Daniel Wozniak’s Fiancée Appears In Court

On Friday, January 27th, Rachel Buffett appeared at the Orange County Superior Courthouse for a pre-trial motion. I decided to go to court that day to see if there is anything new or interesting happening with her case.

If you’re just joining the blog, let me give you a little back-story.

Rachel Buffett’s Involvement

Rachel Mae Buffett is the former fiancée of convicted killer Daniel Wozniak. Daniel is sitting on death row in San Quentin for the murders of two college students, Samuel Herr and Julie “Juri” Kibuishi, which took place in May 2010.

Daniel Wozniak confessed to both murders. He admitted to murdering Sam Herr in order to clean out Herr’s bank account. In his confession, Daniel Wozniak also stated that he used Sam Herr’s cell phone and pretended to be Sam Herr while texting with Herr’s friend, Julie Kibuishi. The purpose was to lure Julie Kibuishi to Sam Herr’s apartment to murder her as well. Daniel Wozniak claimed he killed Kibuishi with the purpose of framing Sam Herr for her murder.

It was a complicated and horrifying scheme, made even more disturbing by Daniel Wozniak’s decapitation of Sam Herr’s body, and later setting a scene to make it look as though Sam Herr had sexually assaulted Julie Kibuishi before murdering her.

Daniel Wozniak confessed to doing all these terrible things alone, and he never officially implicated anyone else in the crimes.

Stories Changing

Rachel Buffett and Daniel Wozniak were scheduled to get married the following week, and the two of them were almost always together. Yet Rachel went along with Daniel’s assertion that she had no previous knowledge or involvement with either murder.

In fact, it was Rachel who handed important evidence over to the police. She appeared to be another victim of this crime: a woman whose life had just been overturned because the man she loved had confessed to being a murderer.

However, the police had a lot of questions for Rachel Buffett, and they weren’t necessarily satisfied with her answers.

Early in the investigation, Rachel echoed Daniel Wozniak’s story by telling the police there was an unknown third man with Sam Herr and Daniel Wozniak on the day Sam was murdered.

After Daniel admitted to making up the third man in order to throw the police off his trail, Rachel claimed she had never actually seen a third man. She was only reiterating what Daniel had told her because she took it for granted what he’d told her was true.

But it seemed to the police Rachel was helping Daniel lie to them. There were also suspicions that Rachel knew Daniel was texting Julie Kibuishi with Sam Herr’s phone. Rachel and Daniel both told the authorities Rachel was asleep in their apartment when he slipped out to murder Julie. Yet there was a record of Rachel on Facebook at that time… actually sending a casual message to Julie Kibuishi.

And there were witnesses from the theatre who said Rachel was heard mentioning a missing or possibly murdered “friend” before Julie’s body was even found.

Rachel Buffett Charged

In November 2012, the Orange County District Attorney charged Rachel Buffett with three felony counts of being an accessory to double homicide. She spent three weeks in jail (including Thanksgiving), and was eventually released on a $100,000.00 bail.

The maximum time she could face is three years and eight months. It is my understanding that Rachel Buffett turned down an opportunity to arrange a plea bargain with the Orange County District Attorney, or to testify against Daniel Wozniak. Rachel has stated that she is completely innocent of anything related to the murders of Sam or Julie.

Rachel Back in Court

Daniel Wozniak’s trial was held on the eighth floor of the Superior courthouse, but Rachel appeared in a much smaller courtroom on the second floor. I knew I had found the right place when I saw Sam Herr’s parents, Steve and Raquel Herr, standing outside in the hallway.

This wasn’t a surprise at all. I expected to see them. Sam’s parents attended every one of Daniel Wozniak’s hearings and never missed a day of his trial. When Steve Herr and Rachel Buffett both appeared on Dr. Phil in 2013, Steve Herr didn’t hide his disdain for Rachel and her claims of ignorance about the murders of his son Sam and Julie Kibuishi.

Courtroom C49 was semi-crowded because there were several different cases being seen there that morning. A large, caged holding area was on the left side of the courtroom, and occasionally prisoners were brought inside it for hearings.

Rachel’s trial was scheduled to begin at nine, but her case wasn’t called until around ten thirty. I ended up sitting in the front row next to a reporter I’d seen many times during Daniel’s trial, and we chatted casually when court wasn’t in session.

Rachel Buffett and a suited man, who I figured was her lawyer, entered the busy courtroom and had a brief whispered conversation.  I couldn’t hear any of it over the din of the voices in the courtroom. Then, Rachel sat down on the other side of the reporter in the front row, and the two of us instinctively stopped chatting.

