Lock Down

Lately I’ve been thinking a lot about what to write here. There’s not much new happening with Daniel’s appeal yet.  And if there’s any new information I’m learning about alternate motives for the murders, Daniel’s actual timeline on the day(s) Sam and Julie were killed, or the chance that Sam’s cell phone wasn’t always in Daniel’s possession, I’m saving it for now.

That leaves us with Daniel’s daily life on death row as the main blog topic.

On Thursday January nineteenth, I got the first of numerous emails from the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation (CDCR) stating that parts of San Quentin State Prison were on lockdown. That included East Block where Daniel is housed. Visits and inmate programs were cancelled until further notice.

Unfortunately, there was no reason given for the lockdown, but my imagination had field day. I couldn’t find anything online about a prison riot, inmate escape, or hostage situation, so I decided it couldn’t be too terrible, right? But what warrants locking down a maximum-security prison?

The Flu!

San Quentin is experiencing a major flu epidemic. Inmates have flooded a local hospital and the SQSP infirmary is overflowing into other areas of the prison. Inmates are on a “modified” schedule until further notice. This has included the cancellation of most inmate programs and classes, the elimination of yard time, and being forced to wear masks when moving about the prison. And all visits were revoked indefinitely.

I had a visit planned for that weekend, but luckily, I’d cancelled it because I didn’t want to drive in the snow over the grapevine.

Last October, the inmates were offered flu shots. Daniel declined. He thought it was illogical because the possible side effects of the shot were the exact same as the list of flu symptoms. I’ve never had a flu shot. I know people who swear by having one every year, but I don’t get the flu very often and when I do, it’s short lived (knock wood).

Daniel is not sick, by the way. He tells me he pretty much never gets sick. He’s blessed with a strong immune system and he’s very careful to keep his cell clean. Also, he’s made sure to wipe down the inmate phone with bleach before using it. I guess that’s not much different from me wiping off a grocery cart handle with a Clorox wipe.

Not having the flu hasn’t kept Daniel worry free. So far two inmates have died. One was an older man, but the second was a man in his thirties only a couple of cells down from Daniel. It must be scary to be sick in prison. During an epidemic like this, I’m sure it’s not that easy to get to see a doctor. I figure it’s also nerve-wracking to be healthy and yet locked down with numerous contagious sick people.

The Reality of Prison

I envision this world of Daniel’s, which is so how far removed my own, and it makes me even more curious about how he lives. I mean that in terms of living and coping.

I think everyone has a mental picture of what we think prison is like. If you’re anything like me, you’ve even wondered how you would handle being incarcerated. A lot of it would depend on where you were locked up, and for how long, of course. Could I survive the world of Orange is the New Black? And when I do imagine this awful scenario for myself, I’m always innocent of the crime. Doing time you don’t deserve seems unlivable.

You just have to watch the ID Channel to know innocent people get put in prison all the time. Of course, that’s usually because they let the police question them without a lawyer. (Come on, even if you can’t afford an attorney, one will be provided for you.) That’s the first thing you learn from watching Dateline.

Imagine if Scott Sanders had been Daniel’s defense attorney from the beginning. I bet Scott Sanders imagined that himself quite a few times during the trial. Whenever I re-watch Daniel’s confession video, I can’t help thinking, “Shut up, stupid. Ask for a lawyer.”

Daniel Wozniak is guilty, though, and should be behind bars. So, I don’t really feel bad for him that he didn’t have the wherewithal to ask for a lawyer. Because Daniel is remorseful for his crimes, and he knows be deserves to be punished, doing his time is made somewhat easier.

Of course, the fact is, Daniel spending the rest of his life behind bars won’t bring back Sam Herr and Julie Kibuishi. Even if Daniel is one day executed by the state of California, he will still have had a much longer life than either of his victims. Nothing about that is fair. I’m hopeful Sam’s and Julie’s families find a little bit of solace in knowing that Daniel Wozniak isn’t walking the streets. His life is greatly restricted. He’s lost his freedom and his future.

