The Sword and Scale Podcast recently profiled the murders of Sam Herr and Julie Kibuishi. I was interviewed for the episode (via telephone) in May, and it’s now available here, or wherever you listen to podcasts.
I think the story is covered decently, especially considering all the bizarre twists and turns in the case. They spend the first fifteen minutes or so examining how one of the victims, Sam Herr, was originally considered the prime suspect in the murder of Julie Kibuishi.
The story of Sam’s previous brush with the law has been touched on by the majority of media covering the murders. I wrote about it myself in the early days of this blog.
However, out of respect for Steve and Raquel Herr, Sam Herr’s parents, I wanted to go into a little more detail than provided in the excerpts of my interview used for the podcast. If you’ve come here as a Sword and Scale listener, this might be enlightening and interesting.
More to the Story
Julie Kibuishi’s body was found in Sam’s apartment. Authorities thought the Army veteran had possibly snapped, murdering his friend.
It was a logical interpretation of a crime scene in which Julie’s clothing was torn and the words “all yours fuck you” were scrawled on the back of her sweater.
In fact, this was Daniel Wozniak’s intention in staging the scene Steve Herr discovered.
Dan had been aware of a dark time in Sam Herr’s life. He knew that when Sam Herr had spent some time in the Los Angeles jail.
When Sam was a teenager, he and a group of other young men had been arrested on a murder charge. So Dan figured the Costa Mesa Police would suspect Sam even more than they already did once they looked into his past.
Sam Herr had been completely acquitted of that original crime. After that, he got away from a bad crowd, joined the Army, and became a highly decorated veteran.
He did everything right. The future stolen from him would likely have been filled with success, family, and happiness.
I hope that extra context adds to your experience of the episode.
Thanks again to The Sword and Scale Podcast for having me on.
5 thoughts on “Murderer Musings on the Sword and Scale Podcast”
I’ve been following this fascinating story for a long time. I have watched the parts of the trials that were posted on YouTube. I have seen the Dateline, 20/20, and other shows pertaining to the case. I have read news articles and other “stories”, including your blog in its entirety. Even though the trials have long since been over, and justice has been served, I have always had no doubt that there was more to the story than what was being told. In terms of the motive for these horrific crimes, I never believed it was primarily about money.
I have found your blog to contain the most concise and accurate information on record, and that you would be the first, and perhaps only one, to reveal details unbeknownst to anyone else. Several times, you have eluded to the idea that there was more to this story, and that it would be written about in your book.
I’m really glad that I listened to the “Sword & Scale” podcast because it was the first time that the very believable “Rachel/Sam” love affair motive came to light. I can understand the jealousy on Dan’s part, but I’m even wondering now if there was jealousy towards Julie on Rachel’s part as well. Jealousy could have been a contributing factor to both murders. At any rate, the jealousy motive makes more sense in this situation. As many have already stated, this couple had many other options to legally obtain the amount of money they needed.
I know you have been scrutinized and criticized relentlessly for befriending Daniel, but that’s your personal business. I think we all have friends that others may not approve of. In your situation, I see Daniel as a friend with benefits. You have been privy to information that no one else has, which I believe will give your book more substance and credibility. I truly applaud your work and dedication to this project. By the way, when do you expect to complete your book?
I’m hoping you will be kind enough to answer a few questions about your interview on the Sword and Scale podcast.
I have read your entire blog, and it’s quite possible that I missed something along the way, but it seems that you revealed some details in your interview that I cannot recall reading about in your blog (or anywhere else for that matter). This is in regards to an alleged affair between Rachel Buffet and Sam Herr.
Is this something that came to light after all the trials and convictions? If so, approximately when did you first become aware of it? You mentioned in the interview that you always believed that jealousy was the main motive for Sam being murdered, and possibly the motive for both murders. Was this something you speculated about all along, or was it after you became friends with Daniel? When you said you that jealousy was a potential motive in both murders, is this also referring to Rachel possibly being jealous of Julie (in addition to Dan’s jealousy of Sam)?
