By PAUL ANDERSON
City News Service
The father of a man killed and dismembered in Los Alamitos implored an Orange County judge today to get the case before a jury, while the attorney for the accused killer sought a delay to January in the death penalty case.
Steve Herr, whose 26-year-old son, Samuel Eliezer Herr, was killed in May 2010 along with a friend, 23-year-old Juri Julie Kibuishi of Irvine, asked Superior Court Judge James Stotler to keep to next week's trial date for the victims' accused killer.
Herr said hearing that Daniel Patrick Wozniak's attorneys wanted a January trial date was a "kick in the gut."
He added, "Fifteen months ago, the first trial date was set. In October, the trial was delayed a year until this March. Then in March it was delayed again."
Herr said he is suffering from stress due to the delays.
"I'm fed up and I'm fed up with the delays," Herr said.
Wozniak's attorney, Scott Sanders of the Orange County Public Defender's Office, said part of the delay is the link the case has to a 500-page-plus motion he filed earlier this year, alleging systemic abuse in the gathering and withholding of evidence involving jailhouse snitches.
An evidentiary hearing on those allegations as they relate to convicted mass killer Scott Dekraai, who opened fire at the Seal Beach beauty salon where his ex-wife worked, are wrapping up in another courtroom.
At issue in the Wozniak case was how one informant questioned the defendant while they were in custody, potentially raising the possibility of a violation of Wozniak's constitutional rights. Also at issue is Wozniak's participation in MSNBC's "Lockup" show, which Sanders contends was arranged by sheriff's deputies to help his client make incriminating statements.
Senior Deputy District Attorney Matt Murphy argued it's irrelevant since he has no intention of using the informant in his case against Wozniak. Also, it was Murphy's office that alerted Sanders of the "Lockup" appearance when Herr saw the program and called prosecutors about it.
Murphy said the informant in question "acted alone, he acted on his own volition," and the prosecutor assured Stotler he had more than enough evidence to convict Wozniak anyway.
Sanders said it matters little whether prosecutors want to use the informant's evidence.
"It's still a violation of the law and part of a pattern with the sheriff's department," Sanders said.
Stotler agreed to read Sanders' lengthy motion alleging mishandling of jailhouse informants and ordered both sides to return to court Thursday to discuss when to hold the trial.