Rachel wore a black blazer with matching slacks and cream colored character shoes (wide-heeled shoes that actresses often wear onstage). Her long blond hair was in a neat braid that fell over her right shoulder. She didn’t seem to notice me or the reporter.

It was hard to get a read on Rachel. She didn’t necessarily look worried, but I felt like she was nervous. It’s possible I just assumed she was nervous, because who wouldn’t be in her situation? I glanced around to see if she had any family with her. I don’t know what they look like, but I knew to look for blonde. It was a blonde free zone at that moment. A surprise in California.

Rachel sat there, using her phone for a couple of minutes, and then got up and hurriedly left the courtroom. A moment later, the reporter left as well, and I was worried I’d missed something. Maybe the reporter overheard the conversation and learned that Rachel Buffett’s trial would be postponed again? That ended up being the case.

Before I could decide to leave, Rachel walked back into the courtroom. This time she was accompanied by a young blonde man. I was guessing this was her brother, Noah. So, she wasn’t there alone.

Now there were two empty seats next to me in the front row. Rachel directed “possible Noah” toward the seats. He was about to sit in the aisle seat (which meant Rachel would have to scooch by him to sit down… next to me), when Rachel gestured for him to move to the second seat in. He sat next to me and Rachel sat on the aisle again.

I honestly don’t know if Rachel has any idea who I am. I’m not positive I ever even spoke to her at the Hunger Artists theatre company, and I don’t know if she reads this blog.

I didn’t try to talk to her at all, which later surprised Daniel. If Rachel reads the blog, then she figured out who I am. The hair color and tattoos are a dead give-away. But I’d had no plans to go all “reporter” on her at that time.

Of course, I would love to interview Rachel, but I wasn’t about to lean over “possible Noah” and ask her if she’s telling the truth about her involvement in the murders of Sam or Julie.  If Rachel reads my blog, she knows I don’t believe her story. I don’t think she is an innocent victim.

Obviously, I’m not the only one, or she wouldn’t have been in court that day.

Within ten minutes, Rachel Buffett’s case was called and she stepped up to a nearby podium to hear that her trial was postponed until March 17th. Ironically, Daniel considers St. Patrick’s Day to be the anniversary of the beginning of his and Rachel’s romantic relationship.  I plan to be there again, unless there’s some kind of plea arrangement before that. But I don’t see that happening.

Next Up On the Blog

My first trip to visit San Quentin.

47 thoughts on “Daniel Wozniak’s Fiancée Appears In Court”

  1. I was at Central Courthouse back in November when Rachel Buffett had one of her court dates and I must say she was looking pretty darn good. Her hair was done well, light makeup and dress was appropriate. Her legs are a little thicker than I would prefer. She arrived with multiple family members.

    1. Maybe the rest of her family members were outside of the courtroom when I was inside.

      I didn’t pay much attention to her legs. She’s a dancer though.

      Were you there to see her or for another matter?

    2. Her legs are thicker than YOU prefer?
      What an ass you are. Two vital young people died horrendously, so many people have been affected by this horrible tragedy, and YOU are focused on her legs?

      1. Please note that this commenter is not referring to anything I wrote. It was another reader who mentioned Rachel’s legs.

  2. I was there on my own legal matter. However, I would be open to following her trial from start to finish.

    1. I plan to write about it. This should be interesting.

      I honestly didn’t think she would ever go to trial. I thought she’d take a deal for sure, but her trial is scheduled for Sept 18.

      1. Just because a court is set, doesn’t mean it is going to trial,
        For all we know, negotiations for a plea deal could be going
        on. The court needs to keep the date on the docket.

      2. When people are innocent they refuse to bargain with the Prosecutor. Why should they? The deal is never in their best interest and only meant to allow the claws of the judicial system to really get a hold. If I was innocent of this crime I’d tell the Prosecutor to go to hell. IF I was guilty I’d be looking for a sweetheart deal.

  3. Any guilty person will go to trial praying the jurors find her not guilty..My opinion she gave that information up to keep her butt from going to prison and her Ex…Inst going to involve her but if she’s guilty may God have mercy on her soul….

    1. Her trial is scheduled to begin on September 18th. I don’t think we’ll get any new information until then.

      I do plan to cover her trial as thoroughly as I did Daniel’s.

