Prosecutors won't decide until after a preliminary hearing whether they should seek the death penalty against a Costa Mesa actor accused of killing two Orange Coast College students, officials said Wednesday.
Daniel Wozniak, 26, is charged with two counts of murder with sentencing enhancements for allegedly killing his Army veteran neighbor for money, beheading him and dismembering his body and then fatally shooting a friend of the victim hours later in hopes of throwing police off his tracks.
The district attorney's office typically decides whether to seek the death penalty through a panel made up of Dist. Atty. Tony Rackauckas, a senior member of the office's homicide unit, and a senior member of its violent crimes unit, said his chief of staff, Susan Schroeder.
In this case, Senior Deputy Dist. Atty. Matt Murphy would present the aggravating factors of the crimes that would point toward the death penalty, such as the heinousness of the crime and its effect on the victims' families, Schroeder said.