The Los Angeles Criminal Law Blog

Rachel Buffett Pleads Not Guilty to Covering Up Fiancé's Alleged Killings

Though Meatloaf would do anything for love, one has to wonder if he would do that.

Rachel Buffett, 25, pleaded not guilty to charges of protecting her beloved future husband, legally referred to as being an accessory after the fact. Police say that she provided them with a fabricated story after her fiancé murdered two people, reports the Los Angeles Times. She claims that she is only guilty of being a poor judge of character and of trusting the wrong man.

Her now ex-fiancé, Daniel Wozniak, 28, allegedly lured his 26-year-old neighbor, Sam Herr, to a theater, where he shot him twice and dismembered the body. Wozniak then turned his sights on Julie Kibuishi, 23, who was a friend of Herr. Wozniak found Kibuishi at Herr's home and murdered her as well. He then removed some of her clothing in order to give the appearance of sexual assault.

Wozniak was arrested at his bachelor's party, five days later, after police discovered money missing from Herr's account and traced that money to the groom-to-be. Prosecutors believed that the murders were committed in order to drain the victim's account and pay for Wozniak and Buffett's wedding. He is facing two murder with special circumstances charges and could face the death penalty.

Buffett, meanwhile, is not alleged to have taken part in the murders. Instead, prosecutors allege that she provided a story fabricated by her betrothed to the police. In order to convict Buffett of being an accessory to a crime after the fact, prosecutors will have to show that she knew about Wozniak's actions and that she intentionally provided the falsified story in order to aid him in evading capture or prosecution.

The charge can be brought as either a misdemeanor or as a felony. In this case, the prosecutors chose the latter. The felony charge can carry up to three years in prison, plus a fine of up to $5,000. The misdemeanor charge would have only carried up to one year in jail.

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