A look back at 10 of Orange County’s most-shocking court cases – Orange County Register

When it comes to sensational trials, Orange County has seen its share of headline-makers.

Here are 10 court cases over the past dozen or so years that shocked the nation:

Convicted killer Daniel Wozniak listens to his attorney, public defender Scott Saunders, deliver final arguments during the penalty phase of his double-murder conviction in Santa Ana in 2016. Wozniak, a community theater actor, was found guilty of murdering two friends (Samuel Herr and Juri “Julie” Kibuishi) during a 2010 scheme to raid Herr’s bank account. (Staff File)

Daniel Wozniak
Trial began: December 2015

In one of the county’s most-recent death penalty cases, Daniel Wozniak, an out-of-work community theater actor from Costa Mesa, killed two friends in a 2010 plot to bankroll his wedding and honeymoon. He lured his neighbor, Sam Herr, 26, to an attic where he shot and killed him. He then used Herr’s cell phone to lure mutual friend Julie Kibuishi to Herr’s apartment, where he shot her twice in the head in an attempt to frame her for the first murder. Wozniak later cut off Herr’s head and hands and tossed them in El Dorado Park in Long Beach to hide evidence. That night, Wozniak took the stage as the lead in the musical “Nine” at the Hunger Artists Theatre Company in Fullerton. Perhaps he thought he could throw off detectives with his acting skills, but after hours of interrogation, he confessed to the killings in a shocking video that was played for the jury. Wozniak was convicted and sentenced to death in September 2016. The case took a twist when his ex-fiancée Rachel Buffett was charged with being an accessory after the fact for allegedly lying to police. Buffet, who has proclaimed her innocence on “Dr. Phil” and “Dateline NBC,” is scheduled to face trial in 2018.

Nanette Johnston, 46, right, sits stoically next to her lawyer, Deputy Public Defender Mick Hill, during sentencing at the Orange County Superior Court in Santa Ana, Calif. on Friday, May 18, 2012….

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