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New charges, suspects announced in double-murder case

Costa Mesa police not naming new suspects, alleged roles in the case involving suspect Daniel Patrick Wozniak.

February 24, 2012|By Lauren Williams

Prosecutors on Friday announced charges against two people suspected of being accessories after the fact in a complicated double-murder case that rattled a Costa Mesa apartment complex in May 2010.

The suspects were arrested and charged in connection with the murder of Samuel Herr, 26, of Costa Mesa and Herr's friend, Irvine resident Juri "Julie" Kibuishi, 23.

Police, however, have declined to publicly name the new suspects or describe their alleged roles in the case.

"The release of more information at this stage of the ongoing investigation may compromise witnesses and/or may jeopardize the possible arrest of any additionally involved persons," Costa Mesa police Lt. Tim Schennum wrote in an email.

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Daniel Patrick Wozniak, 27, who worked as a community playhouse actor, faces the death penalty in the case. Prosecutors allege that Wozniak killed Herr, his neighbor at the Camden Martinique apartment complex on Pinecreek Drive, after luring him to the military base in Los Alamitos.

Wozniak, prosecutors allege, then killed Kibuishi at Herr's apartment. The scene was made to look like a sexual assault so authorities would suspect Herr of Kibuishi's murder, prosecutors contend.

Herr's body was dismembered; parts of it were eventually found scattered in a park in Long Beach.

Herr was an Afghanistan war veteran and Orange Coast College student. Kibuishi also attended OCC.

Wozniak has pleaded not guilty.

Those arrested are not believed to have participated in or planned the murders, said Costa Mesa police Lt. Paul Dondero.

"Someone had the opportunity to contact the police or knew there was evidence of a crime and failed to do so," Dondero said of the arrested suspects.

Wozniak's preliminary hearing was set to take place Friday, but his public defender, Scott Sanders, said in a Newport Beach courtroom that he was not prepared because he received 76 pieces of video evidence last month and wasn't able to watch all of the footage.

Both Judge Stephanie George and Herr's parents voiced frustration with another delay in the process for a preliminary hearing, a judicial stage when a judge determines if there is enough evidence to move the case to trial.

"You put me in this position where I have to decide whether or not we're being reasonable," George said.

"We've heard this before," Herr's father, Stephen Herr, said in court. "The last thing we want to do is rush it. We want this done right. I owe that to [prosecutor Matt Murphy]. I owe that to my son.

"When are the excuses going to stop? How often are we going to do this?" he said.

lauren.williams@latimes.com

Twitter: @lawilliams30

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