tv Dateline MSNBC November 7, 2021 12:00am-1:00am PDT
sandra, so home sick when away from this island that she loved, is now forever a part of it. >> i'm craig melvin. >> and i'm natalie morales. >> and this is "dateline". >> how am i doing right now? if i had to put it into one word -- numb would be the closest. >> she was a young actress starring in the role of a lifetime. a mystery. >> you never heard a gunshot? >> no. >> one of her friends was dead. >> there's been a body discovered in sam's apartment. >> it's so hard. she was 23. >> another friend was missing and wanted. >> you've got a dead woman in
his apartment. this guy is potentially very dangerous. >> we were pretty confident he was our guy. >> two mysteries to solve, but one evasive witness. >> rachel didn't tell us any of this the day before. >> i told the truth to the best of my capability. >> police wondered had another murder been planned? >> they said if you would have gone back that day, they wanted to kill you. >> did rachel have a secret -- >> what did you do? >> i think you know what i did. >> -- would she keep it? >> this is as diabolical as any case i've ever seen. >> or was the curtain about to close? >> rachel is kind of the last piece? >> correct. >> they're trying to say i'm somebody that i'm not. this is my life. this is my entire future. i'm innocent. >> hello and welcome to "dateline. " rachel buffett and daniel wozniak were struggling actors. money was tight but they were in love and about to
tie the knot. but those plans were interrupted when someone was found dead at their apartment complex. at the center of this mystery, police wanted to know were the actors telling the truth or reading from a script? here's josh mankiewicz with "final curtain. " >> hello? >> hi, baby. >> hey, what's going on, what do you want me to do? >> i don't know. leave me. >> the woman on the phone was just hours away from walking down the aisle, to marry the man on the other end of this call, to pledge her love, until death did them part. >> i'm going to go do something right now, and you're not going to see me for the rest of your life. >> instead, she found herself in the middle of a twisted murder plot that would change her life forever. >> what did you do? >> i think you know what i did.
>> she knew. or did she? her name is rachel buffett. you may remember her from a story we first reported in 2016, about her then fiance, dan wozniak. and about two families in search of the truth. >> i know a lot of answers now. a lot more than i had the last time we met. >> now, the final curtain. >> i believe with all my heart they were trying to get me back and kill me. >> new information. >> there's things that people need to know. there's things that need to be said. >> and a question, what would you do for love? we'll get to all of that. but first, let's go back to where this story began. orange county, california. not too far from the coast you'll find the camden martinique apartments, occupied mostly by students from nearby colleges.
>> we had the pools. we had the hot tubs. >> back in 2010, vylet randolph lived there with her then husband. that's where they met a 20 something couple named dan wozniak and rachel buffett. violet's husband described them to her. >> there's finally a couple who is little more mature, the wine drinkers as opposed to the hard liquor, and met them and thought perfect. how could we go wrong? >> rachel and dan acted in community theater. that's how they met, on stage. a few years later, they reconnected. >> he had already kind of become my best friend, and i was hanging out with him so often. >> so you said, you know, i am falling can you give me a chance, and you thought what? >> i don't want to lose my best friend. >> were you in love? >> shortly after we moved in together, that's when i realized, oh, yeah, i am in love with this person. >> and when he proposed, she said yes. they moved to camden
martinique four months before their wedding date. life wasn't easy. >> throughout our whole relationship, money was always somewhat of an issue. >> rachel picked up work here and there. once she said, as a princess at disneyland, then worked sometimes too, but nothing steady. >> they kind of seemed to struggle financially a lot. you know, if anything, you kind of felt sorry for them, because they seemed like they were so excited to get married and start their life together. >> and at the apartments they settled right in. >> it got to the point where everybody was hanging out with each other, like every night. >> part of that circle was 26-year-old samuel herr, an army veteran who had fought in afghanistan and made it home to california. >> there was a couple of things that set sam apart from the other guys there. he seemed more responsible. >> sam was intent on earning his college degree, and that's how he met julie kibuishi.
