Lock Up / Lock Down: It’s an Honest Mistake

Hi readers. I apologize for the lengthy breaks between blog posts. I’m working on the book. It’s the holiday season. And, truth be told, there isn’t much to blog about in terms of Daniel’s case right now.

Originally, I planned to write a post all about the three-week long extended lockdown that took place in San Quentin State Prison this past September. In California prisons, a lockdown means inmates are locked in their cells twenty-four hours a day (this is probably twice as difficult for the prisoners who have cellies). For the duration of the lockdown, no visits or phone calls are allowed, and all classes and activities are suspended.

This topic seemed like the most noteworthy recent event in Daniel Wozniak’s life. But it wasn’t really a Daniel story, per se, so I put it off to write the last blog post, “It Worked for the Other Guy,“ about the major ruling in the Scott Dekraai case and the numerous connections to Daniel and his own trial.

While I was working on the Dekraai post, I asked Daniel to write me a letter describing what it was like for him during those three weeks being locked in a cell twenty-four hours a day.

However, we must have had a slight miscommunication issue. A week later, I received a detailed and interesting six-page typed letter from Daniel, but it was all about how he came to do an interview for the TV show Lockup six months after his arrest. Daniel wrote about being manipulated by the show’s producers and how his words were edited to make him look even more evil than he could have imagined.

Lockup, Lock down: It’s an honest mistake.

When I talked to Daniel after receiving his letter, I explained the whole “Lock down” vs “up” situation. He said he’d write me another letter, but pointed out that that being locked up all day, and having no visitors, calls, or classes, was the extent of the story. That’s why he thought I wanted information about his appearance on the TV show.

So, I’m afraid I won’t be blogging about the lockdown at SQ in this post. I’m sure I’ll revisit the topic at some point.

In case you’re disappointed about the lack of a lockdown story, I highly recommend checking out this story from San Quentin Radio.

Lockup: How to Make Egg Salad While Incarcerated

If you’ve been following Daniel Wozniak’s case for a while, you may have already watched the MSNBC Lockup Extended Stay: Orange County – Unholy Trinity episode that aired in 2011. If you haven’t seen Daniel Wozniak’s one and only on-camera interview, then I’m sorry to say you might have difficulty finding it now. It appears that two of the “unholy trinity” have been edited out of the show. The interviews with Jason Russell Richardson (aka “The Home Depot killer”) and Daniel are no longer part of the program in any of the versions I can find online. I don’t know about Richardson, but there’s still a bunch of legal controversy surrounding the show and Daniel’s case, so perhaps that is an explanation.

Nonetheless, I luckily had the full episode saved on my TiVo, so I was able watch it again before I wrote this post.

I first saw the Lockup episode when it originally aired six months after Daniel’s arrest. Orange County theatre people had been texting each other about how Wozniak was going to be on Lockup. At that point, I barely knew Daniel. I hadn’t started writing to him (or about him) yet. He was only that “actor from Nine who killed two people.” I couldn’t imagine what he would actually say in an interview.

Like everyone else, I’d read that Daniel confessed to murdering Sam Herr and Julie Kibuishi. But I’m a true-crime junkie, and I knew confessions are not necessarily the end of a story. I had met this man. I’d joked around backstage with him. I’d watched him perform on the stage of my theatre home.

Could that guy really have murdered two innocent people? Did I shake a hand that cut off a man’s head?

Doesn’t He Get It?

I had an open mind when I started watching that show, and then I saw Daniel Wozniak smiling into the camera and saying…

“I want people to know that I’m a good guy. I’m easy going. I enjoy long walks on the beach. I’m an Aries.” 

Ummm what did he just say??

Rewind… play….

“I want people to know that I’m a good guy. I’m easy going. I enjoy long walks on the beach. I’m an Aries.”

Dude! You are on Lockup! This is not an E-Harmony website!

Daniel Wozniak was off to a very bad start. I thought he must just be joking around. He couldn’t possibly think anyone cared about his astrological sign or the outdoor activities he used to enjoy.

And seriously, if you want people to think you’re a “good guy,” you probably shouldn’t commit murder. Just sayin’.

Next up, Dan gave the camera crew a tour of his humble abode: “Here is my sink.  Here is my toilet.”

It wasn’t a long tour – his sink and toilet were one and the same.

Good Eats: Orange County Jail Edition

When Daniel’s lunch was delivered (in a paper bag), he gave a food preparation demonstration in his cell. His lunch included a small container of carrots and a hard-boiled egg. Daniel explained how a clever convict could first eat the carrots, and then take the egg and some mayonnaise (lunch included an abundance of those little fast food mayo packets) and make egg salad in the now empty container.

That online dating video was getting more impressive by the minute.

There were shots of Daniel shaving with a tiny razor, footage of him on an escalator being escorted by a guard, and images of him sitting on his bunk. At one point, Daniel even read one of his favorite Bible verses for the audience.

Acting Oblivious? Or Just Oblivious?

When producer Suzanne Ali started asking Daniel questions about his case, he tried to avoid the topic. Daniel acted like he didn’t even know exactly what his own charges were. “They said I murdered two people. They said I dismembered one of them.”

Daniel talked about Sam Herr and Julie Kibuishi. How they were both great people, terrific friends, and would help anyone at any time.

It was clear to me that Dan Wozniak was attempting to perform for the camera. When he continued to claim ignorance about the details of his crimes, someone on the crew pulled out a cellphone and brought up some articles for Daniel to read.

As the camera zoomed in on the side of his face, Daniel scanned the phone screen. Seemingly overwhelmed with emotion, he started to cry. Even though he’d confessed to committing these crimes months earlier, we viewers were supposed to accept that Dan Wozniak was shocked to learn what was being written about him.

By the end of the show, I was completely convinced that Daniel Wozniak was a fake and a liar. Hell, maybe he didn’t even like long walks on the beach.

Up Next: Was Daniel Wozniak “Produced” by Lockup?

But in part two of this post, I’m going to give you Daniel’s explanation of how Lockup managed to make him look even worse than he already did, and why he even agreed to the interview in the first place.

I’ll give you a hint: it was all about talking to Rachel Buffet.

A Rachel Buffet Update

Speaking of Rachel – I attended her court hearing on November 28th. Technically she now has a trial date set for Feb 9, 2018. However, she still has a TRC (Trial Readiness Conference) scheduled for January 19th, so a lot can still happen before Rachel Buffett faces a jury. Fingers crossed, though.