Hello dear readers. First, let me apologize for taking so long to get another post out. I’m sure some of you were worried that I’ve lost interest in Daniel and this story. Maybe even hoping (I’m looking at you, fake Matt Murphy).
Nope. A LOT has been happening the past couple of weeks – including Christmas. But I’m back, so let’s talk trial! Murderer Musings TV Lawyer MMTVL is back on the case.
It’s an emotional experience, being in that courtroom. The sadness and anger coming from the victims’ families is palpable. Many supporters show up for both Julie and Sam every day: mothers, fathers, sisters, brothers, aunts, uncles, cousins and friends, all there to see that justice is done for their loved ones.
Daniel Wozniak has me.
I’m not his only supporter, but I’m the only one who didn’t heed his wish that we not come to the trial. I’m stubborn. I want to get as much of the story as possible.
He’s okay with it now.
Now, before any trolls go crazy in my comment section, when I say “supporter,” I mean someone who is Daniel’s friend. He has been found guilty of some insanely horrible crimes. I do not support them. This doesn’t mean I’m going to stop being his friend. Let’s be honest, I always figured he’d be found guilty. He never claimed to be an innocent man.
I had trouble finding a seat on day one of the trial, so I decided I better get to the courthouse super early on day two.
Guess what? NOT necessary.
First off, there was no one on the eighth floor when I arrived at about 8:15 am. I probably should have known it wouldn’t be as busy when I didn’t see any news vans outside. Also, I forgot that court was starting at 9:30 am instead of 9:00 am. Live and learn.
The First Witness For The Prosecution
The first witness of the day was Joseph Niebles, a special agent for the FBI (cool, right?) . He testified about Google searches that were found on computers in Daniel and Rachel’s apartment.
Right after Niebles took the stand, Scott Sanders asked for a sidebar (I’m not actually sure about the technical term, but the lawyers and the judge went into a back room for about ten minutes).
I’m guessing Sanders was trying to keep the jury from hearing about some pretty incriminating searches. He didn’t win that one. So a long list went up on the PowerPoint screen, including “Making sure a body is not found,” “Quick ways to kill people,” and “tux and party rentals.”
There was no cross examination of this witness.
MMTVL would like to know how Special Agent Niebles could be sure that the searches were made by Daniel Wozniak as opposed to Rachel Buffet, who also lived in this apartment.
The Second Witness For The Prosecution
The next witness was Lester James McKinney (apologies for any name misspellings – witnesses spell their names aloud for the record, but sometimes people were mumbly or spoke too quickly), a friend of Sam’s.
Some interesting information came up in questioning. Lester and Sam became friends while working at the same company in 2008. He met Julie through Sam.
Lester and Julie had mutual interests such and dance and fashion, and they were pretty close. He was another witness brought forth by the prosecution to show that Sam and Julie were not romantically involved. He stated that Sam protected Julie like a big brother would.
For the cross examination of Lester Mckinney, MMTVL had nothing on Scott Sanders. During questioning, Lester admitted Julie was attracted to Sam and that Lester and Julie had discussed her curiosity about the size of Sam’s penis. The question was answered when Sam “whipped out his penis and flashed it around” as a joke when he’d been drinking at a party. It didn’t sound like this was nefarious in any way, but it’s not exactly brother and sister behavior either.
I’ve always wondered why the texts sent to Julie on the night of her murder repeatedly mentioned that there would be “no sex” that night. It would be weird to bring that up again and again when you’re just in a platonic relationship with someone.
Going along with the prosecution’s claim, in one of Julie’s replies to “sham” Sam, she responded “Ew,” and said the two of them were like “bro and sis.”
I don’t know. I’d think she would have asked, “Dude, why do you keep bringing up sex?” She did say she wouldn’t be spending the night.
Matt Murphy claimed that Daniel believed Julie and Sam were sleeping together because, as Lester McKinney stated on the stand, “Julie was always with Sam.”
What do you all think? Be sure to leave a comment!
The Third Witness For The Prosecution
The third prosecution witness of the day was a young man named Wesley Freilich. Wesley has the unfortunate honor of being the sixteen year old “ATM Kid” who led police to Daniel Wozniak after being arrested for using Sam Herr’s ATM card.
Wesley talked about meeting Daniel as a ten year old. He didn’t have a father growing up, and Daniel had befriended the kid while the two were doing theater together. Wesley had respected Daniel and saw him as a big brother type who he could go to for advice.
Even though the two of them had not been in contact for a couple of years, when Daniel approached Wesley in 2010 with a money making opportunity, Wesley agreed to help Daniel in spite of his own misgivings. He became even more uncomfortable when told to wear a hat and sunglasses whenever he used the ATM card to take out cash. He was supposed to get the maximum amount of cash every day, using the PIN number that Daniel had supplied.
MMTVL really wants to know how Daniel got Sam’s PIN number. This isn’t something Scott Sanders could learn from a cross examination of Wesley, but since we were on the subject…
During Wesley’s time on the stand, Matt Murphy did a pretty good job of showing how Daniel had betrayed the trust of this kid who looked up to him.
Daniel lied to him about the legality of what he was doing, and ended up getting Wesley into a heap of trouble. It was after using Sam’s ATM card to order a pizza that the FBI was able to track the card’s activity, and they swarmed Wesley’s home (helicopters included). The sixteen year old was put in handcuffs on his front lawn for all his neighbors to see. As one would imagine, he was terrified.
During police questioning, the confused Wesley told everything about how he had come into possession of a missing man’s ATM card. Remember, at this point in the investigation, the police still believed that Sam Herr was on the run after murdering Julie in his apartment.
During the defense’s cross examination, Scott Sanders focused on any changes Wesley had noticed in his friend “Dan.” Wesley said that during this time period, Daniel was agitated and very stressed out, which was completely unlike him.
MMTVL doesn’t see how knowing this about Daniel’s behavior at that time can be used as a “defense.” It isn’t that difficult for Matt Murphy to say, “Of course he was stressed out, he’d just murdered the card holder.”
You couldn’t help but to feel bad for Wesley, whose life was permanently changed because of his unsuspecting involvement in a double murder scheme. I’m not sure what type of punishment the law will have for him, but Wesley testified that day without having an immunity deal. Pretty brave.
During the lunch break I told Wesley that I thought he’d done a good job on the stand. The whole situation had to be intimidating even for the now-twenty one year old. I wanted to ask him about his feelings toward Daniel now, but I’m a blogger, and he was a witness. Raquel Herr had to remind us of that when she quietly told Wesley’s mother that he shouldn’t talk to me.
I felt terrible. I took the stairs so I could get out of there quickly. MMTVL really should have known better.
Okay, it’s going to take a couple more posts to cover the rest of the guilt portion of the trial. I won’t take so long to post next time.
Then, we’ll talk about the gut-wrenching penalty phase. By the time you all read this post, there will probably be a jury decision about whether Daniel should get life without the possibility of parole (LWOP) or the death penalty (DP).
Next up: Guilty – Part Three