Judge refuses to drop charges against Buffett

An Orange County Superior Court judge on Friday denied a request to dismiss felony charges against a former Costa Mesa resident accused of helping an accused killer after a double murder.

Rachel Mae Buffett, 25, faces three felony counts of accessory to murder after the fact for allegedly helping Daniel Patrick Wozniak, 29, with whom she lived in the Camden Martinique apartments near Orange Coast College in Costa Mesa.

Prosecutors assert that Buffett lied to police after Wozniak allegedly killed their neighbor, Samuel Herr, 26, and his tutor Juri "Julie" Kibuishi, 23, of Irvine. Both victims attended OCC.

Judge James Stotler cited a back-and-fourth conversation prosecutor Matt Murphy had with Judge Kazuharu Makino during the preliminary hearing, where Murphy said Buffett lied to police about Herr having family problems, among other things, in order to defer attention from Wozniak.

Stotler called the exchange "amazing colloquy," a Latin term for a legal conversation, in his decision not to drop the charges against Buffett.

Buffett's attorney, Ajna Sharma-Wilson, said prosecutors were playing a "shell game of dates" of when Buffett allegedly lied to police, dropping one date in the initial criminal complaint against her client but then adding another date later in court papers.

Sharma-Wilson also requested evidence, some 60 DVDs and CDs, that prosecutors had reviewed. She asked the judge to issue an order to turn over the items as discovery.

"We're happy to provide everything we have," Murphy said. "We have provided every single shred of evidence we have involving her client."

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