Welcome 20/20 Viewers

Hello Everyone!

I’m taking a day off from working on the book to catch everyone up on a couple of items, especially since there might be new readers after the TV show 20/20 airs an interview with me for a two hour special about the terrible murders of Sam Herr and Julie Kibuishi (airing Friday, May 31 at 9:00PM local time on ABC).

For those who are new to the blog: Welcome! Thank you for checking it out. I hope you’ll read all the posts from the beginning.

I Know What He Is

As the title of the blog says, I am friends with Daniel Wozniak, who is currently on death row in San Quentin prison after being found guilty of killing both Sam and Julie.

I need to be very clear: I believe Daniel Wozniak is a murderer.  He’s honest about that with me. He’s not some wrongly convicted innocent person serving time for a crime he didn’t commit.

When I began this blog in 2015, Dan still hadn’t been to trial. Even though I was always pretty sure he was probably guilty of his crimes, I firmly believe a person is innocent until proven guilty, so before Dan’s conviction, everything I wrote about him used the word “alleged” when referring to his crimes. There were plenty of readers who didn’t like that, and didn’t like me because I was willing to “call that monster my friend.”

The murders of Sam Herr and Julie Kibuishi were monstrous.

About Sam Herr

Sam Herr was a decorated Army veteran who served in Afghanistan. Sam was stationed at Outpost Keating; which I learned about after reading Jake Tapper’s The Outpost: An Untold Story of American Valor (recommended to me by Sam’s dad, Steve Herr, during Daniel’s trial).

Sam Herr, his parents’ only child, returned safely from fighting in a war, went to college to better his future, and was then shot and killed by a community theatre actor.

As an extra gut-punch, Steve and Raquel Herr had to learn their son’s body had been dismembered.

His head had been removed. His hand and arm had been sawed or chopped off.  Sam’s body parts were stashed at a public nature center and eaten by animals.

And Sam’s parents learned about it all on what should have been Sam’s twenty -seventh birthday.

About Julie Kibuishi

Julie Kibuishi was a friend of Sam’s from college. The two met in an Anthropology class at Orange Coast College, and Julie offered to tutor Sam, who initially was having some difficulties with his grades. He ended up getting an A, and the two continued a close friendship.

By all accounts, this lovely, talented, and intelligent young woman would come to the aid of her friends at the drop of a hat. Julie is always described as kind, sweet, generous, funny, and talented (she graduated from Orange County School of the Arts, a prestigious arts high school).

She was only twenty-three years old; one of four children in a very tight knit family.

When she was shot twice in the head, she was wearing a costume tiara given to her hours before, when she was asked to be a bridesmaid in her brother’s upcoming wedding.

Why I Used A Pseudonym

There are people who can’t wrap their heads around how, or why, I’m able to be friends with the man who confessed to murdering these two people. I understand the confusion, shock, and sometimes outrage some readers have expressed in this blog’s comment section and on the Facebook page.

If you’ve been reading the blog for a while, you know I have used a pseudonym (Murderer Musings) from the beginning. I used pseudonyms for all the people involved, since I wanted to write about Daniel Wozniak without influencing his trial in any way.

When I found out this was not a concern for him, I started using everyone’s real names.

Everyone except me.

The story of Sam and Julie’s murders was already all over the media, but my name wasn’t and I felt the need to keep it that way. Early on, some commenters threatened me, and my children.

But truth be told, anyone could — and some people did — figure out my identity through unintentional but unavoidable “clues” in the blog.

After a while, and hopefully after reading my posts, most people got used to the idea of Dan Wozniak having a friend and that friend writing about him.

Seeking To Understand

Readers discovered that I’m not defending Dan’s actions. I’m just trying to understand how he sunk so low at one point in his life, and write about what kind of person he is today. I don’t want to judge a person by the worst thing he ever did.

I started the blog as a jumping off point to writing a true crime book about the murders of Sam and Julie. It’s my first time writing a true crime book (or any book for that matter) and I felt like I could use a little experience before tackling the Big Kahuna.

After some time, I felt secure enough that I decided to use my real name when the book comes out. Of course, with the 20/20 interview, the cat’s out of the bag a little early.

How It Began

Like many of you who are reading this, I’m extremely fascinated with true crime. I’ve been a huge fan of the genre for a very long time. In 2010, when I learned that an actor from my theatre company had just confessed to murdering two of his friends for money to go on a honeymoon… hell yes, I wanted to know more.

I wrote a letter to Dan at the Orange County Jail and… well you can read the blog to follow the story as it unfolded.

The Official Story Isn’t Necessarily the True Story

From early on, I had doubts that the public had been given the complete and honest story of Sam and Julie’s murders.

When I read about the case and saw interviews with law enforcement, my true-crime Spidey senses told me that, in spite of his confession, Dan Wozniak did not commit these two murders alone.

I’ve been learning the “true” story from Daniel himself these past couple of years, especially once Dan Wozniak was transferred to San Quentin, where our visits are not recorded.

