozniak was sentenced to time served in that case.

      Daniel has said I can share his address with anyone who would like to write to him.

      Here is Daniel’s address:
      Daniel Wozniak
      BB1113
      SQSP
      San Quentin, CA 94974

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