December 14, 2015 was day three of Daniel’s trial. I couldn’t go to court that morning, which was unfortunate, because I missed one the most important witnesses of the guilt phase: Tim Wozniak (one of Daniel’s older brothers).
Luckily, I had some friends in the audience who took detailed notes! (You know who you are – and thank you.)
Continuing The Examination of Sergeant Ed Everett
Let’s start with the beginning of the day, which saw the continuing cross-examination of witness Sergeant Ed Everett. At the end of “Guilty – Part Three,” we heard the Sergeant testify that he believed Rachel Buffett should be sitting next to Daniel Wozniak and on trial for murder.
I’m guessing that this was the defense’s favorite of the police witnesses.
There was a lot of back and forth between the prosecution and the defense. The main goal seemed to be establishing if Rachel was part of the entire murder scheme, or if she was just an accessory after the fact. Matt Murphy was determined to have the jury know that there isn’t any actual evidence proving her involvement. Scott Sanders wanted them to know Everett’s personal opinion on the case.
During questioning, the defense established that Everett is one of the highest trained individuals in the Costa Mesa Police Department. Based on his training, he believes that “all the signs are there,” but proof can’t be established because the only person he knows who “has that proof is Mr. Wozniak, who seems to not want to offer it…”
So, we all get the point. Everett thinks Rachel was involved in the murders. There is no proof to his opinions.
And really, did they think it would make any difference to the jury when determining Daniel’s guilt? Scott Sanders had to know better than that. So why even draw attention to Rachel in the first place? Were they trying to sow a tiny little seed of reasonable doubt? More likely they were hoping this information would help Daniel during the penalty phase. (Spoiler alert – It didn’t!)
Murderer Musings TV Lawyer (MMTVL) is curious if the police are still actively investigating Rachel Buffett’s role / knowledge of this crime.
Next Witness: Derek Baker
In 2010, Derek Baker was the property manager of the Camden Apartments. He testified that Daniel and Rachel were in the eviction process at some point before the murders.
During cross, the defense established that no eviction actually took place and that the original notice had been settled with the apartment management’s lawyers.
OK, I get that the prosecution was determined to show Daniel was in terrible financial debt, but there are LOTS of people in much worse debt than he was in. His bank accounts were all overdrawn, but not by insane amounts. Also, he didn’t have any credit cards.
MMTVL wants to know what kind of deal was made with the management lawyers.
Next Witness: Jeff Kociencki
Jeff Kociencki (not sure about the spelling) was a close friend of Daniel’s in high school, and I’m guessing his testimony was a tad detrimental for the defense.
Jeff said that Daniel had asked him for an alibi. Back in May 2010, Jeff got a call from Daniel, who told him that a murder had taken place at the Camden Apartments and Daniel was being questioned. Daniel told his friend Jeff that he’d been alone at the time (“strolling around a duck pond”) and just needed Jeff to say they were actually together. Jeff did not agree to this.
MMTVL: Mr. Kociencki, did you happen to laugh when Mr. Wozniak said he was strolling around a duck pond? I apologize, Your Honor, but come on…a duck pond?
Next Witness: Tim Wozniak
Tim is the middle of the three Wozniak brothers, and ten years older than Daniel. Here is what I was told about Tim’s testimony:
- He spoke quietly, his eyes were glazed over, and at times, his face was very red.
- His answers were short. He gave minimal details. He often couldn’t “recall” the answers to questions.
- Tim was asked if he was getting immunity for testifying against his brother. His answer was no.
- During cross-examination, Tim said that his lawyer told him if he testified he wouldn’t go back to jail.
- So, it’s 5/27/2010. Tim had been looking for Dan to get some money from him. Tim went to Dan’s apartment at some point, but didn’t find him. Later the two of them talked on the phone and make plans to meet at a 7-11 around 2 AM.
- The defense made sure the jury knew that Tim was drinking and smoking pot that day.
- At the 7-11, Dan gave Tim a crate and he put it in the back seat of his car. Dan also gave him “a small amount” of money in bills and change for gas.
- At one point, they went to Noah Buffett’s apartment, took the saw and other tools (from the earlier photos) out of the crate, and left them at Noah’s.
- I think that Tim was alone after that. He still had the crate. Inside the crate is the backpack, which contained the checks, id, phone, shell casings, bloody clothes, and the gun.
- Tim took the gun out and gave it to some guy named Bob. Tim called him a “ballistics” guy. (No follow up on that!)
- Tim admitted to throwing the backpack over the fence into the backyard of his parents’ neighbors’ house.
- After Dan was arrested, Tim talked to Rachel, and found out that Dan was in trouble and needed a lawyer. Tim told Rachel “Dan left me a crate with stuff in it.”
That was all the information my friend gave me. It was pretty interesting stuff. Thank you again, unnamed court observer.
MMTVL: Does anyone happen to have a transcript on them?? When Rachel talked to Tim, was this the first she learned anything about a gun? Did Tim tell her what was in the crate? Did he know he was hiding evidence when he threw that bag into the neighbor’s yard!? Could he not find a better location to hide evidence? What’s his alcohol of choice? Is it whiskey? Did he happen to drink a lot of whiskey before throwing that bag into his neighbor’s yard? Yes, I know that isn’t relevant, but damn…the neighbor’s yard..?
Side note – Daniel doesn’t appear angry at all with his brother for testifying against him.
To Be Continued…