It’s a bizarre story of an engaged couple whose jealousy and game playing led to the murders of two much-beloved people who did nothing to provoke their own deaths.

It’s not a nice story.

But in many ways, to me it makes much more sense than the one that came out in Daniel’s trial.  My plan is to have my book finished in about a year and a half, so I can share that story with all of you.

Thank You For Being Here

Thank you for checking out my blog. I’m writing this before the 20/20 episode airs, so hopefully I come across as the semi-normal person I am.

So, again: welcome new readers!

And to my old readers: Hey guys! I’m on 20/20. And I’m finally dropping that pseudonym!

Hi! I’m Glendele.

This is How Daniel Bought Me Lunch

On Friday September 25th, Daniel Wozniak went to court.

I went, too.  I wanted to get my own take on what’s going on with this 754-page motion Daniel’s lawyer, public defender Scott Sanders, filed at the end of August.

The overall goal of this motion as it pertains specifically to Daniel’s case?

Here is what I’m understanding:

  1. Daniel and his lawyer want a different judge.
  2. They want the Orange County District Attorney’s Office removed from the case and have it given over to the Attorney General’s Office (as happened in the Scott Dekraai case).
  3. They want the death penalty removed.

Does 754 pages seems excessive to make just those three points?

It isn’t hard to see that there is a lot more to this motion than just the parts that effect Daniel’s case, but, according to Sanders, it is all connected.

There was a front page story in The Orange County Register this past Sunday all about Scott Sanders and how he is “shaking the Orange County legal system to its bedrock.”  That is no exaggeration!  I sometimes imagine DA Matt Murphy taking out his frustrations on a Scott Sanders voodoo doll that he might keep in his briefcase.

Inside the Orange County jail, Daniel is receiving much more favorable reactions to all that has been happening in the OC legal system.  At least from his fellow inmates.  He gets thanked often; there are no dividing lines of race or gang membership when it comes to a dislike for the District Attorney’s Office.

This motion is as important to Daniel as it is to Scott Sanders.  Daniel and Scott are a team, working together to help people whose rights are being violated.  You could say that this has become a life’s mission for both men.

Daniel can turn a little preachy when he gets going on the topic:

corruption quote

Inside the Courtroom

On the 25th, Daniel appeared first before Superior Court Judge Gregg L. Prickett.   The courtroom was unusually full.  There were quite a few of the victims’ family members and friends.  Sam’s and Julie’s parents seemed to have a solid support group.  They all waited so patiently while listening to hours and hours of legal jargon.

The morning was spent on the Defense’s request that the currently assigned judge, John D. Conley, be taken off of Daniel’s case.

Judge Prickett listened to arguments from all sides (including a third party I believe was a representative of Judge Conley) and, in the end, called everyone back on October 2nd to presumably make a decision.  If Judge Conley is removed, that will mean a new judge will basically be starting from scratch, which will take even more time.

There was a much shorter hearing in Judge Conley’s courtroom immediately following.  The Judge made the obvious ruling that in spite of the previous scheduling, there would be no jury trial beginning on October 2nd.

I don’t think that anyone was surprised by this, but there had to be some extreme disappointment from Sam’s and Julie’s families.   In spite of this, they remained calm.

After The Proceedings

As we were all leaving the courtroom, Steve Herr held door open for me.  I thanked him and could swear he smelled like Old Spice, a scent that reminds me of my father, and of loss.  Maybe it was just my imagination.

Beyond learning more about the legal aspects of the case, and morally supporting my friend, I experienced a myriad of emotions that day.

I find these court proceedings truly interesting.   I’m fascinated to see in person what I normally watch on TV.

I was also worried.   Daniel was excited about the motion and happy that he had a friend in the crowd, and this caused him to repeatedly look back at me and smile during the hearing.  I didn’t want my friend to smile at me, or to smile period.  I want him to look serious or contrite or something that doesn’t resemble happy.  I feel like that’s the way to go when you’re being accused of murder.

I overheard the reporters from The OC Register discussing Daniel’s mood, and I was afraid that my presence would cause him to be described as “smirking.”  I found out later that he was given warnings from the Deputies for looking at the audience.  I don’t think Scott Sanders was pleased either.  Daniel didn’t mean anything by it, but that doesn’t matter, does it?

It was his smiling that drew the attention of a producer from the show 20/20 to me.  After seeing him mouth “thank you” in my direction, she approached me in the second courtroom to ask if I was Daniel’s friend.  I said yes, and she asked me if she could take me to lunch.  I agreed.  On the telephone later, Daniel joked that this was the only way he could “buy me lunch.”

I won’t lie. This was exciting. I love 20/20!

She and I talked a lot about my friendship with Daniel, our thoughts on the case, and all the legal wranglings that had happened that day.  We discussed Sam’s and Julie’s families and how painful this whole experience must be for them.

We also talked about my blog.  I said that my topics go from jail mail to court proceedings.

She told me that any program they might do on Daniel’s story will try to give a complete picture of him.  I would hope so.  I guess that includes talking to his friends and maybe even reading their blogs.