The former bride-to-be of a double murder defendant, who is charged with killing one victim to raid his savings acount for wedding costs, faces arraignment Friday alleging she gave police a phony cover story for him.
Rachel Mae Buffett, 25, of Costa Mesa, was the fiancée of Daniel Patrick Wozniak, an actor accused of murdering and dismembering his neighbor inside a Los Alamitos theater on the Joint Forces Training Base. He's charged with the May 21, 2010 killing of his neighbor, then killing the neighbor's friend shortly after midnnight May 22, 2010 as an elaborate plot to cover-up the first murder, authorities charge.
Prosecutors have said Wozniak killed the neighbor in the theater, left his body there, posed as the neighbor to lure the neighbor's female friend to the neighbor's apartment, later returned to the theater and dismembered that victim and hid some body parts at Long Beach's El Dorado Park.
All, allegedly, for $2,000 that was to pay for the couple's wedding that Friday, May 28. Instead, Wozniak was charged with the gruesome slayings on what was to be his wedding day.
Authorities allege Buffett fabricated family problems she alleged one of the victim’s had, to throw suspicion off Wozniak and help him “avoid and escape from arrest, trial, conviction and punishment for the felony,” according to a statement from the Orange County District Attorney’s office.
Due to be arraigned in Santa Ana at 10 a.m. Friday, Buffet faces three felony counts of accessory to murder after the fact. If convicted, she would face a maximum sentence of three years and eight months in state prison.
Buffett was arrested Nov. 20 and is being held on $100,000 bail.
Prosecutors allege that Wozniak planned to raid the victim's bank accounts to pay for the engaged couple's wedding.
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.
Wozniak, 26, was indicted on murder charges 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 with also being an accessory to murder, Dondero said. Timothy Wozniak pleaded not guilty in February and was due in court Thursday.
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 as cover up for the first killing, Murphy alleges. Wozniak allegedly later dismembered Herr at the theater and hid his head and an arm at El Dorado Park.
Wozniak was arrested at his bachelor party at Tsunami, a Huntington Beach restaurant.
The D.A.’s office accuses Buffett of lying to the police about Herr’s relationship with his family, telling investigators he was having trouble with his relatives. That allegedly occured in May and June, 2010, the D.A.'s office said.
-- City News Service contributed to this story.