Updates and Some Answers to Questions

Hello Readers!

Let’s begin by addressing the elephant in the blog: long time, no hear from me, and I am sorry about that.

I wrote the majority of the posts on this site years ago, when Daniel’s trial was taking place, and when he was first transferred to San Quentin’s death row.

I haven’t had much to add to the blog lately because Daniel Wozniak’s life isn’t changing much these days.

He is in prison. For life.

Even though he is now incarcerated at the California State Prison in Vacaville, he is still officially and legally a condemned man.

Daniel Wozniak’s Activities at Vacaville

In Vacaville, he is employed as a tutor, a group leader, and a hospice worker, to name a few of his many jobs behind bars. As a reminder: Daniel is part of a pilot program to house death row inmates in facilities where they can work instead of spending twenty-three hours a day in a cell.

Sam Herr’s parents have expressed some frustration that Daniel isn’t more uncomfortable… or dead.

It’s understandable. I always keep them updated about any changes in Daniel’s incarceration before I post here, and I know it’s not good news for them when his life improves.

I am, admittedly, glad that my friend has been given an opportunity to make something out of his life. I am pleased to hear him talk about the work he’s doing to help the situations of other inmates, most of whom are not murderers and will eventually be released from prison.

But Dan Wozniak didn’t kill my child.

Answers to Some of Your Questions

Death Penalty Postion?

A blog reader (hey, Jude (I wonder if they ever heard that one before)) recently asked me if I could imagine a scenario where a person deserves the death penalty.

My answer is that I am not sure. Probably not, because I would always be concerned about the possibility of executing an innocent person.

Dan Wozniak is not an innocent person.

Can I see why Sam’s and Julie’s loved ones wanted Dan Wozniak to receive the death penalty? Yes! Steve and Raquel Herr know Dan Wozniak will never be put to death by the state of California, but a death sentence still has meaning for them. It sends a message about the level of horror Dan inflicted on Sam and Julie.

Too One-Sided?

I’ve had readers suggest that my blog is too one-sided in favor of Daniel.

I chose to focus on Daniel because his was a “side” only I had the opportunity to represent.

The murders of Sam Herr and Julie Kibuishi elicited massive amounts of interest and have been covered by dozens of TV shows, podcasts, and news outlets. But I am the only person Dan trusts to be fair to him and open to the possibility that other people were involved in the murders of Sam and Julie. He knows that I am honestly his friend.

“How Can You Call Him Your Friend?”

I understand when readers question how I could be aware of Daniel’s actions and still be his friend.

I have been told a story that doesn’t exonerate Daniel, but it does give other explanations for his motivations and for his actions. My book is based on Dan’s version of events, and much of it is compiled excerpts from the hundreds of letters Daniel has written me since 2015.

My purpose is to organize his claims and compare them to known “facts” so that readers have the opportunity to decide for themselves what they want to believe.

Closest to the Truth

I don’t necessarily believe everything myself, to be honest. However, I don’t believe much of the official story, either… which also came directly from Daniel’s confession. I’m also willing to accept that human memory is faulty and that he does believe everything he’s telling me.

The blog was mostly written during Daniel Wozniak’s trial, but I’ve received a lot more information since then, and I now have the entirety of Dan’s story. It has always been my intention to shift my attention from the blog to writing a book that, by its nature, can be more informative.

It’s taking me a long time to write. Much longer than I would have expected. But, I’m hoping the time I’ve dedicated will eventually lead to a better book.

“Why Do You Ignore the Comments?”

I must apologize to new readers discovering my blog for the first time, and especially to those of you who ask questions in the comment section.

Reading and responding to comments is very challenging for me. First, as you can imagine, many of the people writing comments just want to say nasty things to me. Like, some really bad stuff. This is why my long-time editor Matt is the one who reads all the comments and decides which ones are appropriate to post.

Sometimes, readers have great questions and interesting theories. Everything readers are asking is covered in the book, but I don’t want to just keep giving the same, “You’ll read it in the book,” answer, because I know the book is taking a long time to complete.

Close the Comments..?

Every once in a while, Matt sends me an email nudging me to give some attention to this blog. Sometimes I’ve wondered if I should just close up the comments section, but it seems readers enjoy sharing and discussing theories with each other.

I’d like to know your thoughts on this, because I’m sorry to admit that I’m not likely to improve in terms of comment attention. But I really do appreciate all the readers; both new and those of your who’ve been around for a while, and I can’t tell you how much I want to get the book out to all of you.

So, I’m going to be back to work on that!

Thank you for your comments.

Answers To Your Comments

Hello readers!