julie helped sam with his school work. >> she got after him if he wasn't studying because his grade reflected her tutoring. so she took it very seriously. >> julie's mom, june. >> she told me about sam. he's like a big teddy bear, and he's always nice to everybody. that's why we get together at his place, you know, a lot of times. >> julie, who lived at home, got to know everyone at the complex. and rachel connected with julie. they were both dancers. >> we had like done some ballet moves in our bathing suits at the pool, and talked about how we should take a couple of dance classes together. >> that chance never arrived. on friday, may 21st, 2010, julie was at home with her mom. >> i was cooking in the kitchen and she said bye, mom, i'm leaving. >> sam had been texting julie throughout the day. can you come over tonight at midnight
alone? going out for a bit. very upset. need to talk. then -- please, no sex. i need to talk to someone. julie texted back, lol ew, sam, we're like bro and sis, no sex. and then sam texted again, i'm hurting with some bad fam crap. i can't be alone, no sex. please, i'm begging as a brother. as always, julie was ready to help. she went to sam's place. the next morning, june realized julie had not come home. >> i started to feel like okay, something is wrong. >> across town, sam's parents, steve and raquel herr, also worried because they couldn't get ahold of their son. >> i drove down there. i knocked on his door, no answer. i had the key to his apartment. so i walked in there. >> and that's when he saw it. >> what the hell is that? what's going on here? i freaked out.
>> what had happened in sam's apartment? coming up -- >> my phone rings, and it's my husband asking me if i'm okay. and i'm like, yes, why? he said, track down everybody. >> but not everybody could be found. >> he's missing, he had been accused of this before and you think, okay, this guy is potentially very dangerous. >> when "dateline" continues.
>> there's a body in my son's apartment. >> there's a what? >> a body. a dead body. >> a dead body? is it someone that you know, sir? >> no, i have no idea who she is. >> does your son know who it is? >> he's not here. jesus, honey. >> okay. >> after sam's dad, steve, called 911, the news spread quickly at camden martinique. >> my phone rings and it's my husband asking me if i'm okay. i'm like, yes, why? he said, there's been a body discovered in sam's apartment, track down everybody. >> rachel and dan had just returned from the theater, where they were co-starring in a play. >> dan is, you know, wondering was i the last one to see sam? oh, my god, oh, my god. and rachel is sitting on the chair next to me, and she's squeezing her head and she's got a terrible headache. >> all of your new best friends that you hang out with every day, one of them is missing. a body was found in one of their
apartments. this is something that was affecting the whole atmosphere. >> costa mesa police detective ed everett responded to the call. >> we have a 20 something year old female on the bed, and she's in a position that appears that she was sexually assaulted. >> police soon i. d. the victim, sam's tutor and friend, julie kibuishi. they had to tell julie's parents. >> i think i was screaming like no, that's not my daughter, that's not my daughter. >> julie had been shot twice in the head. her pants were down, and someone had written on her sweatshirt the words "all yours, f-u. " police found julie's phone in the apartment, and saw those weird texts sam had sent her. they learned about his combat tour, and how sam sometimes had night terrors. and when police searched his name in their database, they
found someone sam's friends already knew. >> he had done some jail time. >> back in 2002, at 18, sam herr was charged in the murder of another teenager. he was acquitted, but sam's dad knew that in hindsight, it didn't look good. >> that didn't buy you a lot of rhythm from law enforcement. >> no, and i understood that. that's why it was imperative to start looking immediately. >> steve wanted to find his son to prove he was innocent. orange county prosecutor matt murphy also wanted to find sam quickly, for entirely different reasons. >> you've got a dead woman in his apartment, he's missing, and then you factor in afghanistan, and you start thinking, okay, he's a trained killer. he had been accused of this before and you think, this guy is potentially very dangerous. >> the detectives and the dad hunted sam independently. but on parallel tracks, detectives
spoke with sam's neighbors. >> i saw sam that day and had a short conversation with sam. >> rachel and dan said sam was with another man they didn't know. a man in a black hat. it seemed a potential lead. meanwhile, steve found there were recent transactions on the bank account he and sam shared. the trail led to long beach, where sam's atm card was used to order a pizza. cops staked out the delivery address. >> guns out, ready to hit it like someone had committed a murder inside. >> and that someone is sam herr? >> yes. >> except it wasn't. instead, the cops found this guy, 17-year-old wesley frylick. >> sitting in front of officers of the law, handcuffed, i'm obviously literally -- i'm sorry i can't say this, but my balls were inside of me. i was [ bleep ]ing myself, and i was nervous as all hell. >> wesley told police he had no
idea who sam herr was. he got the atm card, he said, from a guy he knew, who told an elaborate story. >> that he worked for a bail bondsman agency, and that he wanted me to withdraw money from an atm for legal reasons. >> wesley said he believed the guy because it was a fellow actor he looked up to. rachel buffett's fiance, dan wozniak. coming up -- detectives want to talk to dan. >> what's going through my head is shock, this is probably a huge mistake. >> and dan has quite a story to tell. >> she said no, and then he just shot her twice in the head. >> when "dateline" continues.
