Observing a Grim Anniversary

Twelve years ago, Julie Kibuishi and Sam Herr were both brutally murdered.

Twelve years ago, the Kibuishi and Herr families were forever changed in the worst possible way. 

Sam Herr should be 38 years old now.  Perhaps he would have become an officer in the Army. He might have been married.  It’s quite possible Steve and Raquel Herr would be grandparents now.

Julie Kibuishi should be 35 years old. Julie was extremely talented and creative. Maybe she would be a successful fashion designer. She might have been married. Perhaps she would have been a mom.

These kinds of thoughts probably fill the thoughts of Sam’s and Julie’s loved ones on a regular basis, but on this day, on the day they were taken away, the pain must be overwhelming.

Writing this blog, writing my book (we’re nearly finished), certainly doesn’t make me blind to the horrible results of my friend’s selfish and cruel actions. 

My sympathies go out to both families on this tragic anniversary.

23 thoughts on “Observing a Grim Anniversary”

  1. When going through the old stories, I see that close to the time of the brutality, everyone had friends and families that they were in contact with. Julie was very popular and had no shortage of family or friends. Sam, likewise, had many friends. People had commented in the past and in retrospect of being a friend or acquaintance of Rachel.

    Dan seemed to only have his brother, Tim, during this time. After Dan was in custody, he had you, a pastor, and his mother, although there could be other people who have not been mentioned. No real relationships with Dan are mentioned before the murders, aside from Rachel, Tim, and the people Dan killed. Do you know of other people in Dan’s life?

  2. Rachel is now married to Brian Elliot. They met at Medieval Times. Makes you wonder how long they were…together.

    1. Are you sure? An old Facebook post from her brother or other relative (Noah David Buffett) from 2012 talks about helping get her out of jail. If you look at his friends, there is a person named Rachel Capito who looks like an old version of Rachel Buffett. Looks like she had twin girls. Sucks for them!

    2. Good grief, another weird setting to hook up at… Medieval Times? I wonder what his pick-up line was… Hey wench, fetch me another ale before I swing this spiked ball at you.

      1. Hello Sir Lancelot, Rachel dated the actor who played the villain at Medieval Times. On her now deleted Facebook profile back in 2011, she announced she was engaged to Bill Elliot. I guess she finally married him, if comments here are true.

  3. I’m sure you (blog author) won’t read or reply to this since it’s not blindly supporting your post— no matter it is not meant for you.
    The idea of being “special” is alluring to everybody. But what makes somebody special? Doing something uncommon seems to be lowest common denominator. In this case, the author thinks “Me not famous, but me know someone famous”, and like a bird to a shiny rock she flocks to “Pat” in hopes her own life can take on some meaning. Basking in the outer edges of his limelight, she feels like finally she’s not just another nobody.

    Out of this whole case, I find Sam and Julie to be by far the most intriguing and compelling characters. The unlikely friendship struck up between the war-hardened softie and the bright, compassionate creative reminds me of why life can be beautiful. The capacity for people to good and create beauty is a slap in the face of a universe that is chaotic and indifferent to senseless cruelty.
    I’ll give you a hint to why your attempts to “philosophize” on the nature of “Pat” keep falling so obviously flat. THERE IS NOTHING OF SUBSTANCE TO BEGIN WITH. He did it because he felt like it and probably wanted money, simple as as that. There is no deeper reason and this makes him less interesting than a brick wall—Destruction is trivial; creation is a miracle.
    This story still makes me sad, seeing bad things happen to good people. But that’s the crux of it too. I feel sad because Julie and Sam are the folks that make life worth living. And knowing that people like them are out there at least makes me believe in something.

    1. I agree. This loser went and murdered innocent people instead of hustling and doing something interesting with his life to make money. Clearly a narcissist and an idiot.

  4. There’s one thing that I can’t figure out in this whole story. Ok, so Chris lends Dan money for his marriage and honeymoon. Why was he trying to collect the money before Dan even had his bachelor party? I just wonder if Dan would have done any of this if he had more time to pay back the loan. He had been told by Chris that the money came from very bad people who would most likely hurt him if he didn’t pay up. I’m not blaming Chris, but if he was worried that much about lending the money then he should have said no when Dan asked. To create a fake scenario in which somebody could get hurt badly over the money just makes no sense. I’m not sure how well he sleeps, but I think that would make me wonder if I did the right thing there. Not lending the money, or giving a reasonable amount of time to pay it back, without some crazy loan shark story may have saved a couple lives here. Very sad to think of it that way.