I’ve been getting some really insightful questions from commenters who listened to the Sword and Scale podcast. Margie W and Liz G brought up some interesting points, and each asked great questions that often overlapped.

I’m going to answer some of the questions now… but some will have to wait for the book.

Q: Did Noah and Nate (Rachel’s older brothers) know Dan had borrowed tools from their apartment?

At the time of Sam Herr’s and Julie Kibuishi’s murders, there were five Buffett family members living in that converted office space. It’s likely someone saw Dan borrowing the saw and ax, especially since he didn’t try to hide the fact. Dan has said Noah was present when the tools were returned, and Noah learned at some point how the tools had been used.

Q: The day Sam Herr was murdered, Dan Wozniak firmly believed Sam and Rachel had an affair. He learned this information from Rachel one week earlier. Was jealousy a contributing factor to both Sam’s and Julie’s murders?


Q: Was there jealousy toward Julie Kibuishi from Rachel Buffett?


I’m going to quote reader Liz G:

“Dan’s downfall was very likely the fact that Julie got murdered.”

In other words, he may never have been caught if Sam had been the only victim.

I have my own opinions on that:

I think she felt she had to wait out a couple of months just to make sure Dan wasn’t going to tell the police anything about her own involvement in the murders. It looked to me like she jumped ship when she felt secure in Dan’s decision to continue to protect her. However, Dan has his own opinion, and it’s more entertaining. He suggested Rachel may have found a sex tape that Dan made with his ex-girlfriend while engaged to Rachel.

Side Note For Rachel Buffett…

Happy belated birthday! I’m guessing it was much more enjoyable than the one you spent behind bars. I apologize for being one month off when I sent you the birthday card at the OC Jail.

Rachel, if you are at all interested in giving me your side of the story, and you believe Dan is being untruthful, please allow me to interview you.

Q: Why did you make the title of the blog a question?

I added the “?” on the title because a close friend kept begging me to change the name. She was worried about some of the meaner comments I’ve received over the years.

I am aware that calling Daniel Wozniak my friend has caused a lot of anger.

I did not expect people to wish for my death.

Still, I originally chose the title because I knew it would grab people’s attention when they searched the case of Sam’s and Julie’s murders. It has.

But after thinking it over, I realized my friend was right about the blog’s title possibly upsetting people so much they don’t actually read the blog. I’m hopeful the “?” shows that I am asking important questions.

I’ve debated with myself on the title of the book. Same as the blog’s name? With or without a “?”

Q: When will the book be released?

I’m just not sure. I work on the book like it’s a full-time job, but a lot depends on my next panic attack (regarding my own anxiety about putting out the best book possible). Also, my kids are home all the time because of the pandemic, so my writing does get interrupted often.

No worries though; I am motivated! I am lucky that, unlike so many people during this pandemic, I’m not having any financial issue to keep me from writing.

It means a lot to me when readers tell me they are excited about reading my book. I also really appreciate compliments about my writing (more than you know.)

I’m so glad I started with the blog first. It has taken some time, and numerous experiments, to figure out just how to tell you all Daniel’s version of the events leading to the murders, but still show that I’m questioning and analyzing his words like we True Crime lovers do.

You readers and I are going to delve into his story together. I honestly find a lot of credibility in what he’s told me. But it’s all very complicated.

A good example is what Dan has told me about Chris Williams.

If you recall, Chris was an extremely important witness in both Dan’s and Rachel’s trials. He was Rachel’s alibi for Sam Herr’s murder.

According to Daniel, the money borrowed from Chris Williams was for the purpose of buying ecstasy and Oxicontin, and Chris was waiting around all afternoon because he wanted to pick up a purchase. That’s how Daniel tells it.

Daniel also claims Rachel didn’t tell the Costa Mesa Police about her own alibi because she didn’t want to admit to a drug deal. This is just one extra branch on the tree of Daniel’s story that wasn’t brought up in trial at all.

So… how much of the story Daniel has told me will you guys choose to believe once you’ve heard everything?

Side note for Chris Williams…

It would be amazing if you’d let me interview you. Don’t worry, you don’t come off as a bad guy in Dan’s story at all, but he does have you included in drug using and purchasing.

Q: Is the blog and the book you’re working on a collaboration with Daniel Wozniak?

The book is in no way a collaboration with Daniel. I don’t share my work in progress with him at all.

There are places in the book when I’m recreating conversations Daniel told me he had with Rachel, Julie, and Sam. I have occasionally sent him early drafts of those pieces to confirm that I’d grasped the gist of what happened.

However, we both agreed early on that he would answer my questions, but have no involvement in what I write. He has absolutely no editorial or “veto” power.

