It had been around four months since the last time I saw Daniel Wozniak in person.
Readers know I was pretty nervous the first time I visited the San Quentin State Prison death row. I wasn’t afraid of the prisoners, but I was worried about unknowingly breaking a prison rule and getting banned for life (or shot from a guard tower). However, beyond a couple of mishaps (getting lost on my practice run day and forgetting to take off my sunglasses), I aced my first death row visit.
OK, yes, I did also spill some coffee on the visiting room floor, but I cleaned it up, and no harm done.
So I headed into my most recent visit with a sense of reassurance that only comes from having knowledge and experience.
Before I left for my trip, I reviewed the visitor clothing rules (no denim, no leggings, no chambray blue, no khaki, and no underwire bras, etc.).
No problem. The majority of my wardrobe is made up entirely of black, white, and gray. I figured I had this down.
It was much colder the last time I visited. This time we were in the middle of a heat wave in California. Since I was meeting with friends immediately after each visit, I wanted to dress both appropriately for prison and comfortably enough to go for walks after lunch.
I bet some of you have already figured out, from the title of this post, I had some mishaps.
We’ll get to that moment.
More Than the Guards Could Chew
When I was packing up my clear baggie with quarters, comb and unopened Kleenex (the items I’m allowed to take in with me), I realized the last time I visited Daniel at San Quentin, I didn’t have my Invisalign braces yet.
I will be wearing these clear plastic braces for a few months, and I’m supposed to have them on for twenty two hours a day. I need to take them out whenever I eat anything, and I am also supposed to brush my teeth before I put them back on. During a five-hour extended visit with Daniel, I could either not eat or drink anything, or I could brush my teeth after partaking in those delicious vending machines snacks.
When I got the Invisalign braces, I bought a bunch of individually wrapped and pre-pasted disposable toothbrushes to carry around in my purse when I’m out in the world. While I was packing for my trip, I had a thought: If I am allowed to bring in new unopened packages of facial tissues, perhaps the San Quentin guards would also allow me to bring in an unopened toothbrush as well.
Now, before you start to think I’m crazy, the prisoners already have access to normal-sized toothbrushes. So there would be no reason for Daniel to want to keep my toothbrush and “smuggle it” back with him (yuck).
I figured. No harm in trying, right? That is sort of a mantra of mine.
I was totally right, by the way. There wasn’t any harm in it. I had to throw away my unopened toothbrush during Saturday’s check in, and Sunday I didn’t bring one. No harm.
To their credit, the guards at San Quentin are extremely amiable. I think they even wanted to let me bring in my toothbrush. They could see my logic. The guard told me, “That’s a new one,” and he even went up the chain of command just to confirm that I was not allowed to take in my toothbrush. Well, not without a doctor’s note. Fair enough. I might ask my dentist to write me one next time. Simply rinsing my mouth with water seemed inefficient after vending machine ice cream.
Side note: I’ve decided that the ice cream in the SQ visitors’ room has zero calories and therefore I can consume it, guilt free, at every visit.
After the toothbrush adventure, I got through visiting check-in and headed in the direction of the prison. Within seconds, I was called back by one of the guards so he could examine my clothing.
Let me tell you what I was wearing: Flat sandals and a plain black t-shirt dress. The dress was very loose fitting. It stopped just an inch above my knees (two inches above the knee is the rule). And luckily, I was wearing a pair of shorts underneath. The guard scrupulously examined the length of my dress (while other visitors walked past), and told me he was considering not letting me in. Because of the shorts, I passed inspection.
I promised to wear pants the next day.
After that, everything went fine. Once we’d gone through the process of handcuffs and musical doors, and when we were locked in our visiting cage, I told Daniel about my clothing close call. He was surprised my dress had caused a problem, but he also told me he’d noticed extra security in the visiting room that morning. He thought maybe it had something to do with a prisoner he’d seen being dragged back to his cell an hour earlier.
Now that I was sitting down, I figured I’d check how many steps I’d taken so far that day, and I wanted to show Daniel my Fitbit. I figured the trek from the visitor check-in to the prison itself would register an impressive number of steps. When I looked at my wrist and pushed a button, Daniel was immediately shocked that they let me bring that in.