    1. Dan and the rest had planned to murder the Wozniak parents before Dan and Rachel ever met Sam. Around Christmas, the Wozniak boys sent their parents on a hot air balloon ride and Tim left the door unlocked so Dan could steal his dad’s gun. They never killed the parents.

      In February, Dan and Rachel moved to the apartments where they met Sam and later Julie. Dan got fired from jobs for stealing and Rachel was financially useless. Dan kited and floated checks, he stole, he borrowed $2,000 from Rachel’s brother Noah, and then he borrowed $100 from Sam. When he borrowed money from Sam, he allegedly saw Sam enter his PIN and then saw the balance for Sam’s combat pay.

      Dan got a DUI. He and others that included Noah discussed how Dan could pay his DUI because he needed to act in the play Nine. Sam was not paying anything toward Dan’s DUI. Somewhere along the way, Noah allegedly said he should because “he has more money than any of us.” At some point, allegedly, the discussion turned to syphoning Sam’s account at $400 per day and Noah said I wouldn’t mind being paid back at $400 per day.

      Chris needed money for surgery and his friends held a benefit concert. He is a friendly person. Dan and Rachel needed money for the DUI and rent. Chris loaned them $2,000 when they asked for $3,000 because he felt sorry for them. Dan said he was expecting money and promised to pay Chris, I think it was on a Wednesday. Dan did not pay Chris.

      Chris had bills that needed to be paid for his surgery and he thought Dan would not pay him, so he told Dan that the money was a loan from “bad people” who will break Dan’s legs if they did not get paid back on Friday. I don’t know the first day Chris said that.

      Chris talked to Dan on the phone Friday and Dan was panicking. Chris went to Dan and Rachel’s apartment. Dan was not in, so Chris talked to Rachel and told her that he was there to calm Dan and to give him until Monday to pay back the loan. Rachel told Chris to not give Dan more time because “he won’t pay you back at all.”

      Dan came in the door with someone he said was his brother and it was later learned that was Sam. Neither Chris nor Rachel told Dan he had more time to pay back the loan. Dan and Sam left.

      Dan returned a few hours later with $400 and no Sam.

  5. Your writing shows a definite bias which is unfortunate and your dislike of Rachel is obvious. It concerns me that your book, when it eventually comes out, will not be a completely factual account. As shown here you allow your friendship with Daniel to cloud your writing. At times you also surmise about many things rather than present actual facts. I suffer secondhand embarrassment when you come across as sounding like an infatuated teenager.

    1. I’m enjoying reading this blog to gain deeper insight into this case, e.g. Chris loaning money to Dan, but I have to agree wholeheartedly with Tui’s criticisms of the author.

      Chris is lucky to be alive. If he had loaned Dan say, $20000 instead of $2000, most likely Dan would have decided to kill him.

      Nor is it Rachel’s fault that she warned Chris not to give Dan more time to repay him. Rachel was trying to do a good thing by giving helpful advice to someone who had helped her and Dan out.

    2. I have to agree with your comment, Tui. I’m suffering more than embarrassment, though… it actually causes me anxiety, reading this blog, and thinking about the perspectives of this author. I’m sorry that this blog was started; sorry for the families of the victims, and sorry for the families of any victim of murder. It doesn’t seem likely that someone would take this road and write in this way, going so far as to comment that they are “willing to accept” that human memory is flawed and that Dan really does believe what he’s told this person, rather than to accept the high likelihood that Dan has put misleading information and falsehoods into writing while corresponding with them.

  6. From what I’ve seen of this blog the questions I find important are not really addressed here. Maybe they are being saved for the book? But I’m not at all interested in what it is like in prison, Dan’s current life and possible future, the intricacies of court hearings, a persons journey into the true crime world, or their possible sexual attraction to accused murderers. I think the more important things are how and why Daniel did what he did: Why did he have a gun to begin with? Was he raised with guns or was having one a new thing for him? Did he get it recently before the murder or had he had it for a long time? Did he have plans of committing crimes with it? Did he have prior fantasies about using it? How did he decide to kill his neighbor? Did he come up with this idea that day or had it been brewing? We’re there things that made him decide his neighbor was a good target? What was his drug use like at that time? Was he on drugs when he did the murder? Did he hide his drug use from others? Did he continue to use after the murder and how much? It seems extremely abnormal that someone would do these kind of killings. Does Dan think there’s something wrong with his brain? And what contributed to that? How was he able to do the things he did? Does he have a history of mental illness? How could he have done one murder and not been so full of remorse that he was able to do another? Was he satanic or demon possessed? Is he just messed up or was there something else that caused this accident to occur? Would he have killed again? Didn’t he think the bank transactions would easily result in his being caught?

