Saturday, January 16, 2016

"Plot Twist" on NBC Dateline shows an actor plotting a double murder, framing someone else, unusually troubling story

NBC Dateline’s “Plot Twist” episode Friday night (Jan. 15) presented a bizarre case where a stage actor used his “talents” to carry out a 2010 double murder and try to frame someone else.  The Orange County register summarizes the facts.  (Look also at the secondary link, "Inside the Snitch Tank".)

Daniel Wozniak,  now 31, has received the death penalty from a jury in Orange County, CA.

Wozniak has planned to marry Rachel Buffett, now 28.  Broke and needing cash to start married life after a wedding, he lured Army combat veteran Samuel Herr to a clandestine location near the Los Alamitos training base and shot him, planning just to rob originally.  He later dismembered the body and then that same evening played the lead role in the musical “Nine” (by Maury Yeston) in the Hunger Artists Theater in Fullerton. The Dateline episode presented the acting performance of girl friend Rachel that evening as motivated by knowledge of the event.

Wozniak would subsequently use Herr’s cellphone to lure Juri Kibuishi and kill her in an attempt to “frame” Herr.  But he would be arrested at his bachelor party on his “last night of freedom” (literally) before the wedding.  Buffett has pleaded not guilty to charges of acting as an accessory. Dr. Phil had a show about her situation.  All of this sounds like the actions of a psychopath.

NBC Dateline has a link to the entire episode story (as a "preview") here.   The embed offered goes to the wrong news story (which is a consistent and annoying problem with embeds offered on NBC's site); I wish NBC would fix this problem.

The episode is noteworthy in that, in the past  two decades (after publishing my first book) I have met numerous actors and show and movie people and never encountered anything remotely like this.
This crime episode is surely one of the most troubling Dateline has ever aired.

Update: March  5, 2016

ABC 20-20 covered the same case as "Mystery in Apartment 410", one hour, on March 4, press release here.  The jury recommended the death penalty.

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