  4. I don’t get the vibe that Rachel did anything knowingly wrong. I think she was completely unaware of what Wazniak had done, probably the furthest thing from her mind, when he starts laying this stuff about evidence he didn’t want her to reveal on her. At that point if I remember the police interview well enough, he had not stated to her what he had done. Rather, he had said something like “think of the worst thing you can that I could have done” and without waiting for her to answer, he says “well, that’s what I did. The worst thing you can think.” It wasn’t until that heavy hint that it first began to dawn on Rachel what kind of crime he might be mixed up in. And in that moment she also said she would give the evidence, whatever it, was to the police. She had no intention of withholding anything she knew from the police. This is the impression I get from the story she tells. I think the Police are under pressure for some reason to make her into a co-criminal with Dan, only giving him some kind of control of her life on the outside. He is a sick man, I think he is a narcissist and keeping her in the news indirectly keeps him in the news. It was Rachel’s misfortune the day Rachel met Dave Wazniak.

    1. Thank you for the comment.

      I know there are people who completely believe Rachel, and consider her to also be a victim in this case. I’m not one of those people.

      However, I agree with you that when Rachel and Daniel got together, it was unfortunate…for many people.

      1. I can only go by what I see on TV, which we know isn’t always the whole story. However, from what I’ve seen, she doesn’t appear to have had any involvement.

        On the other hand, during the recorded police call between her and Dan, she is quite “firm” that she must hurry and talk to the detectives so that she isn’t implicated. It dies sound life she’s trying to save her own butt.

        Please keep us posted in September. Anxiously awaiting your input and musings.

        1. Thank you very much.

          Rachel Buffett has claimed to be completely innocent of any wrong doing.

          Do you think she will testify in her own trial? Should she? What are your opinions readers?

          Appreciate the comment

  5. I just watched on ID…I thought her response on the Phone with Daniel she sounded innocent. But she did know they were recording. She said as much. I will be following. Thanks for keeping us up to date.

  6. A few things bug me about Rachel. She knew him well enough to marry him, but didn’t realize he was telling all these lies? And she knew they couldn’t pay rent or bills, she must have known he didn’t have a real job. Most women I know wouldn’t agree to marry a man whose only career is “community theater”. Either she has extremely poor character judgment or she just didn’t care. Or the third option, is that she’s cut from the same cloth as Dan.

    How did they pay for their upcoming wedding, did they put it on credit cards? Most of the wedding bill had to have been paid at that point. They were getting ready to walk down the aisle. Knowing these answers would give more insight into her motives, innocence or guilt.

    1. Great questions!

      I better get to writing.

      Thank you for the comment.

      PS The wedding wasn’t going to be hugely expensive, but Rachel’s parents were paying for it.

      1. Yes, but Nick was very broke. He still needed money and had no way to get anything sizable in a week. He had been lying to Rachael. Not saying he had a good plan but it seemed easy to him.

    2. Yes it probably was all on credit cards, running up a huge debt and monthly bills they could not afford. I think it is painfully obvious Rachael Buffet was involved. I hope she sees justice.

      1. His credit cards not hers. His debt he kept from her and she just was never interested enough to snoop into his finances.

      2. I hate to say it but I agree. She told the police to start with that there was a second unidentified man present. So how did she know that unless she herself was present to see the second man or she did what she said and just told them what he told her to say. Either way she is guilty of something. To say she is completely innocent like she is now is bold faced lie.

    3. Most younger couples keep their finances separate and he probably said he had incoming money. Thinking she was going to marry this guy but she wasn’t madly in love, loved him just enough. Part of her wasn’t interested in his life. ‘

  7. I’m not sure I’m 100% convinced that Rachel was involved. I also got the impression that Dan was more smitten with her then she was with him. And I don’t know if I buy the money motive as to why he killed Julie and Sam. I wonder if there was jealousy towards Sam. Maybe in Dan’s twisted thinking, he thought maybe Sam was after Rachel. And Sam was in college and had a nice nest egg sitting in the bank. Even in the 48 hours special, Rachel did not act as though she was devastated by what this man, who she was about to marry, had done. She even passively aggressively said he wasn’t that great of an actor, but would get paid jobs because finding men was hard. If I found out my husband was accused of this or any crime, I would be a mess. But she may be mad at him for basically throwing her under the bus. My knowledge of this crime is what was on TV. I don’t think this was about money. Rachel said her parents were paying for their wedding. And it just doesn’t make sense, even though the ATM transactions are what caught Dan. And Dan seems very intelligent, did he not think that 17 year old kid would tell on him? And that ATM’s have cameras? Until the activity on Sam’s ATM, the police thought Sam killed Julie. I believe Dan killed Julie and Sam, but I question the real motive. I just wonder if Dan was jealous of his “friend”…

    1. Or possibly he wanted sex from Sams girlfriend. Possibly he thought she would be there when he went over that night. Everything went sideways but he still did get the girlfriend.