There are numerous quotes included. I believe readers will appreciate the opportunity to hear some of this story in his own words.

I do actually feel like Daniel is a real friend to me. Even a good friend. I also believe this person isn’t the same man he was in 2010.

I’m not saying, “Oh he’s changed. He deserves to be free.” That wouldn’t be fair. It wouldn’t be justice. I’m sure some of you will doubt my sanity, but without Rachel Buffett in Dan’s life, I don’t believe he is dangerous in any way.

I don’t feel like I can say the same about Rachel Buffett. She could probably find any man to help her be dangerous.

Q: Why did Rachel ask, “Did you kill them?”

Yes, Rachel Buffett did ask Dan Wozniak if he killed “them” when she spoke to him on a recorded telephone conversation from the Orange County Jail. This was before Dan confessed, and before he dropped the bombshell that Sam Herr had also been murdered. Rachel found out about Sam’s killing as soon as Dan arrived back at their apartment, and Chris Williams had left.


There has been a surprising amount of interest in my hair color change. I actually find it kind of funny for a number of reasons.

  1. I’m a natural blonde. My real hair color is slightly redder than the current color, but when my roots show, it’s difficult to see much of a difference.
  2. I lived as a blonde for many years before Rachel Buffett was even born.
  3. My hairstylist is my really close friend. Going back to blonde was completely her idea. I took some convincing actually. I was worried that I’d look like a member of the Malfoy family. She now thinks it’s hilarious that my hair color has sparked such interest.
  4. My husband and my kids really like the blonde.

I really haven’t taken this “criticism” with much offense, but it’s nice that some readers were worried about my feelings.

Here is a groovy picture of me and my older brother that was obviously taken before Rachel Buffett was born in 1987.

Hopefully, that will put an end to all the silly rumors.


A Recommendation

Have any of you watched the HBO docuseries I’ll Be Gone in the Dark, about Michelle McNamara’s book on the Golden State Killer?

McNamara’s book is so beautifully written, but she didn’t live to see it published.

I find this story so heartbreaking, especially for her young daughter and her husband, comedian Patton Oswalt. The whole situation resonates with me in a way. She was writing a book about terrible crimes, but in the telling, she was also part of the story.

The HBO series focuses a fair amount on Michelle’s anxiety and stress about her writing the best book she could write. I feel rather connected to her overall story. I actually got to meet Patton Oswalt before his show at the Irvine Improv, because he likes my husband’s art. He was extremely friendly and welcoming. He also blew my mind when he did a bit onstage about his True Crime-obsessed wife. I remember feeling very simpatico with their lives.

Responding To Your Comments and Questions

Hello Blog Readers!

I wanted to check in with you guys and let you know I have been busy writing the book. It means a lot to me when commenters say they are looking forward to reading it. I wish I could write it faster. It would nice to have all the time in the world to work on it. It will be done, though… I promise.

Killing for You

I know there was another book recently released about Daniel Wozniak and the brutal murders of Sam Herr and Julie Kibuishi. It’s called Killing for You, by Keith Elliot Greenberg.

Have any of you read it yet? I plan to. I’m writing more than I’m reading these days, but I did buy it for my bio-mom. She said, It’s written well,” but his style, “isn’t very exciting.” Also, she didn’t learn anything new about Daniel or the case. In Greenberg’s defense, she does have some insider knowledge.

The Author’s Visit

During Daniel’s Wozniak’s first year of incarceration at the Orange County Jail, Keith Elliot Greenberg contacted him about writing a true-crime book. Mr. Greenberg did not make a great first impression with Daniel when he showed up one day, without warning, during Daniel’s visiting time at the OC Jail. Daniel was brought in for his visit expecting to see his mom and dad, and instead saw this “Jim Henson look-alike” waiting for him.

Reporters are supposed to go through a specific process to visit with inmates. They are expected to identify themselves and, if an inmate agrees to be interviewed, the reporter will not take up regular visiting time.  Sometimes a writer hopes to surprise an inmate and perhaps catch him off guard.

Daniel suspected this was the case with Keith Greenberg and immediately ended the visit. He told Mr. Greenberg to go back to check in and tell them Daniel Wozniak had refused to talk to him.

Killing for You is not going to give you any insights into Daniel’s motive or his account of the murders of Sam Herr and Julie Kibuishi. However, Mr. Greenberg most likely had a great deal of access to the friends and loved ones of Julie and Sam. That’s the part of the story where I’m sadly lacking, and maybe Keith Greenberg’s book will give me some insight.