In one interview, Rachel stated that Dan was NOT an amazing sex partner and that they had an open relationship. It surely doesn’t seem like Dan was ever aware of this, let alone would have agreed to such an arrangement. I wonder why she brought this up. Do you know if she has publicly admitted to having an affair? This is the only thing I have come across where the possibly of an affair has surfaced.
The podcast speaker stated that jealousy may have contributed to Sam being a target. It is basically stated in the podcast that Dan got the impression that Rachel was having an affair because he said that Rachel told him that she was sleeping with Sam. (confusing statement, but that’s what was said.) Obviously, this made Dan insanely jealous and angry. Dan saw Sam as a threat to his relationship with Rachel and the thought of seeing Rachel and Sam together terrified him. (Apparently, Sam denied the affair when questioned by Dan.)
It is suggested that Dan was motivated more by his fear, anger, and jealousy than it was about stealing his money. This makes a lot more sense than the money motive alone.
If this is true, it does not change anything that has already happened, but it does change things. It changes the whole story! It also provides food for thought and can change opinions.
You mentioned in this post that Sam did everything right. If he truly had an affair with his friend’s bride-to-be, was that right? If he lied to his friend when asked about the affair, was that right? Any man who decides to mess around with another man’s woman is playing with fire and is inviting potential trouble into not only his life, but the the life of others. That is not right either. Please note, these comments are full of “ifs”, and unless proven otherwise, Sam will forever remain the innocent victim of a heinous crime. We just have to keep in mind that if it is true that an affair was the motive for this murder, then the absence of an affair would have made the difference between life and death for two individuals.
It’s very unfortunate that the “affair” motive was never brought up in this case and does not seem to be documented anywhere. Early on, it would have painted a very different picture of Rachel, and the outcome for her may have been more of what she deserved. She literally got away with murder. Her alleged actions were as ruthless and evil as her ex-fiance’s and justice was not served in her case.
I apologize for this lengthy post, but my curiosity has gotten the best of me after following this case for so long! Just a few more random questions:
1. When Dan borrowed tools from Rachel’s brother, did he say why?
2. What did Dan do with the money he borrowed from Chris Williams?
3. Did Dan ever find out why Rachel turned on him 3 months after his arrest?
4. Why did Dan continue to cover for her after she dumped him?
5. Are you and Dan still friends?
6. Someone asked on your Facebook page, why you added the question mark to the title of your blog, but I didn’t see an answer. It makes the reader wonder if you now have doubts about this friendship, or if the relationship has taken a different direction. I know you are married and have a family, so is it more of a working relationship and collaboration for the book you are working on?
7. From the very beginning, people have said some terrible things to you and how you are “obsessed”, “star-struck”, and even “in love” with Daniel. I saw a post where someone commented that since you changed your hair color and style, you now look like Rachel’s double. I have seen the side-by-side photos of you and Rachel, and there is quite a resemblance. After all the criticism, scrutiny, and even threats you have already tolerated, I hope your newest “look” isn’t going to create more problems for you. You have said that you are known for frequent hair color changes, but I’m sure I’m not the only one who is wondering what is going on with the Rachel “look-alike” thing!? Is it just a coincidence?
Last, but not least, When do you expect to complete your book? Do you have a title for it yet? Looking forward to reading it!
Hey MM, hope you see this and respond. I was watching the video that the YouTuber “That Chapter” (about 500k subs) made about Dan and the case and 1. you and your blog got a shout out so yay! 2. I noticed something that I feel like I would have noticed before and definitely feel like the police would have noticed (though i do remember at least one officers saying during one of the trials, or (it might have been an interview) that he didnt have all the proof but that he fully believed that at the very least, Rachel should be guilty of accessory before the fact, and possibly even murder herself.
