I’m Too Sexy for the Prison?

It had been around four months since the last time I saw Daniel Wozniak in person.

Readers know I was pretty nervous the first time I visited the San Quentin State Prison death row. I wasn’t afraid of the prisoners, but I was worried about unknowingly breaking a prison rule and getting banned for life (or shot from a guard tower). However, beyond a couple of mishaps (getting lost on my practice run day and forgetting to take off my sunglasses), I aced my first death row visit.

OK, yes, I did also spill some coffee on the visiting room floor, but I cleaned it up, and no harm done.

So I headed into my most recent visit with a sense of reassurance that only comes from having knowledge and experience.

Before I left for my trip, I reviewed the visitor clothing rules (no denim, no leggings, no chambray blue, no khaki, and no underwire bras, etc.).

No problem. The majority of my wardrobe is made up entirely of black, white, and gray. I figured I had this down.

It was much colder the last time I visited. This time we were in the middle of a heat wave in California. Since I was meeting with friends immediately after each visit, I wanted to dress both appropriately for prison and comfortably enough to go for walks after lunch.

I bet some of you have already figured out, from the title of this post, I had some mishaps.

We’ll get to that moment.

More Than the Guards Could Chew

When I was packing up my clear baggie with quarters, comb and unopened Kleenex (the items I’m allowed to take in with me), I realized the last time I visited Daniel at San Quentin, I didn’t have my Invisalign braces yet.

I will be wearing these clear plastic braces for a few months, and I’m supposed to have them on for twenty two hours a day. I need to take them out whenever I eat anything, and I am also supposed to brush my teeth before I put them back on. During a five-hour extended visit with Daniel, I could either not eat or drink anything, or I could brush my teeth after partaking in those delicious vending machines snacks.

When I got the Invisalign braces, I bought a bunch of individually wrapped and pre-pasted disposable toothbrushes to carry around in my purse when I’m out in the world. While I was packing for my trip, I had a thought: If I am allowed to bring in new unopened packages of facial tissues, perhaps the San Quentin guards would also allow me to bring in an unopened toothbrush as well.

Now, before you start to think I’m crazy, the prisoners already have access to normal-sized toothbrushes. So there would be no reason for Daniel to want to keep my toothbrush and “smuggle it” back with him (yuck).

I figured. No harm in trying, right? That is sort of a mantra of mine.

I was totally right, by the way. There wasn’t any harm in it. I had to throw away my unopened toothbrush during Saturday’s check in, and Sunday I didn’t bring one. No harm.

To their credit, the guards at San Quentin are extremely amiable. I think they even wanted to let me bring in my toothbrush. They could see my logic. The guard told me, “That’s a new one,” and he even went up the chain of command just to confirm that I was not allowed to take in my toothbrush. Well, not without a doctor’s note. Fair enough. I might ask my dentist to write me one next time.  Simply rinsing my mouth with water seemed inefficient after vending machine ice cream.

Side note: I’ve decided that the ice cream in the SQ visitors’ room has zero calories and therefore I can consume it, guilt free, at every visit.

After the toothbrush adventure, I got through visiting check-in and headed in the direction of the prison. Within seconds, I was called back by one of the guards so he could examine my clothing.

Fashion Police

Let me tell you what I was wearing: Flat sandals and a plain black t-shirt dress. The dress was very loose fitting. It stopped just an inch above my knees (two inches above the knee is the rule).  And luckily, I was wearing a pair of shorts underneath.  The guard scrupulously examined the length of my dress (while other visitors walked past), and told me he was considering not letting me in. Because of the shorts, I passed inspection.

I promised to wear pants the next day.

After that, everything went fine. Once we’d gone through the process of handcuffs and musical doors, and when we were locked in our visiting cage, I told Daniel about my clothing close call. He was surprised my dress had caused a problem, but he also told me he’d noticed extra security in the visiting room that morning. He thought maybe it had something to do with a prisoner he’d seen being dragged back to his cell an hour earlier.