    1. Bryan, wow! You should probably be the middle man between the author and Daniel. I suspect the author’s expertise is limited here and just too narrowly focused based on his own personality & bias.
      You have a great many good questions right off the bat. I personally see a similarity between this case and the Chris Watts/Colorado case, though I think from other things I’ve read here , Daniel was more of a low life to begin with and made extremely selfish financial/criminal decisions. The similarity to me between the two cases stems from a woman in the middle. While I don’t believe this Rachel girl was in any way involved I think she pushed Daniel’s buttons especially with a wedding coming up which they needed money for as well. An inferred pressure cooker vs direct threats from Rachel toward Daniel to get his act in gear. In other words, if there was no Rachel Buffet , or Nicole Kessinger, there would not have been murders. Yes of course both Daniel and Chris were capable of murder because they both committed murders— but, as all relationships have a distinct chemistry, it would have taken someone very much like Rachel or Nicole in their lives, to make each of the cowardly men feel some kind of made up pressure in their minds. This is just an opinion of course. Lets call it 51% sure about it.

  7. To the author:

    I find your blog fascinating and courageous to stand up for your convictions and share your friendship you have with Daniel. I have some questions for you — but from reading other posts, I suppose we are all to assume you never take the time to reply to us when we directly address you? That is a bit annoying. At least answer the simple question of “why do you choose not to answer us?” That would take you all of 10 seconds, wouldn’t it? I suspect perhaps the questions are too difficult for you.
    Here are my questions:
    1. Can you think of any examples/scenarios where you yourself see a death penalty is a “just” end to any given crime? For example, if you yourself witnessed the senseless murder(s) of one, or all the members of your own family, in a distinctly disrespectful, and “evil” way? Even though it’s an unpleasant thought, you as a writer owe it to yourself and us to really think about that and truthfully answer that question. What if Daniel had murdered someone YOU loved. Would you still feel like he is your friend? You do state that you understand how families of victims can feel the way they do, which puts you in a more unbiased light. But could you envision a scenario where the victim’s families themselves get to decide the fate should the perpetrator be found guilty? If that were the way things worked, in some cases, the murderer will given life, and in others, death, or, neutral and let state decide. In the end, the victim’s families can have the peace with a sentencing of what they feel is as “just as reasonably achievable”, and for to move forward with their lives knowing they had some say.
    2. Do you agree that in the cases where victim families would like the death penalty, that the knowledge of some of their own taxes are going to pay for Daniel’s “delicious ” food, and his general upkeep, is extremely revolting? To me, this is an EXTREMELY DISRESPECTFUL thing. It’s ironic that both Sam and Julie would gladly have preferred life in prison like Daniel has, with “delicious” food and a (from what I read) a somewhat carefree existence trying to “better themselves”, than the deaths they received.
    2. While I do agree with both you and Daniel philosophically, that NOT putting Daniel to death could serve some greater purpose, later on, (even if it is much, much later on), this means very little if Daniel hasn’t really felt true remorse. What I would like to know from you is if any publicly accessible videos or documents exist that might be able to convince any average onlooker that Daniel indeed HAS a substantial enough amount of remorse that might make a certain percentage of those skeptical of Daniel’s “questionably cushy” future on the taxpayer’s dime take pause, and at least begin entertaining the thought that sparing his life might make some sense. To be honest reading Daniel’s initial documents he submitted to you for the BLOG, did put him in a more positive light for me personally, as what he says is true as far as I can tell— however, I haven’t seen enough from him to really feel like sparing his life is just (yet). I hope that you can offer up something/anything that an convince some of your readers. You owe it to us. (Apologies if its obvious that you already have made this available, but I’ve yet to find it)

    Thank you!

  8. You’ve said nearly finished for 2 years. I really loved this blog at first but now I’d say there’s some attention fishing because I simply do not believe there is a book. The best writers do not take 7 years to write a book ‍♀️

  9. I’m very uncomfortable and disturbed by this blog, and by the attitude of its writer. I’m distressed by how this writer represents themselves. Mentioning that one is aware of an individual’s gruesome actions, and sending one’s love to the families of the victims, doesn’t make any of this okay. It doesn’t make the existence of this blog any less inappropriate or cringe-worthy. It actually has the opposite effect… I’ve been left with a distinctly hollow feeling in my stomach and a tightness in my throat after contemplating this blog, its contents, and its writer’s perspective.

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