The guard in the booth behind me was also shocked. My prison naiveté was showing again. It turns out visitors are not allowed to have any device with Bluetooth capabilities because a savvy inmate can turn a Bluetooth device into a phone.
Who knew? I guess it just looked like a regular watch when I went through security. The guard confiscated my Fitbit and said he’d return it when I was leaving. I almost asked him if he’d be willing to wear it so I could get credit for his steps, but I figured I might be pushing things a little too far with that one.
Thankfully, that was the end of me causing trouble on visiting day one. Daniel was in a good mood. He was cheerful. He made jokes. He introduced me to other inmates in nearby cages. “Oh, there’s so-and-so. I told you about him. He’s my friend from yard.”
Friends and Monsters
Everyone was polite and friendly. It’s easy to forget I’m not meeting Daniel’s co-worker at an office party. Every one of these men is a murderer. That includes my friend with whom I get locked in a cage. It’s disheartening to think about all the lives that were changed and destroyed by these men. I see a guy reading Bible verses with his wife or another playing checkers with his sister.
But out in the world, these men were someone’s monsters.
I’m guessing it’s good they are all locked up.
The rest of our visit was pretty uneventful. We ate fruit cups with sporks. We talked about how fast our hair grows (Daniel is part of a prison Locks of Love program. He’s growing his hair out and says it’s the longest he can remember ever having it.)
I also asked him a lot of questions about his crime. I want to take advantage of these opportunities to talk to Daniel without being recorded. The more I work on the book, the more questions I have. I know all you readers have questions about Daniel’s motives and how he was able to do the horrific things he did.
There are also a lot of theories about Rachel Buffett.
I want all those answers too, guys. I think Daniel is telling me the truth, and it’s not always easy to hear. The deaths of Sam Herr and Julie Kibuishi were so avoidable. In 2010, Daniel Wozniak’s life was a disaster waiting to happen; he was a tornado of tragedy that swooped up those two innocent people.
It will be very interesting to see if any of what Daniel shared about Rachel comes out during her trial in September. Rachel Buffett was Daniel Wozniak’s entire life. His feelings for her do nothing to negate committing murder, but it does make it easier to follow how someone like Daniel could end up doing what he did.
In my next post, I’ll tell you about Sunday’s visit, more wardrobe infractions, and why the visiting room security was beefed up the entire weekend.
25 thoughts on “I’m Too Sexy for the Prison?”
Thank you for shining some light on an otherwise dark & dingy set of circumstances. I find it refreshing that you do not pass judgement on DW for his crimes. As fellow human beings, that is not our job. I find your writings to be entertaining & informative & I look forward to every post. May God bless you in all you do.
Esse assassino, monstro já devia ter sido morto,matou, esquartejou e está ai, rindo das famílias e sendo bem tratado. Justiça falha, Mata logo essa desgraça.
Is there anything you can share about how Daniel feels about Rachel’s trial?
Surely you’re going to have to reveal yourself when you write the book. Why are you keeping your identity secret still?
Hey there blue hair!! (How original huh?) I just started reading your blog on Sunday morning and I’ve been binge-read most of it. I am an avid reader but believe it or not this is the first blog I’ve ever read and it’s been hard to stop and even take pee breaks. (TMI?) I sometimes feel as though I’m reading my own words… the way you can love a “monster” but not the monstrous act is very much the way I am. Someone once said to me that I’m missing a healthy dose of fear. I disagree, I probably have too much fear but I also believe we as humans are so very complicated and it’s very rare that anyone is just plain evil with no redeeming qualities at all. I know what Daniel did is horrendous and he deserves to be exactly where he is, but that does not mean he’s undeserving of compassion and kindness. I struggle with those thoughts as I’m sure you do, because of Sam and Julie. I see the ravaging pain of their families and friends, and I falter…would I have compassion and kindness if I was in their shoes? I honestly can’t answer that…. I don’t know if it’s fortunate or not but I’m a very forgiving and compassionate person, and sometimes that’s my double edge sword. Unfortunately this tragedy can not be undone and for better or worse he’s going to live for some time to come…I hope with whatever time he has left he uses it for the greater good. When I see the faces of Sam’s and Julie’s parents, it’s so very hard to keep that stance but I think that they too would want him to be of some service to others until the time comes for him to complete his sentence. Anyway I really enjoy this blog and very much look forward to reading your book!!
