A Costa Mesa man accused of murdering two college students and dismembering one of them in an effort to hide the body searched online for “quick ways to kill people” in the days before the slayings, an FBI agent testified in Orange County Superior Court last week.
In the second day of the trial for Daniel Patrick Wozniak, Special Agent Joseph Nieblas read from a list of Google searches that investigators said they discovered on Wozniak’s computer. The searches were made before and shortly after the killings, Nieblas testified.
The list included phrases such as “making sure a body is not found,” “head gunshot wound” and “how far away to hear a gunshot,” Nieblas said.
“There was a Google search for ‘fake thumb print,’” he said. “There was another ‘fake thumb print’ and then one for ‘how to make a fake thumb print.’”
Prosecutors said Wozniak, a 31-year-old community theater actor, shot his neighbor Sam Herr, a 26-year-old Army veteran, twice in the head in May 2010.
According to authorities, Wozniak dismembered Herr’s body and dumped some of it in a Long Beach park.
Prosecutors also said Wozniak, in an attempt to throw police off his trail, killed 23-year-old Juri “Julie” Kibuishi and staged her body to look as if Herr had sexually assaulted her and fled.
Wozniak has pleaded not guilty to two counts of murder.
A friend of the slaying victims testified Thursday that Herr and Kibuishi were like brother and sister. They both attended Orange Coast College in Costa Mesa.
As the trial opened Wednesday, prosecutor Matt Murphy told jurors that Wozniak killed Herr and Kibuishi so he could steal from Herr’s bank account, where the veteran had saved thousands of dollars from his service in Afghanistan.
Authorities said that after the killings, Wozniak had a 16-year-old friend use Herr’s ATM card to repeatedly withdraw cash from Herr’s account and hand it to him. Those bank transactions led police to Wozniak, who authorities say confessed to the killings during questioning by detectives.
Wozniak had planned to marry his fiancée soon, but had no money to finance the wedding, prosecutors said.
As Nieblas went over the list of Google searches, entries that prosecutors believe were related to Wozniak’s wedding and honeymoon plans were mixed with research they said was used in a plan to commit murder.
According to the list, “how loud is a gunshot” was typed hours before a search for “Mariner of the Seas cruise deals” and “Puerto Vallarta all-inclusive day rates.”
Dobruck writes for Times Community News.