Entries in double murders (2)


California Double-Murder Charge: Fiancee Says She Was Duped

Costa Mesa Police Dept.(NEW YORK) -- Rachel Buffett, the California actress who is accused of helping her ex-fiance Dan Wozniak cover up an alleged double-murder, says she was duped and her only crime was falling for the wrong man.

"I'm innocent," Buffett, 25, told ABC News on Tuesday.  "It was like the person I loved never really existed."

Police say the Long Beach, Calif., actress wasn't tricked at all, and not only knew the real Wozniak -- who is charged with killing two friends in an attempted money-making plan -- but that she was an accessory, covering up the crime.

Wozniak, 28, is in jail on two felony counts of special circumstances murder, while Buffett is out on $1 million bail after she was taken into custody Nov. 20 on suspicion of being an accessory to murder after the fact, The Los Angeles Times reported.

It's unclear when they will go to trial.

Wozniak's neighbors Sam Herr, 26, and Julie Kibuishi, 23, were killed in the spring of 2010, when Buffett and Wozniak were community theatre actors starring in the musical Nine.

Police say on the same day the couple performed in the play, Wozniak lured college student Herr, who had recently returned from a tour in Afghanistan, into the theater and shot him.  Wozniak then allegedly dismembered the body.

Prosecutors say that the motive for the killing was to steal Herr's savings account.

"He took away my best friend, my son," Sam's father, Steven, told ABC News.  "Every father out there listening to this absolutely knows how I feel."

On the night of the killings, Herr's father went to his son's apartment, where he found the body of Kibuishi, a friend and classmate of Herr's.  She had also been shot, and there was evidence of a sexual assault.

But authorities say Wozniak attempted to make it look like Herr had shot Kibuishi, and then killed himself.

It was when cash disappeared from Herr's bank account that police traced it back to Wozniak.

Wozniak, who is facing a possible death sentence, has pleaded not guilty.  Buffett is going public, saying the only thing she's guilty of was falling in love with the wrong man.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


Arizona Man Freed After Decades, Still Denies Double Murders

Arizona State Corrections(NEW YORK) -- Bill Macumber, a convicted felon who spent almost four decades in prison for two murders he claimed his ex-wife framed him for, still denies he committed the crimes and said he "never lost hope" he would be granted his freedom.

"Justice late is still justice," a teary-eyed Macumber told reporters at a press conference in Phoenix shortly after being released from prison.  "When I was first questioned in 1974, I made the statement of innocence 10,000 times since, and I will take that statement to the grave."

The 77-year-old Macumber, who had no history of violence and has long maintained his innocence, was convicted in the 1970s in one of the most sensational murder cases in the history of Arizona.  Macumber was twice sentenced to life in prison for killing Joyce Sterrenberg and Tim McKillop, both 20 years old, and leaving their bodies in the desert.

After years of missing out on weddings and the birth of grandchildren, Macumber on Tuesday entered a plea of no contest for two counts of second-degree murder in Maricopa County Superior Court under an agreement with prosecutors and received a sentence of time served, securing his freedom.  Although the victims' family asked Judge Bruce Cohen to deny his request, prosecutors said they couldn't pursue a third trial because key evidence had been destroyed or lost.

Macumber has spent decades trying to clear his name.  His son, Ron Kempfert, and the Arizona Justice Project have been advocating for his release for years, saying that Ron's mother, Carol Kempfert, framed him and that another man committed the murders.

When Carol Kempfert first heard the news that her ex-husband was set free, she was in disbelief.

"It took me a while to process that they would let him out," she told ABC News in an exclusive interview.  "After the second hearing with the parole board, when they said that they didn't believe that I had framed him and sent him back to jail, I thought that was it and all of a sudden he's out."

Kempfert said she passed four lie detector tests when she was questioned by police and maintains that she never tampered with evidence.  Despite the court granting Macumber's request, Kempfert said that doesn't prove her ex-husband's innocence, and closure for her would have meant he stayed in prison.

"I knew what happened, I was there, and I know he committed them," she said.  "I would have to think that I was crazy, and I'm not.  I did not frame him, and he did admit it to me and he did do it, and the evidence was there."

"They need to know they just let a murderer loose," she continued.  "I feel sorry for the [victims'] families because I know they were unhappy with this, and all I can tell them is I did my best and it just didn't work, and I'm sorry for that."

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio

ABC News Radio