What To Expect From My Book

As for my book, well you’ve probably already figured out it is not going to be a typical true crime book. I am going to piss some people off, and hurt some people emotionally. I don’t take this fact lightly.

Maybe that’s why I’m so slow to finish my book. Plenty of people will read it and call me (well…Daniel Wozniak) a total liar. It will be up to you what you choose to believe in this story, but I’m guessing many of you will, as I do, find Daniel’s explanations to be believable…

My book will not try to convince you that Daniel isn’t a murderer. My friend is a murderer. I understand and accept that fact. There is nothing that can be done to change that. But I’m also going to try to show you there’s more to Daniel Wozniak than the worst thing he ever did, and that he was found guilty of some crimes he did not commit.

Who (Else?) Done It?

“But Murderer Musings, if Daniel didn’t do something, then who did?”

“Good question, Clever Reader. But you know I’m not going to tell you that in the blog. That’s for the book.”

I have to admit; you readers are coming up with some pretty accurate scenarios with your comments. I’m impressed.

My daughter is binge watching Game of Thrones. She wants to be caught up before the final season airs. I’ve been watching from the beginning and know everything that’s happened up to now. When she talks to me about episodes from early seasons, and makes predictions about the future of the show’s characters, I’m not allowed to say anything in response. I can’t even make a facial expression because she’s worried I’m somehow going to give something away.

This is the same reason I don’t answer your questions about motive, and the possible involvement of other people in this crime.


Readers often comment on the blog and Facebook page that my writing isn’t “objective.”

Objective (of a person or their judgment) – Not influenced by personal feelings or opinions in considering and representing facts.

I might as well just set this straight right now: My book will not be objective. It will most definitely be influenced by my own personal feelings and opinions. I’m also completely aware that Daniel could be lying to me about everything.

Has he possibly stretched the truth or misremembered a piece of the story? Maybe. But I think he’s been truthful with me. You guys will have to read and judge that for yourself.

The ultimate truth is, Sam and Julie are dead. Neither of them did anything to deserve being murdered. That, I do know. There is nothing that can bring them back or stop the pain felt by the Herr and Kibuishi families. I also don’t believe they’ve received all the justice they deserve.

By the way, it appears Rachel Buffett’s trial (accessory to murder after the fact) has been pushed back to October sixth, 2017.

My Identity

To answer another common comment: I am definitely going to reveal my identity when the book is published. Not that it’s such a big deal, but at this point I might just as well wait and spill that information when I spill everything else.

A Recommendation

Hey, if you’re a podcast listener, I highly recommend checking out Ear Hustle. It’s from inmates in San Quentin. It’s not from death row, it’s the mainline, but it’s a great podcast. It’s funny, touching and informative.

In the next post, I’ll tell you all about the recent nearly three-week long lock down at San Quentin (which they mentioned on Ear Hustle).

Daniel’s Comments on Comments

There probably won’t be much to blog about Daniel and his case for the next eight weeks, because he’s not scheduled to be sentenced until September 23rd. This doesn’t mean I’m going to abandon the blog or anything, but the posts might be fewer and farther in between (as you possibly have already noticed – so sorry).

I want you guys to know that I truly value the blog readers. It doesn’t matter if you like what I write about or not, I just think it’s great that people take time to read anything I’ve written at all. I’m especially appreciative when comments are left. I know it takes me FOREVER to reply to comments. I will be honest with you, I need to be in a certain state of mind to tackle comment reading and replying. I have to be feeling “thick skinned,” I guess.

I have mentioned writing a book about this topic more than once in the blog. Some of you think it’s a great idea and some of you think I’m fame seeking and money grubbing. That’s cool. Everyone is entitled to an opinion. My dad used to say “Opinions are like assholes. Everyone has one.”

I’m not calling you folks assholes. So please re-read the quote before you get all “typey typey” on the comments page.

I think I do need to shift my focus into figuring out what kind of book I want to write. Because I’m not exactly sure yet. I do know it won’t be your regular “true crime” book. Which is funny, because that’s what I’d set out to write in the first place.

As for this current post, I’m letting Daniel help me “write” it.

I always send him copies of my posts after they are made public. I want to get his take on what I wrote, and find out if he agrees or disagrees with any points I’ve made. I also send him your comments.

He started writing a few replies to the comments for me because:

  • He felt compelled to reply to some of you.
  • He wanted me to know his thoughts and feelings about some of the readers’ opinions.
  • He didn’t want me to have to assume his answers to readers’ questions.

Admittedly, Daniel was really only writing his comments for me. He didn’t mean for me to put his words all over the blog. I talked to him about it, though.