I know my previous comment is still awaiting moderation but I really felt compelled to write to you again.
I just finished watching Dateline and 48 hours about this case and I’m actually feeling guilty about my own feelings about Daniel and my previous post, I can only imagine how you must feel. After seeing the haunting look on those poor parents faces and the horror they must face every second of every day without their children, I couldn’t shake the feeling that possibly blogs such as yours may in some way add to their grief. Is it the right thing to do, humanizing Daniel? Yes, he is more than that horrendous and unforgivable act but should we as a society give him any platform to speak or have his story told? Does that diminish the memories of his victims in some way? I truly don’t know the answers to those questions. After watching Julies mother hold her daughters blanket and close her eyes while inhaling, trying to get the scent of her daughter, brought me to tears. I can not imagine that kind of pain. Sam’s father is an amazing man and someone, anyone would be honored to call him dad. While I stand by everything I wrote yesterday, I now feel confused and upset for actually feeling that way.
I am truly engrossed in this blog and am looking forward to your next entry.
This comment is for Rachel Jayne and you…….. 3 months after my first daughter was born a man shot my mother….she died 9/4/1988. Going to the trial, seeing and hearing things made me want to scream, cry and run as fast and far as I could, but it couldn’t help! I hurt so bad!! Seeing the pictures of my Mom on the slab, in the morgue, with the giant hole in her stomach broke me….. This was in Texas. Life in prison is 60 years and he was an older man, we were afraid that he might get away with it. The DA asked for 65 years…..doesn’t sound as bad as life…..he died in prison. When I received the letter, letting me know he was dead, I literally fell to my knees. The PTSD I have had has made me afraid of EVERYONE. I had 2 more daughters, gosh my Mom would have loved to be a Grandmother! Ten years ago I took care of my Dad until he died, cancer. Nine years ago my sister was found, in her apartment, in her nightgown and in an outdoor garbage bag………I know someone knows something! The “sheriff” came up to my husband (of 3 months) and said “I sure hope this is a suicide, it would make things easier”. For who???? The one detective working on the case showed my husband and I all of the pictures, she was transferred. Podunk little town with a killer on the loose. When I hear/read how great this “friend”is……..I wonder if you could be friends with a man that killed my sister. A man that put a 100 pound woman into a trash bag put a scarf around her neck until she could no longer breathe. Could you? I am afraid of everyone! I wonder if this will happen to one of my daughters, friends, me. Has he gone into the gory details? Has he told you how or why he did this to two innocent people? If he were rel;eased, could you be his friend then?? Really?? You are his Friend????? Wow!!! I am going to see if you will post this.Will you write back to me? I lost my Mom and my Sister to people like Daniel, I hurt everyday, I understand the loss of the family and friends…………..do you????????????
My heart aches for you. I knew Sharon Tate and I look at her picture, and I have tears in my eyes every single time.
This killer, DW, is a sick monster. Just because he doesn’t look like Charles Manson doesn’t make him any less of a monster. He is the worst kind of monster, because he looks like to every day fat slob. His family is not poor. He is not the product of a broken home. He is just a profoundly lazy, perverted psychopath. The end.
Dear Sandy, you are a breath of fresh air. I just saw a program about DW. A shallow, selfish, narcissist, if there ever was one. He should dig ditches with a shovel until California reinstates the death penalty. Anyone who pities him should get out of their velvet lined box.
I agree with you wholeheartedly, I can’t stand that picture of him smiling. I want to do something to honor Sam and Julie. If you have any ideas please send them. Thank you
Oh my! Mari, the horrific pain and fear you must embark on a daily basis is unfathomable. I pray that the monster who took your sisters life is found and punished to the MAX! I’m in Oklahoma, so not far from Texas, even though Texas is huge. I have befriended a man in an ODOC center for 24 years for a crime that has been proven that he didn’t commit. Those are the ones who need friends, especially when family throws them.under the bus and turns their back on him. Good luck to you. I know this doesn’t help, but hang in there.
