Does Daniel Wozniak, a San Quentin State Prison death row inmate from Long Beach, feel remorse for killing two Orange County college students in 2010?
Were the gruesome crimes the result of a wider conspiracy than prosecutors alleged and who might have unjustly escaped murder charges?
What motivated an investigative journalist to dig for three years into numerous lingering mysteries tied to the ambush homicides of Sam Herr and Julie Kibuishi?
And, what bombshells did the journalist’s “deep throat” reveal?
These are among the questions pursued in the season finale of iHeartRadio’s popular Sleuth podcast produced by investigative reporter and host Linda Sawyer, who makes no secret that she believes other people should be indicted in the bizarre killings.
Daniel Halkyard—an ordained minister who has known Wozniak for decades and been in routine telephone contact with him—says the inmate has listened to the podcasts without satisfaction.
“He has differences of opinion [about the podcast’s conclusions],” Halkyard tells Sawyer. “The Dan I knew would have apologized and felt bad. But that Dan is gone. The Dan that is in San Quentin is the Dan that belongs in San Quentin. What he did is unforgivable. But his lack of remorse is more unforgivable. It just breaks my heart. I don’t know what he’s hiding. I don’t know who he’s hiding. But I don’t think the total truth has come out. . . He knows the truth. He just refuses to share it for whatever reasons.”
Halkyard’s declarations rang hollow to Scott Sanders, the assistant public defender who represented Wozniak.
“‘Minister’ Halkyard decided he was the person who would convince a death row defendant to speak about the involvement of others in a capital murder case,” Sanders told the Weekly after listening to the podcast. “When Dan thought it was probably not best to speak to Halkyard about these issues, Halkyard tells the world he can divine a lack of remorse. I wonder what fellow ‘ministers’ might think about what Halkyard did.”
During the show Sawyer said she’d promised anonymity to her “deep throat” source but revealed the knowledge the woman share about the case.
Veteran Sleuth listeners will be startled to learn the source’s information—including an alleged confession—but not who she fingers as one of the uncharged killers.
“I just wanted the public to understand that you’re not always going to get the truth in a courtroom,” Sawyer explains about what helped motivate her in-depth probing that resulted in more than 330 interviews and garnered more than 2.5 million listeners nationwide. “You’re not always going to hear everything that happened in a case from a courtroom or even from headlines or even from broadcast shows like Dateline or 20/20 or 48 Hours. There’s only a limited amount of time they have to tell a story and it’s usually based on the goings on and the happenings in the courtroom. So, I just thought this particular case—because there was a narrative that it was Dan and Dan alone—that just struck me as not entirely truthful. I felt there was more to the story and if I continued on the path of learning and connecting with other people that were involved, I would get the answers that would flush out what really happened to Sam and Julie, and to expose who else was involved and to what extent.”
One of her conclusions about the once apparently happy-go-lucky community theater actor turned savage killer?
“I think Dan, from a very early age, learned how to live two very different lives—and the dark one took over,” says Sawyer, who discovered Wozniak’s favorite role was in Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde.
Go HERE to listen to any of Sleuth’s 22 episodes.
CNN featured investigative reporter R. Scott Moxley has won Journalist of the Year honors at the Los Angeles Press Club; been named Distinguished Journalist of the Year by the LA Society of Professional Journalists; and hailed by two New York Times Magazine writers for his “herculean job” exposing Southern California law enforcement corruption.