Anyways, if was during the jail phone convo where she tells him that Tim told her about the backpack and she’s taking it to the police. during that call, Dan’s story was still that he and Sam were trying to commit some credit card fraud scheme and then unrelated to that, Dan was asked to help cover up for Sam’s murder of Julie (which by the way, never made a lick of sense. Wouldn’t Sam think to call or answer his fathers calls and say “hey dad, gonna have to cancel. don’t come to my apartment *pssst I have a body to hide and I need more time and don’t want you to see it. k thx. bye “? stupiditiy on Dan’s part, I guess, probably from the stress) I don’t believe/rememeber if the police were even aware that Sam was dead at this point. I’m sure they knew Dan was lying but at this point I don’t think they had any evidence that Sam was dead. Sorry im driving that point home so hard; it’s important.
Anyways, during the Rachel jail house call about the backpack, Rachel asks Sam “Did you kill *them*?” She knew Sam was dead. I guess it could still be argued that she didn’t know beforehand and only after the fact, which is what she was convicted of and did her time for. But I don’t know, if she knew Sam was dead and the police didn’t then she obviously knew that Dan did it. So why did she ask “did you kill them?” during that phone call. It all seems very calculated to me and from the little hints you dropped, I think you would agree that at the very least (even if Rachel was completely unaware of Dan’s plan for Sam, which I also don’t believe. Rememeber the testimony from [can’t remember the name but its the guy they owed money to and he was sitting around waiting for Dan to come back with money. and he did, he came back with $400, I believe.] about the way she behaved during that hour or so that Sam was murdered and the fact that Rachel just happened to have a solid alibi/eye witness for the time of Sam’s death, is proof she was in on it from the start and *honestly* I believe she masterminded this and played Dan as a puppet. don’t get me wrong, he’s a big boy and he made those decisions and he is where he should be but I think there was a heavy influence from someone even more sinister who was smarter than Dan and knew how to cover her tracks better. but I digress
I believe that at the very least that not only did she have knowledge before the death of Julie, I believe she assisted in that murder in some way. Dan’s downfall was very likely the fact that Julie got murdered. Of course the police are going to focus way more on a murder than on a missing adult who the police might not have even considered missing if Dan (or Rachel) had texted Sam’s dad some story about getting away snd off the grid for a little while. They had his phone. I don’t know about you, but i don’t know many people who don’t label their parent’s contacts as “mom” and “dad” in their phone. I mean thankfully it went down that way or the Herr’s might still be wondering where there son is today and if he’s dead or alive. Not so lucky for the Kibuishi’s, unfortunately.
Anyways, that 2nd murder just made so little sense and the change in style of the texting (just snother clue I remembered) leads me to believe Rachel was texting Julie. Why did they pick Julie? Sam had lots of friends, even in that building. Long story short, I think your jealousy theory is a good one.
I hope progress with the book is going well. If you ever start to feel like you’re having motivation issues just know that you already have one sale from me. Have you thought of starting a Patreon? I would be happy to throw a few bucks your way every month and I’m sure there are others though be forewarned that they might expect a little more updates. I know the cases are pretty much done so yiu don’t have a lot of updates in that regard but I would love to hear more of your thoughts and opinions on all aspects of the case. You’re an excellent writer, with a very interesting case to write about and a unique relationship with the murderer. I think your book will be great
I’m not one to believe in the Death penalty myself. These prosecutors and Judges who fight for death penalty are just as guilty as the killer’s themselves. Hopefully when they die these prosecutors and Judges that they pay and burn in hell with The accused killer’s.
Sword and Scale podcast is trash run by a Trumpist Incel. Please don’t support this guy. He speculates endlessly. It’s so irresponsible of him and of you for joining his show to talk about this case.
Just stop, please. I bet that if Sam Herr’s and Julie Kibuishi’s families knew how you write about their children’s murderer and what you spew about him on podcasts, every word is an additional twist of a knife in a wound that will never heal.
Shame on you.