On December 15, 2015, Matt Murphy called Michael Anthony Cohen of the Costa Mesa Police Department back to the stand and continued to show the jury Daniel’s interview with the police.
The police continued to work on Daniel for a confession as they tried to locate Rachel. They made comments like, “your world has crashed down,” ”just try to right a wrong,” and “I’m not a dentist. I don’t pull teeth.”
Daniel was crying. Face buried in his hands, he said, “I did not murder anyone.”
Then, Rachel showed up at the police station and was brought into the interrogation room with Daniel. He was supposed to tell Rachel what his role had been in Julie’s murder. He was quiet and mumbly on the recording. The jurors had the advantage of being able to follow along on a paper transcript.
Daniel admitted to Rachel that he’d been involved in an ATM scam with Sam. He told her about Sam coming to their apartment on Saturday morning. How Daniel had seen the body and helped Sam get away.
Before leaving the room, Rachel asked when she could talk to Daniel again. She was told she could call from jail.
Daniel whispered, “I fucked up.”
“Yeah you did,” she whispered back as she left.
The questioning continued. Daniel stuck to his current story. The police asked Daniel to give closure to Julie’s family. When they got nothing else, they booked him.
That’s where the video stopped for now. The jury would next hear an audio recording of a telephone call between Rachel and Daniel. It was a game changer.
Rachel knew the call was recorded. Daniel knew the call was recorded. So when Rachel told Daniel that his brother Tim had a murder weapon, they both knew the police had heard this.
Rachel said she was going to call the detective. When he heard all this damning information, Daniel told her, “I’m going to tell them everything… I have to do something now.”
He asked her to come to the police station right away, and told her, “Now I’m dead.”
“Baby, you are already dead,” said Rachel Buffett to her fiancé right before he confessed to murdering two people.
We went back to the video and the now-familiar interrogation room scene.
This is when Daniel admitted to being the murderer of not only Julie, but Sam as well. Daniel told the police about shooting Sam at the Liberty Theatre, and how he eventually went back to dismember the body.
They learned that Julie’s murder was part of a devious plan to frame Sam. Daniel told them it was all for the motive of “money and insanity.”
During this confession, Daniel went from weeping to hysterical laughter and back to weeping again. He repeatedly reminded the police that it was “all (him) and no one else,” who committed these horrendous acts.
The video was finally turned off, and Scott Sanders now had the opportunity to cross examine Cohen.
He asked if there was a formal interview with Rachel Buffett at the time of Daniel’s confession. Cohen didn’t know.
MMTVL just has a few questions to add:
Was there any DNA actually found on Julie’s body? Are there any more recorded phone calls between Rachel and Daniel? Is there more video of Daniel’s interrogation the jury was not shown?
Next Witness: Detective Larry Fettis
Detective Larry Fettis was in charge of the search scene at the El Dorado Nature Center. He testified that he found the skeletal remains of a human hand. He had marked it as evidence.
No cross examination.
MMTVL (sound effect of shivering)
Next Witness: Detective Jose Morales
Morales was the second to last witness for the prosecution. He was asked to explain how he’d gone through Julie’s cell phone. He told the jury about taking screen shots (the ones that were used in court).
Morales also identified locations on a map displayed on the overhead screen. He pointed out the Hunger Artists Theatre, Orange Coast College, the Camden Apartments, etc.
MMTVL Oh hey are you the officer who interrupted my rehearsal that one time? We were on a break anyway. Hunger Artists isn’t there anymore, by the way. This has no relevence to the case, it’s just too bad the place closed.
Final Witness For The Prosecution: Dr. Anthony Juguioun
Dr. Anthony Juguioun is the CMPD Chief Forensic Pathologist. He did not actually perform the autopsies on Sam and Julie, but he had the notes from the doctor who was given that assignment.
Dr. Juguioun showed a diagram of a skull while he explained Julie’s bullet wounds. Next, a diagram of a male body was shown on the screen as the doctor discussed Sam’s bullet wounds and how his body had been decapitated. He said that Sam’s right hand was never found.
There was no cross examination of Dr. Juguioun.
After this final witness, the prosecution rested.
After calling no witnesses at all, the defense rested.
Up next: Closing arguments.