>> welcome back. police believe sam herr murdered julie kibuishi in cold blood, then went on the lam. it was an all-out manhunt, but that's when the story took a turn. detectives discovered that sam's neighbor, dan wozniak, might somehow be wrapped up in the mystery. now they were about to bring dan in for questioning, where he would make a stunning admission and change the course of the entire investigation. once again, here's josh mankiewicz with "final curtain. " >> detectives on the hunt for their prime suspect, sam herr, traced his atm card to rachel buffett's fiance, dan wozniak.
they found him at his bachelor party. >> immediately when he saw me, he turned pale. you could see the blood just draining from his face. >> detective everett hauled dan to the station and charged him with accessory to julie's murder. dan seemed eager to come clean. he told police sam confessed to him that while drunk and on drugs, sam asked julie for sex. >> she said no, and then he just shot her twice in the head. i'm really like, you're -- you're totally -- with me right now. like julie, julie's like a friend. >> and then, dan said sam threatened him and his wife-to-be rachel buffett. so dan agreed to help sam escape. according to dan, sam offered him money and dan took it to help pay for his wedding. but as to the anonymous man in the black hat, dan had a confession to make. >> he doesn't exist, that's a lie. it's a 100% proof lie >> detectives went to the camden apartments to tell
rachel dan was in custody. >> what's going through my head is shock, this is probably a huge mistake. this is going to be dropped and everything in time for the rehearsal dinner tomorrow night. >> detectives didn't fully believe dan's story, so they brought rachel in to see him. >> she's on the side of the angels when you put her in that room, thinking she's going to get daniel to tell me everything. >> that was our goal. >> so when was the last time you really saw sam? >> dan told rachel the same story he told detectives. sam killed julie, and then dan helped sam escape. >> there's nothing he can do at this point to -- >> sure. absolutely. >> -- make it better? >> absolutely, he can be truthful with us, and be truthful with you, and truthful with everyone. >> then, detectives spoke with rachel alone. rachel told them she and dan had received an eviction notice. dan had to borrow money to make the rent. she said dan had told her only recently that he borrowed the money from dangerous people.
>> he told me that people were gonna come break his legs, and he was scared out of his mind. >> she said on the day dan was supposed to pay the leg breakers $2200 or else, sam stopped by. >> he came down to the apartment, because he was going to give dan a ride. >> she said dan and sam left together. then dan came back alone, but with money. >> he had $400 somehow on friday. >> rachel said she couldn't believe that dan was somehow mixed up in julie's murder. >> is that when you start to think to yourself, this guy that i'm about to marry is somebody that i don't know? >> i was still thinking that i knew his heart. and those crimes that he was saying that he did, at least that still lined up with someone who would do anything to help somebody in need. >> did he tell you about this?