I explained that a lot of what he says is thought provoking, and conveys the Daniel I see and have befriended. I asked for permission to share a bit of what he wrote to me. He agreed and was fine with me paraphrasing or editing him (for clarity of understanding and fluidity of language).

Unfortunately, Daniel didn’t start at the very beginning.

Which is a very good place to start.

I have been reading this from start to finish since watching Dateline, which I saw by chance.

I am curious.

How much cash did Daniel get from Sam’s account?

Was it Worth it? ~ j.n., February 4, 2016, commenting on the post “Guilty – Part 4”

Daniel’s response:

“I believe the entire amount taken was $1500 (from three days of ATM withdrawals). But the amount is of money is only worth bringing up if you choose to believe the prosecution’s theory of a financial motive. Either way, no amount of money is worth a person’s life.”

Is there an official transcript of the police report in which Rachel said she saw the “phantom” hooded friend? Since the whole case against her is circumstantial, her wording is crucial. In interviews (like Dr. Phil) she says it’s doubtful that she used the words “I saw…”, and that she thinks she put it more like “there was…” (presumably because Dan had told her of a third party and at that point she had no reason to disbelieve him). Everyone’s arguing, but so far, nobody that I know of has come forth and just shown what it is she EXACTLY said.

Also, where is she now? Does she have to go to trial too? I heard she was arrested with $1M bail. Has she been in jail all this time? If not, how much time has she spent behind bars? ~ Scott, January 31st, 2016, commenting on the post “Guilty – Part 5”

First Daniel made a joke about how he hopes this wasn’t his defense attorney, Scott Sanders.

“You can find a copy of Rachel’s statement by reviewing her interrogation interview.”

Ummm, and how might we obtain that, Daniel?

Daniel continued, “The first time Rachel talked to the Costa Mesa Police Department was at the apartment of Rachel’s brother, Noah. During that initial contact, Rachel said she ‘saw’ the third unknown guy who was with Sam on the day of his murder. At her first official interrogation, Rachel again stated that she ‘saw’ the guy.

“After that,” Daniel continued, “Rachel’s story changed. Then she claimed what she meant to say to the police is that she had just ‘heard’ there was a third man from Daniel. She believed it to be fact and she was trying to give detectives all the information without having any omissions.

“It’s tricky to determine what she said and what she meant, but why would she choose to say that she actually ‘saw”’ this man originally? Rachel has been very careful when making statements, so what reason / benefit would there be for her to tell the police that a third man was present?

“Likewise, remember that Rachel failed to say that Chris Williams was with Rachel at her and my apartment when Sam was murdered. Why make one person vanish (especially someone who can be your alibi), and yet make up the existence of a third unknown mystery man? You will have to ask her that yourself, but if she had nothing to hide, why lie?

“Also, Rachel is out on bail currently. It wasn’t a million dollars. Maybe closer to $3,500. She spent four days in jail during Thanksgiving of 2012.

“Rachel was offered a plea bargain a while back for testifying against me. She refused.”

 I am fascinated as to Daniel’s thinking process by planning these two murders and the disposal of the one body. I feel that he is much like all the rest of us but he faltered that one time. Had he not he would be free today. I am curious as to what his specific plans were in committing the murders and what he imagined the outcome would be????? ~ R. Harris, February 1st, 2016

(You and me both, R).

 Daniel’s response:

“Well Mr. Harris, let me just say there wasn’t much planning in this tragedy. Things happened and it became a ’what to do’ situation as a result. I’m human, like the rest of you. We all fuck up sometimes. I never had any criminal background, and I lived a very typical life. I know it may be difficult to believe, but there was no specific plan in Sam’s murder. Everything fell apart in trying to ‘clean up’ a horrible mistake. If anyone deserves to be in jail, it’s me.”

Seems unlikely that he faltered once, and then went on to kill two innocent people, laughing while dismembering one. At the very least, he “faltered” twice. ~ Bill, April 2, 2016

 Daniel’s response:

“Hi Bill. I have faltered way more than twice. But this was my worst. This situation is so emotionally painful. Life is irreplaceable. Death is so final. And so many people are affected by it. I never felt my actions would cause so much damage. It is difficult to think of the future when you’re so caught up in the moment. I let emotion get the better of me and now so many people are suffering the consequences as a result. I would gladly give up my life if it meant I could bring back Sam and Julie.”

That’s it for this post. I hope you found Daniel’s responses interesting. If you’re anything like me, you probably have a slew of new questions now as a result. If so, I hope you share them in the comments. And if you have any thoughts on the direction you like to see the book take, I’d welcome those as well.