A Long Beach woman was arrested Tuesday on charges that she was an accessory to the 2010 dismemberment murder of her then-fiance's neighbor. Prosecutors allege that the accused killer planned to raid the victim's bank accounts to pay for the engaged couple's wedding.
Rachel Mae Buffett, 25, of Long Beach, was booked Tuesday afternoon and was being held on $1 million bail, Costa Mesa police Lt. Paul Dondero said. Buffet is the one-time fiancee of Daniel Patrick Wozniak, who is accused of slaying and dismembering his neighbor inside a Los Alamitos theater and then killing the victim's friend in an elaborate plot to cover up the first murder.
Buffett was engaged to marry Wozniak in May, 2010 when he was arrested and charged with the murders of Samuel Eliezer Herr, 26, and Juri Julie Kibuishi, 23, of Irvine, Dondero said. Wozniak, 26, was indicted for murder and pleaded not guilty in May, 2012.
Prosecutors are seeking the death penalty for Wozniak. Wozniak's brother, Timothy Wozniak, 38, was arrested and charged in January for also being an accessory to murder, Dondero said. Timothy Wozniak pleaded not guilty in February and is due in court Nov. 29.
Daniel Wozniak is next due in court Dec. 14 for a pretrial hearing when a judge will consider motions to suppress evidence and a motion to dismiss the case.
Wozniak was a community theater actor, who would perform in a production of ``Nine'' in Fullerton after each slaying, authorities have alleged. Wozniak killed Herr at the Los Alamitos Joint Forces Training Base, Deputy District Attorney Matt Murphy has alleged. Then he lured Kibuishi back to Herr's apartment, fatally shot her and then took off some of her clothes to make it appear Herr killed her, Murphy alleges.
Wozniak then returned to the theater on the military base where he allegedly dismembered the victim, then scattered the body parts in the El Dorado Park Nature Center in Long Beach, Murphy alleges.
Authorities have alleged he was trying to cover up the first crime. Wozniak was arrested at his bachelor's party at a Huntington Beach restaurant. Authorities allege he killed Herr to steal his savings and pay for his wedding and honeymoon. Investigators have been focusing on Buffet since grisley killings, Dondero said.
-- City News Service