The following blog post may contain stories or statements that could show a human side to accused murderer Daniel Wozniak.

Reader discretion is advised.

Seriously, Though…

Why am I telling you these personal things about Daniel?

I know I have written a lot about the case and the legal side of this story lately (and dealt with some very cranky readers).   I guess I just wanted to get back to the basics, so to speak, and return to my original reason for writing this blog in the first place.

I want to understand Daniel.

I want to figure out the person behind the alleged murderer.  I know that many people just assume that he is a monster and write him off.   That is not who I am.

So, here are some aspects of Daniel that don’t make the headlines…

When he was a toddler, he loved watching the Tonight Show with Johnny Carson. He would stand in front of the TV and mimic Johnny doing his traditional mimed golf swing. When his parents asked their youngest what he wanted Santa to bring him for Christmas that year, he answered “I wan a my ro phone (translation: I want a microphone), which he received.   He then took it with him everywhere, annoying his older siblings by constantly shouting in to it, “Lay ees a gennle man!”

You can figure out when people originally met Daniel by the name they use for him. People who knew him as a young child still call him “Danny.” Those who met him as an adult call him “Dan” (the crime took place during the Dan years).  I started calling him “Daniel” when I first wrote to him out of politeness and not wanting to assume familiarity. It just stuck.

He hates Pepsi! I learned that on the first night I met him, six years ago in the theatre office, when he was refusing to let me sell cans of Pepsi to audience members. I have never gotten a logical answer from him about WHY he hates Pepsi, and when I ask him about it, he looks at me like I’ve asked him why he doesn’t drink kerosene.  It’s not just a preference for Coke, he despises Pepsi. (Writer’s note – I’m fine with Pepsi.)

After numerous drunken, foolish and sometimes humiliating mishaps, he finally came to the realization that he can NOT handle Tequila. (Writer’s note – I’m fine with Tequila.)

His favorite book is The Count of Monte Cristo. Once I accidentally called it The Count of Monte Crisco, and he laughed. (Me again – I haven’t read it.)

Daniel genuinely believes that jail has improved him as a human being.  He would say that he is now a much more considerate and open-minded person since his incarceration.

He’s a pretty good “jail cook.” Orange is the New Black is fairly accurate in its depictions of inmates creating delicious recipes using just the items they purchase from the commissary.  (I’m an OK “out in the world cook.”  I once sent Daniel some pictures of a vegetarian casserole that I made.  Other inmates joked that sending pictures of food to jail is like cruel and unusual punishment. Yep, making my blog about ME again.)

He loves the comic strip Pearls Before Swine.  I seriously don’t know anyone else below the age of 70 who still has a favorite newspaper comic strip.  This is one of his qualities that make him seem to me like he should have been born in 1935.

Another one is that he uses the word “bozo” all the time. “That Bozo got a write up from the deputy.”

He has started calling God “Kramer.” This began when I said something about “the cosmos” during a conversation that the two of us had regarding religion. Cosmos = Cosmo = Kramer (Seinfeld reference).

He lost a really ridiculous wager a couple of months ago.  A fellow inmate told Daniel that he could “do between four and five hundred sit-ups in one minute,” betting him a shot of coffee that he could prove it.  Daniel lost when the other inmate then proceeded to do five sit-ups. Get it?  Between four and five hundred…

He quotes Family Guy, South Park and The Simpsons regularly. (Me too.)

He’s annoyed by TV news weather reports.  He  figures if you want a weather report, you can turn on The Weather Channel.  He’d much prefer his weather Ollie Williams (Family Guy) style:

And now, here’s Ollie Williams with the Blackuweather Forecast. Ollie?


Thanks, Ollie.

Once when I was going on a trip, he sent me six envelopes, with a specific date next to my name on the address, to take with me.  Each letter had a cheesy joke, and a quote of the day. For example:

Joke of the day: A man applies for a job at a very low budget zoo.  He gets hired, but the manager tells him that they recently lost their gorilla and if he wants the job, he will have wear a gorilla costume and pretend to be the zoo’s gorilla for a couple of days.  He agrees. After a while, he starts having fun performing for the visitors.  People are clapping and taking pictures and he gets so involved that he even climbs the wall of the pen and stands on the top.  Suddenly he slips and falls into the neighboring lion exhibit.  The lion stares him down.  Terrified, he starts running.  The lion starts chasing him and finally corners him and pins him to the ground.  The man is screaming at the top of his lungs, “please somebody help me!”  The lion raises a massive paw, slaps the man across the face and says “Shut up idiot! You’re going to get us both fired!”