      My thinking is Sams parents want Rachael found guilty. Once a person gets the thought a person is guilty very little will ever change their minds. Sams Dad has said he thinks Rachael was in on more of his sons death than these charges say.
      So there you go.
      It’s difficult to understand some people are just clueless, Rachael.
      Also Rachael can’t show any emotion for Sans death. She had been schooled to hold it together plus she is in a fight for herself now.

      1. The problem with that would be that Julie wasn’t raped and, other than the sexual staging, it doesn’t appear she was assaulted. Also, if he wanted to have sex with Julie, Sam’s friend, not girlfriend, then why murder Sam?

    2. Dan nor his family were paying for the wedding. The wedding was being paid for by family members of Rachel. I get so tired of reading crap from people who judge and assume they know Rachel. Dan not only ruined two people and their families lives he also did a lot of damage to Rachel and her family too. Dan came from an extremely abusive home where his mother would often go to work with black eyes and other signs of abuse. He was so smooth at lying it became his truth. Look at the person who is responsible for this hanious crime and stop pointing fingers at those that are also victims of his actions.

  8. How did Daniel get Sams pin? He never mentioned that. He said he shot him when his back was turned. Sam said he was shocked call for help,and then Daniel reloaded n shot again. Would Sam keep his pin in his wallet? Just wondering. Thanks

    1. That will be answered in the book. It’s a great question and one of the first ones I asked Daniel.

  9. I’ve just watched the case for a third time on tv, it’s popular on those crime shows. It got me thinking, so went online and read quite a bit. My thoughts on her involvement comes down to the statement she made 5 hours before Julie’s body was found: [On the day Kibuishi was killed, Buffett appeared emotional before she was set to go on stage, prosecutors say. In the dressing room, she told another cast member, “My friend is missing. I think she’s missing. I think she’s dead. I think my friend did it.”]. That did it for me. The girl is involved…. in my opinion.

  10. Hello Mirderer Musings, can you give a brief synopsis of your feelings about why you think Rachel is guilty. You appear sure she is guilty. I tried to research previous writings about Rachel, but could not find your analysis on her guilt. I feel she is guilty too.

  11. Sorry – new here and trying to catch up on this case but one thing confuses me. If Dan confessed on recorded tape that he did this, if he also knew he had recordings of that call with Rachel, then why did he plead Not Guilty? Have I missed something? If you watch him in a clip on You Tube which is set on Death Row and has snippets of interviews with him, he breaks down when the journalists show him clips of You Tube/Media clips involving him and this case. He is mortified that he is being portrayed as the Devil Incarnate and prays the truth comes out but I a totally confused as to why? He admitted it? He did this? There was no reason to plead Not Guilty it just showed complete and utter lack of remorse. Any ideas?

  12. If Rachel’s trial was reset for Sept is there a reason we’ve heard no update? Please don’t tell us it was postponed AGAIN! I try hard to believe innocent until proven guilty but have seen so much tv & read so much about her case, I’ll be surprised if she isn’t found guilty.

    1. Rachel’s trial was taken off-calendar and a pretrial hearing was set for November 3, 2017. The reason her trial is delayed is because Edward Younghoon Shin’s trial (O.C.S.C. Case Number: 11CF2363) is set for December 4, 2017, and Matt Murphy is the lead prosecutor. A pretrial hearing is scheduled three (3) days prior, and one can only imagine any motions in limine or discovery requests that Mr. Shintastic’s attorney will request on December 1, 2017.

      Rachel’s trial will most likely take place in late-March 2018.

      To find updated information on Rachel’s case:

      Go to: http://www.occourts.org/online-services/case-access/

      Go to “Criminal and Traffic Case Access” and click “Access Now.”

      A new page with appear. Click “Accept Terms.”

      Under the Case Info section next to Case Number, enter “12CF3379.” Then enter the code. Press “Search.”

      A link to her case will appear at the bottom of the screen.

  13. I’m also wondering about the status of her trial. Were charges dropped or a plea deal made?
    I don’t believe any new “truth” will come to light in her trial. Sad fact is that truth is not relevant. It is which side presents the best “theory”that the jurists believe.
    ” Truth is not what is presented.

  14. I’m interested to know the outcome of
    Rachel’s verdict. I personally feel she’s guilty by the conversation she had with Dan on the phone. When she told him that she called his brother and that he was getting rid of the evidence.
    How they just threw away their lives.

  15. It turns out, Rachel was no offered a deal until around October or so and she refused so she can have her day in court to tell her side of the story. A pretrial conference is scheduled for January 19 with the ever elusive jury trial set for February 9. The families of the victims have said they are ready for another jury trial.

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