First, I’m going to admit I was wrong when I suggested in my last post that Rachel Buffett might be choosing to have a bench trial instead of a jury trial. I only wondered about this when I noticed there had been no mention of a jury in Rachel’s previous two hearings. Maybe I watch too much TV, but it would be an interesting defense strategy to leave Rachel Buffett’s fate entirely in the hands of Judge Sheila Hanson.
That is not the case. The jury selection process for Rachel’s trial will begin on Tuesday, September fourth, at nine am.
I know I’ve said this before, and I’ve probably gotten your hopes up in the past, but folks, I really think this time it’s going to happen. After eight years, Rachel Buffett will finally have her day in court. This will be her chance to clear her name and prove she was not an accessory (after the fact) to the murders of Sam Herr or Julie Kibuishi.
It’s important to point out that Rachel is not being charged for the actual murders of Sam or Julie. A thorough and arduous investigation by the Costa Mesa Police hasn’t turned up enough evidence to prove Rachel’s involvement was equal to Daniel Wozniak’s.
However, even during Wozniak’s trial, lead investigator Lt. Ed Everett admitted on the stand that he believed Rachel Buffett should be facing the same capital murder charges as her ex-fiancée.
Admittedly, I’m more curious to hear about the investigation into Rachel’s case than I was about Daniel’s.
I had a lot more information about Daniel and his murder investigation. I also knew Daniel Wozniak was not going to take the stand, and that meant his own confession was going to weigh heavily on the jury’s decision. I was sure Daniel would be found guilty and that he’d likely get the death penalty. Daniel Wozniak’s trial held very few surprises for me.
Rachel’s Buffett’s trial is a complete unknown.
During the August 29th hearing, it was established that her trial is expected to take ten days. The amount of time surprised me, considering her charges aren’t that complicated.
The police say she lied to them during their investigation into Sam’s and Julie’s murders. Rachel has claimed this was all a misunderstanding. She had no knowledge and gave no intentional assistance to Daniel Wozniak regarding either of the murders. Rachel Buffett didn’t confess to anything. Daniel Wozniak confessed to everything.
I have no doubt that Rachel and her defense team will strongly fight any charges against her.
If Rachel or any of her supporters (whom I’ve nicknamed “The Blonde Coalition”) are worried about Rachel’s fate, they certainly aren’t showing any signs of concern while in the courtroom. I believe both her parents and all three of her siblings were in court on Wednesday showing united support from behind Rachel, who was now officially sitting at the defendants’ table (I believe she stood at a podium previously, but I haven’t been to every one of Rachel’s court appearances).
Steve and Raquel Herr, the parents of murder victim Sam Herr, would be the ones to ask. They have been to every court appearance. Steve was recently quoted in The LA Times, saying, “We’re ready for another jury trial.”
I don’t doubt that for one minute.
Despite of my friendship with the man who murdered their only son, they’ve shown me nothing but politeness and consideration. Sitting outside of Courtroom 41 last Wednesday morning, I wished Raquel Herr “good luck,” regarding the upcoming hearing. It was the best I could think of at the time.
She smiled at me and thanked me. She also said something I couldn’t quite make out because of her Spanish accent… but I understood the gist of it.
She appreciated my sentiment, but luck wouldn’t be necessary. Jesus has got this.
I don’t doubt that either.
More updates to come as the trial progresses.