Quote of the day: No one saves us but ourselves.  No one can and no one may.  We ourselves must walk the path.” – the Buddha

He entered me into a jail football pool.  I came in 3rd place.  I think that means that someone owes me soup.

He likes playing practical jokes.

He is friends with almost everyone at the OC Jail.  It doesn’t matter the classification of band color.   The majority of the deputies like him too.  I’ve seen it in their interactions.

He’s generous.  If he has something, he will share it.  In jail, this often means buying snacks for other people from the jail commissary.


He likes to use analogies to explain his thinking. (And if you’re curious, I actually do that a lot, too.)

He can be cocky, arrogant and self-aggrandizing

He really wants to accomplish something that he believes will help others.

That brings us full circle I guess – back to the case.  Daniel honestly believes that maybe something good can come out of all the bad that has happened.  I’m sure there are people who think that is impossible.

I hope he’s right.

That Surprised Me

Author’s Note: Much of what I write about on this site is anecdotal information related to me by Daniel Wozniak and other sources. In many cases, this information is not verifiable, and should not necessarily be taken as fact.

I recently had dinner with a couple of close friends who have been supportive of my blog.  They asked what was new and bizarre in my world and I told them that Steve Herr, the father of victim Sam Herr, had commented on the blog’s Facebook page.

They both gasped.  Actual simultaneous gasps.  Then they jumped on their phones so they could read the exchange.

Between bites of my vegan truffle burger, I pointed out that Steve Herr was very cordial in his postings. Unlike some previous commenters, he did not personally attack me for being friends with Daniel.

If I were asked to come up with an adjective to describe Steve Herr’s tone, it would be “frustrated.”

I’d imagined that eventually there would be some sort of contact between me and the victims’ families, and I won’t lie to you, the prospect of it made me very nervous.

I’m not ashamed of my friendship with Daniel Wozniak, but I understand that most people believe he is a vicious killer. Certainly no one has the right to feel that way more than the loved ones of Sam Herr and Julie Kibuishi.

So, if Steve Herr had started throwing names and accusations toward me, no one could blame him.

He didn’t.

These two families have suffered unimaginable grief over the murders of their children, but to make matters worse, they have been waiting more than 5 years for some kind of justice and closure.  There seems to be no end in sight.

Let me take my friendship with Daniel out of the equation here for a moment…

  • If my child had been brutally murdered…
  • If someone had confessed to the murder…
  • If that person then pleaded “not guilty” and 5 years later, he still hadn’t been to trial…
  • If the proceedings were being held up because the defense attorney was throwing around a bunch of legal mumbo-jumbo that seemed like it had NO relevance to my child’s murder case…

Well, I’m pretty sure I’d be losing it!  I think I would despise the accused killer and want nothing more than to see him suffer for what he did to my family.  Also, I’d be pretty pissed off is someone was publicly announcing a friendship with him.

But Steve Herr had only a request for me:

Ask Dan one question; Did he murder Sam and Julie? Then, post his answer. Everything you have posted is conjecture, which is your right. However, just ask him that one question. His response, whatever he says, should make great reading!”

I have asked tough questions,  and I will continue to ask without expecting answers… at least not necessarily true answers.  I’ve never bothered to go into much detail about Daniel’s responses, because they are purposefully vague and contradictory.  He has definitely learned his way around legalese in the past five years, and he’s a little cocky about it too.

Nonetheless, I didn’t want Steve Herr (or anyone else for that matter) to think that I don’t care about the truth.  I do.  I just don’t know what it is.  Conjecture is all I have.

I tried my best to reply to his question, and I gave my opinion based on what Daniel has and hasn’t told me.  I suggested that maybe Daniel didn’t murder Sam and Julie.  It’s not surprising Steve Herr wrote back that Daniel is lying to me.

I never forget that Daniel might lie to me about the case.  From the beginning, I kind of assumed he would, or at least that he’d keep the truth from me.

Accused murderers get interviewed all the time.  When some guy in an orange jumpsuit tells Dateline‘s Keith Morrison that he’s never hurt a fly – well, I think maybe we all listen with a bit of skepticism.

Daniel and I talked on the phone a couple of days later, and I was completely dumbfounded when he told me that Steve Herr had gone to the judge with the accusation that important information about the case was being shared with me, a person with a public forum.