Long before I met Daniel Wozniak, the thought of San Quentin’s Death Row would bring to mind images of bars and bricks surrounded by ice cold water. The thought of doing life in that prison, or worse yet, being on death row, would give me the same chills down my spine that I experienced while touring Alcatraz prison. That’s still the case, but now I also imagine inmate yoga classes (which are currently cancelled because yoga takes place on the yard).

I understand some people may look at Daniel’s current existence and feel it is far too cushy and “livable” for the likes of a cold-blooded murderer. I get that. Admittedly Daniel is living a full life behind bars, but it’s not a life I would want to live. Daniel will never be as relaxed and comfortable in his cell as I am right now in my house.

He might argue that one with me. He’s a strong proponent of prayer and meditation as a way to inner peace. I’d still rather be in front of my fireplace, a glass of wine in my hand, and my family surrounding me.

What Do You Want To Know?

Readers – Please let me know in the comments if there are any specific aspects of Daniel’s life that you’d like me to cover.


The next post topic will be on Daniel’s ex-fiancée, Rachel Buffett. I was in court during her “pre-trial” hearing on Friday January 27th, and her case has been postponed again. She’s back on March 17th (St. Patrick’s Day!)

24 thoughts on “Lock Down”

  1. I find it alarming you label this monster as your “friend.” Dan is no one’s friend. He’s a narcissistic psychopath who would betray anyone to serve his needs.

    1. Great comment! Couldn’t agree more.
      Too bad he didn’t catch the flu and die.
      That would have saved tax payers of Cal a lot of money.

  2. I just stumbled on this case and your blog is fascinating. I have a true obsession with trying to understand why people commit such heinous crimes. You could tell Daniel was more in love with Rachel than she was with him. I am most fascinated with her aspect of the crimes. Your blog is the only way that I knew that her case is still pending. IMOP Rachel is very cunning and would have been able to manipulate Daniel very easily. For such a “smart” guy as people describe Daniel, he was not too intelligent in regards to executing the crime. As you point out, most people know you never discuss any details without a lawyer present. Plus who in their right mind thought the ATM would not be traced back to Daniel at some point? Did you ever discuss within your blog how Daniel knew the ATM pin number? I believe the motive simply came down to Daniel’s insecurities and web-of-lies created to keep Rachel happy. Rachel was a trophy to him and he was intent on doing whatever it took to keep her. What is crazy is most people would go out and get a job, and try to enjoy your new marriage even though I believe their marriage would not have lasted. Please keep us updated on Rachel.

    1. Thank you so much for the comment. I agree with a lot of what you’ve said. They had an interesting and competitive relationship, and Daniel and I have talked about them a lot. If Daniel and Rachel had never met, Julie and Sam would be alive.

      I’ve been told it was Rachel who gave Daniel Sam’s PIN.

      1. According to the Sleuth podcast, which also has interviewed Dan Wozniak, Dan saw Sam’s PIN when Sam lent him $500 to put towards his past due rent in the week before the murder.

        There’s plenty of evidence that Rachel at the very least knew about the crime in advance and she has lied about her level of knowledge about their financial state, clearly.

  3. Hello from Denmark :-)
    I would like to hear about
    the everyday life on Death
    Row. Daniel’s day…how is
    his daily routine etc….and
    how does lock down affect the
    prisoners?….thanks for a great

    1. Hello from Orange County! My biological father was born in Copenhagen. I look forward to going there one day.

      I asked Daniel to write me an overview of a typical day and I’ll blog that when he does.

      He is taking classes at a community college (online). He goes to a room in the prison and watches the lectures on a tablet.

      He likes to experiment with cooking too. I recently sent him a book filled with jailhouse recipes.

      Thank you for reading the blog and taking time to comment.

  4. Guy is a psychopath and you want to give hm time of day? Give it up, you are probably just an annoying ant that wasn’t given any mummy love as a kid, go to hell!