did he tell you his involvement? you know anything about this? >> hell, no. >> in the early morning hours, detectives drove rachel back to the apartments. >> i go to my friends and knock on the door, and then at that point, just start bawling. >> and she's shaking violently, and says dan has been arrested, and she's just a mess. >> with vylet at her side, rachel went to her parent's home to tell them dan was in jail, and the wedding was off. >> and my mom, she has lost it. she can't speak. >> the day was about to get a lot more traumatic. back at the police station, dan asked to speak with detectives again. and this time, he said something that blew the case wide open. >> i'm crazy, and i did it. >> you did what? >> i killed julie, and i killed sam. >> you didn't see that coming. >> no. >> dna wozniak suddenly confessed that he didn't help
sam herr, he killed him. dan said they drove to a theater where he had performed. and dan asked sam to help move something from the attic. >> and when he bent down, i grabbed the gun and i shot him, once, and then he was still alive. >> so, wozniak said, he fired again. >> he started bleeding. he wasn't moving. he wasn't talking. >> dan then drove to a different theater later that evening to appear on stage, with rachel, in the musical "nine. " in this video of the performance, dan showed no signs of stress, as he played the starring role. dan told police that during the show, he texted julie from sam's phone, pretending to be sam. after the play, dan said he went to sam's apartment, and lured julie into sam's bedroom. >> i said, right, lean over look at it right there. and when she was leaned over, i put
2 bullets in the back of her head. >> dan admitted scrawling those nasty words on julie's back and to splitting her pants with a pair of scissors. the next day, he said, he disposed of sam's body, and then gave another pitch perfect performance. captured on videotape. detectives asked -- why? >> and your motive behind kiling sam was? >> money and insanity. >> money and insanity. okay. >> sam had more than $60,000 in the bank, his saved up combat pay. and julie kibuishi -- dan said he killed her to cover his tracks and to frame sam. >> this is as diabolical as any case i've ever seen. >> police delivered the news to sam's parents. their son had been murdered. >> and for whatever reason, i said at least he wasn't dismembered, okay? the next
morning i get a call that steve, before you find out, we just want to let you know sam was dismembered. and that's just when i lost it. >> dan wozniak was charged with two counts of first degree murder. the news hit the wire. and at the police station, the phone rang. the caller had a story to tell. one that cast a whole new light on dan's leading lady, rachel buffett. coming up -- a witness. >> something was terrifying in that feel of the room. i just wanted out of there. >> and a new suspect. >> we're shocked to learn it. we went back and said, hey, you know, rachel didn't tell us any of this the day before. >> when "dateline" continues. if you have diabetes, there can be some not-so-pretty stuff going on inside. it's true, with diabetic retinopathy, excess sugar can damage blood vessels, causing vision loss or even blindness. so remember this:
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a plane, brett crash. a statement posted to a twitter account can from the sign music star mendoza, death of four other said she's died in people on the plane. a plane crash, she drew she drew millions of women to the millions of women to the nation's traditionally masculine country's top music scene, and she was 26. and just outside the capital city of sierra leone, and all tanker exploded, killing at least 92 people, and severely injuring dozens of others. the explosion took place late friday, after a bus struck a fuel tanker. now, back to dateline. ack to dateline. >> welcome back to "dateline". i'm natalie morales. dan wozniak confessed to police that he killed sam herr for his money, and later shot julie kibuishi to muddy the investigation and point police towards sam. the actor's admission turned the case on its head. now a witness was about to step forward with information that would push dan's fiance, rachel, to center stage. once again, here's josh mankiewicz with "final
curtain". ♪ ♪ ♪ >> california draws people who want to perform. >> it sure does. everyone is pursuing kind of the same dreams. >> chris williams moved from canada to california for school. >> i ended up falling in love with jazz music, and falling in love with california. so i've been down here 20 years, and perform and love it. you inspire me -- >> in early 2010, chris was undergoing some serious health problems. the working musician didn't have insurance. so his friends organized a benefit concert. >> a couple thousand people showed up. it was pretty amazing. >> raising money to keep you healthy? >> yeah, yeah. >> and it worked, here you are. >> it did. it sure did. it changed my whole life. >> chris, who had been keeping
to himself, began to socialize again. and he met two struggling young actors, dan wozniak and rachel buffett. dan was very charming. >> he was. very open and personable, and i felt like we had a lot in common. and rachel is obviously beautiful and they were just very welcoming to me. >> chris soon learned his new friends had financial troubles. and he offered to help by lending them money. >> all of my friends had just done this big benefit for me. >> time to give back. >> yeah. >> chris also wanted to make sure that he got his money back. so chris told a story that was 100% false. >> so i said, well i can't lend you the money personally, but i know people i could get it from. but they're not good people, so we've got to get it back.
