The public defender for an actor facing the death penalty for the grisly double murder of two people will seek to have the case thrown out today.
Scott Sanders of the public defenders’ office has filed a motion to dismiss the case, a motion the judge is slated to hear today.
Wozniak is accused of murdering and dismembering a friend at the Los Alamitos Liberty Theater, where he worked and the murdering a friend of the victim to cover the crime.
Wozniak has pleaded not guilty.
“There are some murders that are so cruel and done with such a depraved heart that the only justice possible for such a crime is the death penalty,” Orange County District Attorney spokeswoman Susan Kang Schroeder said when announcing the decision to seek the death penalty.
The district attorney’s office convened a panel of experts to determine that this case merited the death penalty.
Wozniak was a community theater actor, who would go on stage for a production of ``Nine'' in Fullerton after each slaying, authorities have alleged.
Wozniak, 28, is accused of shooting his neighbor Samuel Herr inside the Liberty Theater at the Los Alamitos Joint Forces Training Base in May of 2010 in order to steal Herr’s savings account. According to the Orange County District Attorney’s office, Wozniak shot Herr at the theater where Wozniak acted and then went to Herr’s apartment in Costa Mesa and lured Herr’s friend Juri “Julie” Kibuishi to the apartment by pretending to be Herr via text message. Police allege that once Kibuishi arrived, Wozniak shot her twice and staged a sexual assault to make it look as though Herr was the killer.
At that point, Herr became the prime suspect in Kibuishi’s death.
According to investigators, Wozniak returned to the Liberty Theater the next day and dismembered Herr, leaving his legs and torso and dumping Herr’s head and arms at the El Dorado Park Nature Center in Long Beach. Investigators also accuse Wozniak of giving Herr’s ATM card to a 17-year-old and asking the boy to withdraw $2,000 for him. The teen was arrested, and Wozniak became the prime suspect in the slaying.
Costa Mesa police arrested Wozniak five days later during his bachelor party at Tsunami in Huntington Beach on the night before his wedding. Investigators believe Wozniak committed the murders to help pay for his wedding.
According to a statement from the Orange County District Attorney’s office, Buffett fabricated a story about Herr, 27, having family problems to throw suspicion off Wozniak and help him “avoid and escape from arrest, trial, conviction and punishment for the felony."
His former fiancée Rachel Mae Buffett, 25, is accused of lying to investigators to help Wozniak evade authorities.
Arrested Nov. 20, Buffett pleaded not guilty in court.
She faces three felony counts of accessory after the fact. If convicted, she would face a maximum sentence of three years and eight months in state prison. Buffett, an actress who grew up in Seal Beach, worked as a princess at Medieval Times and played several characters at Disneyland, including Princess Ariel and Alice from Alice in Wonderland.