  5. Hello,

    Thank you for your work on this website. I went to high school with Dan, and even acted with him a couple times in our drama class. That this whole scenario is a tragedy goes without saying and is an understatement. I’ve been following your blog for a little bit now and am always interested in new posts, hence me commenting here.

    As for what readers want to know, for starters I think a breakdown of Dan’s day-to-day life would be interesting. What books is he reading, how does he fill his time, etc. Any conflicts with inmates or prison officials? I doubt it because he was always a joyful person.

    Thanks for your interesting perspective and dedication.

  6. Hello from West Virginia!

    When I first stumbled across this blog, I had a huge fascination with death-row. Dan is definitely one of my favorite prisoners to learn about. I’d love to meet him/write him one day. He’s a very talented singer, and as a musician myself (and my name, ironically, Dan as well), I would love to know how much he sings in his cell, or if he entertains in prison.

    Also, he looks very good to be where he’s at! Lol

    Thanks for this!

    1. I’m glad to know I’m not the only person out there who finds death row fascinating.

      Daniel is doing well. He’s much happier in San Quentin than he was in the Orange County Jail.

      He doesn’t sing for the other prisoners (not yet at least), but he does occasionally sing to me on the phone.

      Thank you for your comment.

        1. I actually have no idea why that’s there. I thought you did it on your end. Hmmm. Well that’s odd, isn’t it?

    1. You are right. I’m defintely not judgmental. But I don’t blame people for their feelings about Daniel. Seeing the human side of a convicted murderer isn’t for everyone.

  7. This macabre mystery presented in the form of a Broadway musical seems fitting, (considering the killer’s background & all). It’s all so very “Hitchcockey” if there were such a word.

    1. That would be some crazy irony, huh?

      I say yes to “Hitchockey” being a word.

      Thanks for commenting.

  8. Is it Julie “Juri” or the other way around?
    And why is there a 2 hr variable in your drive time? 6 to 8 hours? What could possibly happen to extend a drive by 2 hours on the regs?

    1. Douglas, Julie’s Driver License reads, “Juri Julie Kibuishi.”

      Driving between NorCal and SoCal can vary by a few hours depending on the time of day and is about 6 hours without traffic but over 8.5 hours with traffic. Driving through parts of the East Bay Area can range from 30 minutes to two hours because of commuters and construction. If you decide to drive through The City (San Francisco) instead of the East Bay, then your drive will get quite long.

  9. I have a question for you and I hope you will answer this: why are you so fascinated by that despicable human being?
    You sound like a groupie. Is it fascinating for you to really get to know a killer? Why the adoration. His painting is nothing out oft he ordinary, you think it is art. Why. Because Dan did it?
    The fact ist: he killed two people for money and to cover up his crime.
    You said that you read everything about true crime, so you must be Aware of psychopaths and narcissists? Ted Bundy comes to mind. A person who was known as charming and goodlooking. This guy acted as if he was a good natured human being, but he killed a lot of women.
    So, Daniel appeared to be a nice guy, and he was charming. Why not? A lot of sociopath can act.
    Then he was in financial trouble and he comes up with the idea of killing his friend Sam. And to cover this up he lures innocent Julie into Sam’s appartment and he shoots her.
    He dismemberd Sam’s body and scattered the body parts in a park. He tells his brother to get rid oft he evidence and he tells this teen to get Sam‘s money from the ATM.
    Is this intelligent and clever or is it stupid? He implicates himself by saying he found Julie with to gunshot wounds to the head. Only the killer and the police would hav known this.
    And he finally confesses tot he crimes. He did it for money and he tried to make Sam look like a rapist and murderer.
    What is so great about Dan? He is a sociopath, an unsuccessful actor, could not pay his rent. In other words: a failure.
    Nobody hast he right to kill another human being. I am from Germany, we don’t have the death penalty. Dan deserves life in prison for what he did. I don’t see any remorse.
    By making him into the hero of your blog you are mocking the two victims.

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