>> he lent dan and rachel $2,000 cash. dan promised to pay him back by the end of the week, friday, may 21st. on the appointed day, chris drove to dan and rachel's apartment. who is there besides dan and rachel and you? >> i didn't know his name at the time, but it was sam. >> dan left with sam and told chris to hang back with rachel. >> in my mind, this is going to be like a ten-minute thing. >> meanwhile, said chris, rachel seemed stressed. >> she's on the computer trying to look for other work and ways to get money. >> three hours later, dan wozniak returned without sam. >> and he throws $400 down right in front of me, and he's like, shaking, and there is this wild look in his eyes, and he's breathing, almost this like giant panic attack. and i'm sitting there and i go, hey, like everything is okay, man.
like everything is okay. he's like, and he slumps down in the chair and i said, is this every penny that you have? >> chris says he handed dan a $20 bill, and he also noticed that rachel was visibly angry. >> things were tense. >> so that relationship was like a clinched fist. >> yeah. i mean, something was terrifying in that feel of the room. i just wanted out of there. >> he left. and around 20 minutes later, says chris, rachel called. >> and rachel goes, i think you left a $20 here. i think you dropped some money. you should come back. and i said, i'm not coming back. i didn't drop a $20, i left a $20 so you guys could get dinner. and she goes no, no, you should come back. >> chris did not return. a week later, as he was getting ready
to attend dan and rachel's wedding, he heard and the murders of sam and julie. and realized they happened on the same day as his weird meeting with dan and rachel. chris immediately called police. >> we were shocked to learn it. and again, we went back and said hey, you know, rachel didn't tell us any of this the day before. >> so detectives interviewed rachel again. this time not as a witness, but as a suspect. >> why don't you tell me why you forgot to tell me about this? >> because -- because honestly, i was afraid that if you knew that chris had seen us that day, i don't know who chris knows. and i don't know if he knows anybody bad. i'm kind of afraid -- if you go to them, they'll come to me. >> did you think we were not gonna find out? >> i guess not. i don't know. i'm -- i'm a little bit afraid for my safety. >> remember, chris had told dan and rachel the money he lent them came from other people,
dangerous people. so was it her safety rachel was worried about? detectives didn't think so. >> she's giving herself more time to think about what she's gonna tell us when she has to tell us that. >> and she's protecting dan. >> protecting herself and dan. >> they asked her to take a voice stress analyzer, a kind of lie detector. rachel agreed, and the cops hit her with an aggressive question. >> did you plan the murder with dan? >> no. >> the results came quickly. coming up -- is the curtain about the close on rachel? >> i think she may have been present when julie was killed. i don't think julie would have gone into the apartment with daniel by himself. >> when "dateline" continues. >> welcome back. chris williams
had just told investigators about a bizarre interaction he had with rachel buffett and dan wozniak. chris loaned dan some money, and on the day he came to collect, he said the feeling in the room was terrifying. turns out, that was the same day julie kibuishi and sam herr had been killed. rachel never told police about the meeting with chris, so now they wanted to know why. once again, here's josh mankiewicz with "final curtain. " >> a reluctant rachel buffett took a voice stress analyzer. the results were less than
encouraging. >> i gave you 3 tests today, okay? all 3 are deceptive. >> i know my stories and timelines are kind of juggled up because my mind is not there now. i'm trying to remember everything i can. i've told you guys everything i know. i'm completely innocent. >> maybe. now, detectives smelled blood. they circled. back to that friday when dan left with sam, and came back without him. >> he's gone for 3 hours, and he comes back having a heart attack. >> yeah. >> we know he's out killing sam at that point. >> i thought he was just overreacting because he thought he was afraid of loan sharks and getting hurt. >> rachel insisted she had known nothing about the murders, until dan confessed to them. detective ed everett had suspected otherwise, from the moment he brought her into the interrogation room to see dan. >> what happened?