Fitbit Snit

Now that I was sitting down, I figured I’d check how many steps I’d taken so far that day, and I wanted to show Daniel my Fitbit. I figured the trek from the visitor check-in to the prison itself would register an impressive number of steps. When I looked at my wrist and pushed a button, Daniel was immediately shocked that they let me bring that in.

The guard in the booth behind me was also shocked. My prison naiveté was showing again. It turns out visitors are not allowed to have any device with Bluetooth capabilities because a savvy inmate can turn a Bluetooth device into a phone.

Who knew? I guess it just looked like a regular watch when I went through security. The guard confiscated my Fitbit and said he’d return it when I was leaving. I almost asked him if he’d be willing to wear it so I could get credit for his steps, but I figured I might be pushing things a little too far with that one.

Thankfully, that was the end of me causing trouble on visiting day one. Daniel was in a good mood. He was cheerful. He made jokes. He introduced me to other inmates in nearby cages. “Oh, there’s so-and-so. I told you about him. He’s my friend from yard.”

Friends and Monsters

Everyone was polite and friendly. It’s easy to forget I’m not meeting Daniel’s co-worker at an office party. Every one of these men is a murderer. That includes my friend with whom I get locked in a cage. It’s disheartening to think about all the lives that were changed and destroyed by these men. I see a guy reading Bible verses with his wife or another playing checkers with his sister.

But out in the world, these men were someone’s monsters.

Including Daniel.

I’m guessing it’s good they are all locked up.

The rest of our visit was pretty uneventful. We ate fruit cups with sporks. We talked about how fast our hair grows (Daniel is part of a prison Locks of Love program. He’s growing his hair out and says it’s the longest he can remember ever having it.)

I also asked him a lot of questions about his crime. I want to take advantage of these opportunities to talk to Daniel without being recorded. The more I work on the book, the more questions I have. I know all you readers have questions about Daniel’s motives and how he was able to do the horrific things he did.

There are also a lot of theories about Rachel Buffett.

I want all those answers too, guys. I think Daniel is telling me the truth, and it’s not always easy to hear. The deaths of Sam Herr and Julie Kibuishi were so avoidable. In 2010, Daniel Wozniak’s life was a disaster waiting to happen; he was a tornado of tragedy that swooped up those two innocent people.

It will be very interesting to see if any of what Daniel shared about Rachel comes out during her trial in September. Rachel Buffett was Daniel Wozniak’s entire life. His feelings for her do nothing to negate committing murder, but it does make it easier to follow how someone like Daniel could end up doing what he did.

Next Time…

In my next post, I’ll tell you about Sunday’s visit, more wardrobe infractions, and why the visiting room security was beefed up the entire weekend.

9 thoughts on “I’m Too Sexy for the Prison?”

  1. Thank you for shining some light on an otherwise dark & dingy set of circumstances. I find it refreshing that you do not pass judgement on DW for his crimes. As fellow human beings, that is not our job. I find your writings to be entertaining & informative & I look forward to every post. May God bless you in all you do.

  2. Surely you’re going to have to reveal yourself when you write the book. Why are you keeping your identity secret still?

  3. Hey there blue hair!! (How original huh?) I just started reading your blog on Sunday morning and I’ve been binge-read most of it. I am an avid reader but believe it or not this is the first blog I’ve ever read and it’s been hard to stop and even take pee breaks. (TMI?) I sometimes feel as though I’m reading my own words… the way you can love a “monster” but not the monstrous act is very much the way I am. Someone once said to me that I’m missing a healthy dose of fear. I disagree, I probably have too much fear but I also believe we as humans are so very complicated and it’s very rare that anyone is just plain evil with no redeeming qualities at all. I know what Daniel did is horrendous and he deserves to be exactly where he is, but that does not mean he’s undeserving of compassion and kindness. I struggle with those thoughts as I’m sure you do, because of Sam and Julie. I see the ravaging pain of their families and friends, and I falter…would I have compassion and kindness if I was in their shoes? I honestly can’t answer that…. I don’t know if it’s fortunate or not but I’m a very forgiving and compassionate person, and sometimes that’s my double edge sword. Unfortunately this tragedy can not be undone and for better or worse he’s going to live for some time to come…I hope with whatever time he has left he uses it for the greater good. When I see the faces of Sam’s and Julie’s parents, it’s so very hard to keep that stance but I think that they too would want him to be of some service to others until the time comes for him to complete his sentence. Anyway I really enjoy this blog and very much look forward to reading your book!!

