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Father of killed, dismembered son shares frustration on 'Dr. Phil'

February 6, 2013 |  7:18 am

The father of a Costa Mesa man killed and dismembered more than two years ago said on the “Dr. Phil” show that he he was frustrated he had to appear on TV to defend his son’s memory.

“I find it offensive I have to come on TV and do this. I think I should do this in a court of law,” said Steve Herr, whose son, Sam Herr, was killed in May 2010.

Police arrested Sam Herr’s neighbor, Daniel Patrick Wozniak, more than two years ago and prosecutors charged him with the murders of Herr and Juri “Julie” Kibuishi. Her body was found in Herr’s apartment, and authorities said she may have been sexually assaulted.

Wozniak could face the death penalty if convicted of the murders. Police recently arrested his former fiancee, Rachel Buffett, on suspicion of accessory after the fact in connection with the crime.

On Tuesday’s “Dr. Phil,” show, host Phillip McGraw outlined three inconsistencies he said Buffett told police, including the existence of a third man she said she saw with Herr before his death. Police later determined the man was fictitious.

Buffett defended her statements, saying she believed her fiance implicitly.

“You have a wife right?” Buffett asked McGraw. “If your wife told you she just made a pot of coffee and it was in the kitchen and then you didn’t see it, but later on somehow it became really important whether or not it was there and a cop asked you, ‘What was in your kitchen?’ you’d say, ‘Oh, a spatula, a fork and a pot of coffee.’ ”

“I trusted him, and I trusted what he said was true. And especially before I thought it really mattered I didn’t question it,” Buffett said on the show.

Among those in attendance was Orange County District Attorney Tony Rackauckas, who said his office chose to press charges against Buffett after two years after the investigation yielded no other leads for further charges.

“Well, it’s been a long and hard investigation,” Rackauckas said. “By the time we finally got to the point where it seems its going to be pretty clear additional evidence isn’t going to come out, it was decided Rachel could only be charged with accessory after the fact.”

Herr’s father said he doesn’t believe Buffett’s professed innocence.

“I absolutely believe she’s guilty of what she’s being tried for,” he said, later adding, “My son is dead, my son and his friend, his tutor, they’re both dead. He was cut up into pieces. And for you to come on here, to go on the TV stations and ‘poor me’ that offends me. That offends me. And I’ll just leave it at that.”

Buffett said she understood their frustrations.

“I feel their pain and I know they’re hurting more then I am,” she said. “…I know I’m not the main victim.”


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-- Lauren Williams

Twitter: @lawilliams30