>> he killed julie. >> why? >> it was almost like they were looking at each other, feeding off each other, and she was waiting for her next line. >> remember, rachel and julie had been friends. her reaction when she heard what sam supposedly did to julie did not seem to match that. >> i'm sorry that i am not the kind of person who just goes berserk and loses their mind when they hear this. >> you weren't in shock. >> i just sit there in shock and soak it in. >> you weren't in shock. >> the young actress was not convincing her audience. everett learned dan had called rachel from jail before his confession. the jail, of course, recorded those calls. >> babe, listen to me. i'm gonna go do something right now, and you're not gonna see me for the rest of your life. do you understand that? >> no. no. >> >> she doesn't say, what is it? her response is, no, no, no. i
think she realizes that her world has the potential to come crashing around her. >> in other words, maybe rachel already knew what dan had done and what he might tell detectives. or was it just that rachel was figuring things out. >> what did you do? >> i think you know what i did? >> were you the one that killed them? >> dan didn't answer that. instead, he asked rachel to come down to the station, so she could be present when he spoke with detectives. as she drove, dan continued to call her. >> why did i do it? why? >> i love you, baby. you are so insane and so stupid. but i know in your twisted little mind, you were doing it because
you wanted to be happy with me. and i hate you for screwing it up. >> as rachel got closer to the station, she was in tears. >> i love you, sweetie. i'll be right there. okay? >> before rachel arrived, dan sat down with detectives and confessed to the murders. then he called rachel again, and told her what he'd done. >> i shot him two times in the back of the head. and then i grabbed his credit cards, and i grabbed wesley and we took money out of his account. >> how is wesley involved? how did you get him involved, and why? >> rachel didn't seem to react. instead, she asked about dan's unwitting accomplice, wesley. and when dan described killing julie, rachel continued to focus on details. >> i opened up the door of
sam's apartment, shot her twice in the back of the head. >> how did nobody hear the gun? >> i don't know. i got lucky. >> detectives wondered, did rachael know about murders before they even happened? and more disturbing, did she participate? >> i think she may have been present when julie was killed. i don't think julie would have gone into the apartment with daniel by himself. >> hard even for a homicide detective to imagine. >> you don't look at a disney princess as a hardened, cold blooded, callous murderer. >> of course, thinking it and proving it were two different things. and perhaps, rachel was just another victim of dan's murder plot. there was no physical evidence placing her at the scene of either murder. and she and dan both insisted she didn't know about them in advance. >> two years into the investigation, we made a determination, we didn't have enough to charge her for murder. >> instead, on november 20th, 2012, rachel was arrested and
charged as an accessory to murder after the fact. >> the only case against her is that she didn't tell the truth. >> that's right. >> according to the d. a., rachel lied about two important figures in the case. the man in the black hat, who wasn't there. and the jazz musician, chris williams, who was. >> you did catch daniel, you did find out about chris. so what effect did rachel's lies really have? >> so, yes, in the end, we got some heroic police officers who solved the case any way. but is it okay for her to lie to the police? the law says no. >> like police, sam and julie's parents also thought rachel was more involved than she was letting on. >> they're like literally 24/7 together. how could you not know if your fiance committed that kind of a crime? how could you not notice? >> i wanted them to charge her with murder. but i'm not the
one who has to prove it to everybody. that's not my job. >> rachel pleaded not guilty. she posted bail and was released. >> yeah, i'm still in shock. >> later that day, she held a press conference. >> are you saying you're innocent? >> i'm completely innocent. >> she was willing to bet that a jury would agree. >> coming up -- rachel on trial. >> you're an honest person? >> i think so. >> there's not a doubt in my mind that rachel knew. >> when "dateline" continues. >> when "dateline" continues. trelegy for copd. [coughing] ♪ birds flyin' high, you know how i feel. ♪
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confessed to the murders of sam herr and julie kibuishi. he also told police he acted alone. there was no physical evidence tying dan's fiance, rachel buffett, to either killing. but detectives believe she had lied to them to protect dan. now the couple, once the toast of their community theater circle, face separate trials. would two grieving families finally learn the truth? here's josh mankiewicz with the conclusion of "final curtain. " >> in december 2015, five years after sam and julie's murders, the lives of two young actors
were playing out, not on stage, but here in court. dan wozniak went on trial first. it didn't take long for a jury to convict him of murder and sentence him to death. he's appealing his conviction. sam and julie's parents confronted their children's killer. >> you, dan, are a coward, and a poster boy for the need of the effective death penalty in california. my only regret that in this state, they won't let me kill this coward myself. >> you took advantage of my daughter's kindness and her care for her friend. you took her precious life, and then you disgraced her by pulling off her pants. to you, my daughter was just a decoy. nothing else. >> the spotlight then turned to
rachel buffett. she faced a felony charge, accessory after the fact. >> police and prosecutors don't believe you were honest with them. were you honest with them? >> i was. i know my heart and god knows my heart, and that's my comfort is god's in control, and god knows i'm innocent. >> you're an honest person? >> i think so. to the best of my capabilities. i told the truth to try to help the police get to the bottom of things. my heart was always in the right place. >> dan kills sam. dan disposes of sam's body. dan lures julie to sam's apartment using sam's phone. dan kills julie. during all that time, you never suspect a thing. >> not a thing. >> in september 2018, eight years after the murders, the aspiring actress went on trial, accused of lying to protect the man she loved.
