Jurors in the case of Daniel Patrick Wozniak—who was convicted of killing and dismembering his neighbor and killing the man's friend, stealing the man's money and burying his remains in Long Beach—have recommended the death penalty.
The Orange County Superior Court deliberated for just one hour, determining that capital punishment was befitting of Wozniak’s crimes, rather than life in prison without parole. He will be formally sentenced on March 11.
Wozniak was convicted last month by the same jury for murdering 26-year-old Samuel Eliezer Herr and 23-year-old Julie Kibuishi, whom he killed and staged to make it appear as though Herr had raped and killed.
Senior Deputy District Attorney Matt Murphy said Wozniak had desecrated the victims’ bodies for the “worst” motive—money—and should be accordingly sentenced to death.
Murphy emphasized the horror the victims’ family members encountered, citing Herr’s father, Steve, who stated, "Here I am praying they find my son's head—how do you describe something like that? A father praying they find his son's head.'"
“That's not a nightmare,” said Murphy. “That's what actually happened.” Murphy said Wozniak treated his victims like “trash,” “laughing as he cut off a human head.'”
The defense attorney Scott Sanders argued Wozniak had been manipulated by his fiancee to rethink a loan offered by his friend. However, Murphy argued Wozniak was deep in debt, without money for his pending wedding, and came up with the murder plot for financial gain.
The staged rape, according to Murphy, was an attempt on Wozniak’s part to throw the police off of his trail.
City News Service contributed to this report.