It has been seven years since the brutal murders of Samuel Herr and Julie Kibuishi. Seven years since my friend, Daniel Wozniak, destroyed many lives – including his own. I think about all the things I’ve done in the past seven years, all the life experiences I’ve had, and I can’t help feeling sickened when I contemplate all that was stolen from Sam and Julie, and from the people who loved them.
Julie Kibuishi should have celebrated her thirtieth birthday on February fourteenth, and Sam should be blowing out thirty-four candles next week (May twenty-ninth). Neither of them got a chance to graduate from college, get married, have kids… Would Julie be working in the fashion industry? Would Sam have returned to the Army as an officer? These questions haunt me, and I can’t even fathom the pain and anger that their families are forced to revisit every May. Hell, every day.
I’ve been writing this blog for two years now, and I can honestly say not a day goes by when I don’t think about Sam and Julie. I didn’t know either of them personally, but my friendship with Daniel is laced with an inherent guilt I feel over him having a life (even a limited one), when his actions stole the lives of two other people; two people who were so young, so loved, and are so missed.
Samuel E. Herr was twenty-six when Daniel killed him. Sam was an only child, and he was the center of his parents’ world. He was an Army veteran who had been a combat solider in Afghanistan. He was going to Orange Coast College on the Army GI Bill and had plans to one day become an officer.
Juri (Julie) Kibuishi was only twenty-three. She still lived at home with her parents. She was a graduate of the prestigious Orange County School of the Arts (OCSA). She was a student at Orange Coast College studying fashion design. She was also tutoring her friend Sam in anthropology. Julie was one of four children and is always described as the kind of person who would do anything for a friend.
My friend caused their deaths. This fact haunts me. I’ll talk about myself more in the next post (and my family members and some close friends have chimed in). But for now, I just want to acknowledge that May twenty first is the depressing anniversary of the murders of Sam and Julie. I send out my sincere condolences to their loved ones.
14 thoughts on “Seven Years”
Very appropriate and beautifully timed
Your heart shows in your writings. I appreciate you. Did Dan’s father die recently? Also I read that Daniel tried to “off” himself early on in this case by diving head first into a wall or sink. He seems somewhat addled due the head trauma he surely suffered. He was allegedly in a coma as a result. Also, his eyes seem to have been knocked out of “alignment” ever since that incident.
Any thoughts as to his personality before verses after the event?
Thank you for the comment, JK.
Yes, Daniel did attempt suicide and was in a coma for a while. That’s a story I’ll cover in the book.
His eyes? Are you referring to his ridiculous mug shot? That picture is bad!
Worse than a driver’s license pic! I always say I’m keep drinkin til my face matches the one on my driver’s license :)
Very well written. Sounds like something Ann Rule would have written about her friend, Ted Bundy’s victims. He contacted her while he was incarcerated, knowing she was his friend and would investigate the murders thoroughly write an honest book about him. Maybe that’s one of the reasons your friend has stayed in contact with you: trusting you to write a truthful book about him,
Yes. I think my friend does want a truthful book about him. That is my plan.
Whoa oh ho! You got Moxie!, (& thats a good thang). AR may just have a new generation of creative competition. Good. That wil serve to make books & stories even ‘mo bettah!
I read a review of the Wozniak book recently released, which I am going to order, but one of the comments was the book doesn’t go into the backgrounds of your friend that would have driven him to kill. That’s what made Ann Rule’s books so fascinating to me and her devoted readers.
I hope you delve into his background sufficiently to theorize about his motives. Otherwise, you’re just retelling a story about the case, which anybody can find on the internet. You are in such a unique position to write a really fabulous nonfiction crime book. I hope you’re up to the challenge, and by that I mean writing an unbiased book, because you are obviously enchanted by your friendship with the killer. All murders are so terrible, but what makes this fascinating to me is his ability to go on stage and give a performance in between and/or after the killings. To be able to compartmentalize what he did and then go on stage as if it was just one more production is incredulous to me.
Agreed. I think he would have become a serial killer, given that his ability to “normalize” was instant. Jesus, next thing we know his ass will have a religious conversion and find Christ. If he tries to kill himself again, may god (and any other potential forces out there) help him succeed.
that just shows what a true psychopath the freak was…lets hope he suffers every day for the rest of his miserable life
I can understand you’re pain about the loss
But t seems wrong to me to wanna make money over 2 dead young people and a cold hearted psychopath because that’s what Wozniak is and nothing else. Coma or not.
Tripped sad. But also mad