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Hearing set for Costa Mesa man accused in double murder

January 13, 2012|By Joseph Serna

A court date has been set for prosecutors to show a judge that they have enough evidence to try a Costa Mesa man on charges that he murdered a neighbor and then, as part of an elaborate cover-up, killed the neighbor's friend.

A preliminary hearing for Daniel Patrick Wozniak, 27, will take place Feb. 24 at the Harbor Justice Center in Newport Beach.

Wozniak is charged with two counts of murder and a list of sentencing enhancements, including using a firearm and killing for financial gain because he allegedly paid a boy to use one of the victim's ATM cards to withdraw money from a bank.

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He has pleaded not guilty to both charges. Prosecutors are seeking the death penalty.

Wozniak was in court last month to schedule the preliminary hearing, but at the time attorneys had not gathered all of the evidence required to move the case forward.

Outside of the courthouse Friday, Orange County prosecutor Matt Murphy said defense counsel will have all the police reports, recordings and other evidence by next week.

Police allege that Wozniak killed his neighbor Samuel Herr, a 26-year-old Army veteran, in 2010 by luring him to the military reserve base in Los Alamitos and then dismembering his body and hiding the remains at a Long Beach park. He allegedly obtained Herr's PIN number and asked a boy to withdraw money from the account.

Wozniak then allegedly used Herr's cell phone to lure Juri "Julie" Kibuishi, 23, to Herr's apartment, where he allegedly shot her in an effort to frame Herr for her death.

Police eventually found Herr's remains and connected both slayings to Wozniak.

He was arrested at his bachelor party in Huntington Beach the day before he was going to get married.

joseph.serna@latimes.com

Twitter: @JosephSerna

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