>> this is my name. this is my life. this is my entire future. and i have nothing to hide and i'm innocent. >> some of her former friends did not agree. vylet testified against her. >> knowing all the details that they unraveled and the lies over time, and looking at her and going, how dare you? >> vylet told the jury that the night they learned sam had disappeared, while dan was wondering if he was the last person to see sam. >> rachel is telling dan to shut up, shut up. that's not what happened, dan. your messed up memories are screwing up my story. >> the jury also heard from chris williams, the jazz musician who spent hours with rachel the day of the murders. and like detectives, chris thinks rachel was an accessory before the murders, not just after them. >> there is not a doubt in my mind that rachel knew. >> ahead of time? >> not a doubt. >> chris also came to believe
that when rachel called him that day and asked him to come back to the apartment, it was not to return his $20. >> that's what the police told me. they said, if you would have gone back that day, they wanted to kill you. >> because you're a loose end? >> what i believe is that when dan got back, rachel said, chris saw you with sam. >> of course, that was suspicion and not evidence. the trial focused on false statements rachel made to detectives. statements her attorney david medina argued were easily explained. >> anyone who has ever experienced planning a wedding, knows the extreme pressure and stress that goes along with that. >> add murder to that equation, he said, and then an arrest of rachel's soon-to-be husband -- >> the incredible stress that she was under, with all of these things occurring, is it possible she's not entirely
accurate about certain things? of course it is. >> rachel's actions could be explained, he said, but dan wozniak's could not. >> wozniak is a monster. he's a psychopath. he's a pathological liar. what he did to those two is unthinkable. but rachel had nothing to do with that. >> yes, she did, said prosecutor matt murphy. she lied trying to help dan get away with murder. >> everything that mr. medina just said about daniel wozniak is accurate. he is a pathological liar, he is a monster. but he's her little monster. she knows him, and all of the stuff goes on right under her nose. >> the jury took five hours to reach a verdict. >> we, the jury, in the above entitled action, find the defendant, rachel buffett, guilty. >> when you heard the sounds of the clicks of the cuffs, to me
it was a sweet sound, because her arrogance and her lies are now caught up with her. >> sam and julie's parents spoke at rachel's sentencing. >> as part of my son's body lie dead and dismembered in the attic of a theater, rachel buffett was spreading lies. as julie kibuishi was lying in my son's apartment, rachel buffett was deliberately deceiving the police, attempting to throw them off the trail of her lover, dan wozniak. >> to me, you and that monster are two peas in the pod. you're both self-centered and truly heartless. and i hope you live every day regretting your disgusting decisions. >> the judge sentenced rachel to 32 months behind bars. it was the final scene of this real-life drama. chris williams always wondered, should he have
seen the warning signs? could he have stopped the murders from happening? >> i spent all those years wishing i could have done something, and then i walked out and i did something, i did something to help. that's what i wanted. >> what two families wanted were some answers, and some relief from their pain. those answers finally came. >> i'm pretty much satisfied with the answers right now. never prove 100% everything, josh, but i'm not going to get much more. >> unfortunately, the criminal justice system has never doubled as a grief therapist. some wounds are too great to be healed in a courtroom. >> the day that she left the door, and her voice and what she was wearing, and i'm getting old and you forget a lot of stuff, but those things
not that >> i don't want to forget her image and her voice. it's hard. no matter how many years pass by. >> that's all for this edition of "dateline". i'm natalie morales. thank you for watching. >> i'm craig melvin. >> and i'm natalie morales. >> and this is "dateline". >> my mom found her. she said it looked like she might have slipped in the shower. she was in the fetal position in this bathtub. >> you could see marks on jessica's neck. >> police said we're going to rule this as a homicide. >> detectives using new technology to view this crime scene and extreme detail. >> there's no forced entry. no tool marks. >> there was blood on the