That surprised me.

Update: Mr. Herr has said that he did not go to the judge with this accusation and that he’s never mentioned this blog. I want to remind everyone, as I wrote, the above paragraphs refer to a conversation I had with Daniel, and must be considered anecdotal. I apologize for any confusion or upset this may have caused, and urge readers to consider the source and the context of everything they read on this site, particularly information provided by Daniel and other principles in this case. — murderermusings

We live in a world where almost anyone can have a public forum at the push of a button.

I spend a lot of time thinking and re-thinking about everything I write in this blog.  I don’t take it lightly that there are real human beings behind this story and they are in pain.  I’ve worried – a lot – about having what I write be misinterpreted.

So what to do?  I do my best.

I do my best to be honest and clear.  I do my best to be thoughtful and considerate. I do my best to not judge without facts, and to interpret what I am given.  I do my best to engage and entertain the reader.

I have my editor and my writer friends read over all my posts before they get published. Sometimes one of them might even suggest a title for the post that I think is clever and attention grabbing – later to learn that it just caused more courtroom drama.

It turns out that the title  of my post, “This Is How Daniel Bought Me Lunch,” may have been misunderstood.

It was a joke.  I’m going to add humor to my posts, but I don’t mean to be disrespectful.

I can unequivocally state that Daniel did not arrange for the producer of 20/20 to buy me a $7.00 mini pizza and an iced tea.  He has no control over what I write on my blog, and he is not trying to bribe me with the lunch special at CPK.

That was another tidbit that was brought up in court last Friday.  I’m glad I was out of town visiting family during that one.  I’m not sure how I would have reacted if I’d been there.  I’m guessing I would just sink down into the wooden bench and try to keep a blank expression on my face.

Since I wasn’t there, everything I know about the blog being mentioned in court was told to me by Daniel.

There was a comment on the Facebook page hinting that telling me this information was Daniel’s way of flirting with me. (Um, it totally is, btw — The Editor Who Suggested That Troublesome Title)

The idea of using, “Hey beautiful, I know I’m an accused murderer and I might get the death penalty, but since I got your blog mentioned in court, well I thought that might win you over,” made my stomach hurt with laughter. In my head, I heard the words in the voice of Jemaine Clement from Flight of the Conchords, especially as heard in the song “Business Time.”

I’m not going to pretend that I’m writing as a journalist.  I’m friends with Daniel.

That does not negate my ability to believe that he may be guilty… of everything.

I do occasionally question and play devil’s advocate when aspects of the case make no sense to me. That doesn’t mean I’m working toward any personal end-game as far as how this all plays out.

I’m just sharing my opinions and thoughts, and discussing what it is like to be friends with the man at the center of this storm.

What I write often shows the human side of Daniel. I am sorry if that is hurtful for some. I’m simply trying to share my experiences.

Human beings are complicated.  That’s just how it is. It’s never black and white. If People can call him the “Grisly Groom,” and make him look like a terrifying monster, then why can’t a blogger write about his human side?

That’s what the next post will be all about: Showing the side of Daniel that I get to see.  I’ll share some of favorite “Danielisms” with you.

There’s More To The Story On Social Media

Hey folks,  just a quick post this week.  There’s a lot going on with Daniel’s case right now.

Most of it is related to the larger issue shaking up the Orange County courts.   Daniel’s lawyer, Scott Sanders, has made accusations of prosecutorial misconduct in Daniel’s case, and in numerous other cases spanning the past thirty years.  There is plenty on the web and in print about it.  I’ve been posting links whenever I find them on the my Facebook page… which I hope you’ll follow!

The Daniel Wozniak Is My Friend Facebook page gets a lot of feedback that doesn’t appear here on the blog. There have been some pretty intense conversations there with people you might be surprised to see.

On that subject… I’ve had a few surprises in the past week.

Steve Herr, father of murder victim Sam Herr, is one of those people I never expected to see posting on my Facebook page.  He has been polite and forthcoming.  He’s asked valid questions, and I’ve tried to answer them.

My answers may have been misconstrued, though.  It is my understanding (Daniel told me — I wasn’t there) that this lil’ old blog actually became a topic of discussion in court last week.  More than once.

I didn’t see that coming, so I need a little time to suss it all out and write a proper post about how it feels to interact with Mr. Herr, and also about my own anxieties and thoughts on becoming this involved with the story.

Next week: a full length blog post!

And if you’re on Twitter, please follow my tweets!