  4. I know my previous comment is still awaiting moderation but I really felt compelled to write to you again.
    I just finished watching Dateline and 48 hours about this case and I’m actually feeling guilty about my own feelings about Daniel and my previous post, I can only imagine how you must feel. After seeing the haunting look on those poor parents faces and the horror they must face every second of every day without their children, I couldn’t shake the feeling that possibly blogs such as yours may in some way add to their grief. Is it the right thing to do, humanizing Daniel? Yes, he is more than that horrendous and unforgivable act but should we as a society give him any platform to speak or have his story told? Does that diminish the memories of his victims in some way? I truly don’t know the answers to those questions. After watching Julies mother hold her daughters blanket and close her eyes while inhaling, trying to get the scent of her daughter, brought me to tears. I can not imagine that kind of pain. Sam’s father is an amazing man and someone, anyone would be honored to call him dad. While I stand by everything I wrote yesterday, I now feel confused and upset for actually feeling that way.

  5. This comment is for Rachel Jayne and you…….. 3 months after my first daughter was born a man shot my mother….she died 9/4/1988. Going to the trial, seeing and hearing things made me want to scream, cry and run as fast and far as I could, but it couldn’t help! I hurt so bad!! Seeing the pictures of my Mom on the slab, in the morgue, with the giant hole in her stomach broke me….. This was in Texas. Life in prison is 60 years and he was an older man, we were afraid that he might get away with it. The DA asked for 65 years…..doesn’t sound as bad as life…..he died in prison. When I received the letter, letting me know he was dead, I literally fell to my knees. The PTSD I have had has made me afraid of EVERYONE. I had 2 more daughters, gosh my Mom would have loved to be a Grandmother! Ten years ago I took care of my Dad until he died, cancer. Nine years ago my sister was found, in her apartment, in her nightgown and in an outdoor garbage bag………I know someone knows something! The “sheriff” came up to my husband (of 3 months) and said “I sure hope this is a suicide, it would make things easier”. For who???? The one detective working on the case showed my husband and I all of the pictures, she was transferred. Podunk little town with a killer on the loose. When I hear/read how great this “friend”is……..I wonder if you could be friends with a man that killed my sister. A man that put a 100 pound woman into a trash bag put a scarf around her neck until she could no longer breathe. Could you? I am afraid of everyone! I wonder if this will happen to one of my daughters, friends, me. Has he gone into the gory details? Has he told you how or why he did this to two innocent people? If he were rel;eased, could you be his friend then?? Really?? You are his Friend????? Wow!!! I am going to see if you will post this.Will you write back to me? I lost my Mom and my Sister to people like Daniel, I hurt everyday, I understand the loss of the family and friends…………..do you????????????

    1. My heart aches for you. I knew Sharon Tate and I look at her picture, and I have tears in my eyes every single time.
      This killer, DW, is a sick monster. Just because he doesn’t look like Charles Manson doesn’t make him any less of a monster. He is the worst kind of monster, because he looks like to every day fat slob. His family is not poor. He is not the product of a broken home. He is just a profoundly lazy, perverted psychopath. The end.

    2. Oh my! Mari, the horrific pain and fear you must embark on a daily basis is unfathomable. I pray that the monster who took your sisters life is found and punished to the MAX! I’m in Oklahoma, so not far from Texas, even though Texas is huge. I have befriended a man in an ODOC center for 24 years for a crime that has been proven that he didn’t commit. Those are the ones who need friends, especially when family throws them.under the bus and turns their back on him. Good luck to you. I know this doesn’t help, but hang in there.

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