Ex-Fiance Pleads Not Guilty to Aiding in Double Murder
SANTA ANA, Calif. (KTLA) — 25-year-old Rachel Buffett was jailed two weeks ago as an alleged accessory to a gruesome double murder. The accused killer is her former fiance.
But now, Buffett’s brother tells KTLA that she had nothing to do with the crimes, and is being wrongly imprisoned.
“Rachel is a Disney princess. She’s our little princess,” brother Noah Buffett told KTLA.
Rachel even gets paid to play a fairy princess at a local dinner theater, but now Noah’s little sister is behind bars.
Rachel is accused of lying to police and repeating a fabricated account that her then-fiance Daniel Patrick Wozniak, 28, initially told detectives.
She pleaded not guilty at a hearing on Monday, and is being held on $100,000 bail.
An Orange County Superior Court judge set Buffet’s bail hearing for Friday. Her attorney is asking for a lower bail amount.
Prosecutors are seeking the death penalty against Wozniak for the killings of 26-year-old Costa Mesa college student Samuel Herr and his friend, Juri Kibuishi, 23, of Irvine.
Wozniak, a community theater actor, allegedly killed Herr, who was his neighbor, inside the Liberty Theater in order to steal his savings account.
Prosecutors say that he lured Kibuishi to Herr’s apartment the next day by pretending to be Herr via text message.
Wozniak allegedly shot her twice and staged a sexual assault to make it look like Herr was the killer. Police initially suspected Herr becasue he had disappeared.
In the meantime, Wozniak performed in a Fullerton production of “Nine” on the night of both murders.
Investigators say that Wozniak returned to the theater the day after killing Kibuishi and dismembered Herr. His head and arms were found at the El Dorado Park Nature Center.
Wozniak was arrested May 26, 2010, at his bachelor party in Huntington Beach.
Wozniak and Buffett were scheduled to wed a couple of days later. Investigators believe Wozniak committed the murders to help pay for the wedding.
Authorities say they arrested Wozniak after a 17-year-old boy tried to use Herr’s ATM card on Wozniak’s instructions.
“We all want to see our sister come home. She wasn’t a part of this thing. She had no idea what was going on,” Noah Buffett said.
Rachel, who was arrested by Costa Mesa police the day before Thanksgiving, could get four years in prison if convicted.
“We just want everybody connected with the case… I want them punished to the full extent of the law,” said Steve Herr, the father of victim Samuel Herr.