An ex-Disneyland princess and former fiancée of a California actor who murdered two men in twisted plot to steal their money to pay for his wedding has been convicted of lying to cops about the slayings, according to a new report.
Rachel Buffett, 31, was found guilty in Santa Ana court this week of two counts of being an accessory after the fact in connection to her ex-beau Daniel Wozniak’s murder of 26-year-old Afghanistan war vet Samuel Herr and his friend 23-year-old Julie Kibuishi in Costa Mesa back in 2010, the Orange County Register reported.
Following Wozniak’s 2016 capital murder trial, he was sent to death row. The court was left to determine whether Buffett played a role in plotting the killings or trying to cover them up, according to the report.
Wozniak’s attorneys alleged that Buffett had manipulated her ex — and the lead investigator in the case argued that Buffett should have stood trial alongside Wozniak, the paper reported.
Buffett, a community theater actress and former Disneyland princess, had formerly denied any connection to the murders during her appearances on “Dr. Phil” and “Dateline NBC” — and did not take the stand during her own trial.
At the trial, Senior Deputy District Attorney Matt Murphy explained that he was giving Buffett the benefit of the doubt in arguing she was not aware of the plot before the slayings took place — but alleged that she lied to cops in two separate interviews — one before Wozniak’s arrest and the other after, according to the report.
“Everybody knows [Wozniak] is a liar, everybody knows he is a horrific murderer,” Murphy told jurors in his closing arguments. “The question is, how much was she in the dark?”
But Buffett’s attorney, David Medina, insisted his client had given police key evidence — pointing them toward the murder weapon and placing her ex-fiancé at Herr’s murder scene, the paper reported.
“She did not know what Dan’s involvement was,” he added in the courtroom. “She did not know what Dan had done.”
Jurors had convicted Wozniak, 34, of the murders in December of 2015.
The debt-ridden Wozniak shot his neighbor, Herr, of Costa Mesa, to steal $50,000 the Army veteran had saved from service in Afghanistan, prosecutors said.
He then used a ruse to kill Herr’s friend, Julie Kibuishi — and attempted to make it appear that Herr had raped and killed her before taking off, according to prosecutors. He also dumped Herr’s dismembered body in a park.
The scheme unraveled, and Wozniak was arrested days later.
He had hoped to “use his magical acting powers to trick the dumb police,” prosecutor Matt Murphy told jurors in 2015, according to the Los Angeles Times.
Buffett is due back in court for sentencing on Nov. 8, and could face up to 44 months in prison, according to the report. Wozniak remains on death row.
- Facebook Messenger