Mari, I’m extremely sorry for your loss but just think the true crime genre may not be for you. You can’t control others’ interests or friendships. I would recommend not reading this blog because it sounds very problematic for you and for good reason. I don’t think it’s healthy to expose yourself to things you find so painful.
I’m so sorry for all that you’ve been through. I lost my brother to a motorcycle accident 30 years ago and my world has never been the same. The old man who pulled out in front of him was never punished in any way. But honestly I never gave that much thought but will add, it was not the same as brutally being murdered, well somewhat. “we” all want to know… Blue hair is giving this to us. Not saing you are, but judging her says more about you than than her. She can have her own opinions as can you. My heart goes out to you…. My heart goes out to her.
I’m wondering if you ever think about Sam Herr’s dismembered head when you are talking, laughing and comparing notes on hair growth with Daniel.
Hi, Lauren Tariel, failed artist looking to cash in on a murderer. I hope no one finds your information. >:)
I 100% agree with “Fan”. Every time I come across your blog, I get tears in my eyes. I honestly can not believe he can even get visitors, to be honest. Seeing his photo makes me sick to my stomach. How can you be his friend and visit him. Julie was my friend, former classmate and such a bright soul. This act is of such disgust and makes my blood boil that you almost try and be funny when you write on this platform and are now writing a book. This just seems like you want to write a book to be the know it all so called ‘blogger’ to get attention, and make money. He doesn’t deserve attention, he deserves everything that has and will be happening to him I just wish it happened sooner! I don’t have any compassion for someone who could do this over money, its complete psychopathic.
I didn’t know Sam or Julie but I just know they were wonderful people. My feeling about fat guy is the same as yours. I cry all the time about this, Sam and Julie can’t have a blog or speak for themselves. I don’t like to feel hate but I feel it for DW.
Late reply here…. his demeanor tells you/us what is going on in his head… he’s oblivious…. as maybe, maybe he was during his murdering spree. Which means to me he’s missing a few marbles…. All murderers aremissing a few otherwise they would be doing normal things. All evil, what we call evil, have brain abnormalities, even tho we would rather chalk it up to “normal thinking person decides he will murder for love”. It doesn’t work that way. His girlfriend or so called, Rachal, has the same affliction and something tells me, after her release, in her lifetime, she will carry on as when her life was interrupted…. its her personality disorder… she can’t help herself, this is how her brain is programmed. Every person in prison has some brain/thinking disorder, except those wrongly convicted, who, I think, becomes affected mentally by their tragedy.
I find the blog fascinating for a couple of different reasons. First I see a theme going of nothing in prison is Daniel’s fault. There are alot of excuses being made for him. Secondly there seems to be absolutely no remorse even in his trail with him sauntering into court smiling like he is the star on his own stage. I don’t not see any redeeming qualities from him. The only reason for me reading this blog is my fascination of life behind bars. I wish you all the best on your book.
I love my triple homicide murderer
Nice article – very well written! If I can ask a favor of you, the next time you visit Daniel, tell him after his sentence is carried out someday that I am going to dance on his grave. I’ve posted that fact in comments all around the Internet with the hope that Daniel sees it. But since you physically visit him it would be great if you tell him that I, Jim Geward, will dance on his grave after he is gone. I am young (28) and in great shape and make it a macabre but actually fun hobby of dancing on the graves of murdered. So it will happen and he can’t stop me.
I have two questions –
1) Did you mean to say you have a hobby of dancing on the graves of murderers? I’m guessing it was a typo and you do not dance on the graves of people who have been murdered.
2) Whose graves have you danced on already? It’s a fascinating hobby!
Thank you for the comment and I will let Dan know of your plan.
Im still reading here, Dec. 4, 2020, I guess I’m late to the party, so to speak. I just saw someone else refer to your anonimity, so I guess that answers my previous comment question… What’s your name. I can somewhat guess your reasoning. I’m wondering how far you’ve written since what I just read was way back in 2018 before Rachal was sentenced. I’m hoping you are still writing… why I’m not sure you are is just a feeling. I’ll keep reading until there is no more. I do hope your are ok, after all this…. I have to think its difficult to break free from all your thoughts on the matter. Daniel is where he put himself.
My questions……Would he have committed these murders had he not been on drugs? IF he were out of prison does he think he would kill again?