Samuel Herr was a young war veteran, having come home to Costa Mesa, California, from Afghanistan. He lived in an apartment alone, but frequently visited his parents who lived nearby.
On May 22, 2010, his father Steve Herr grew worried after not hearing from him for several days. He went to the apartment, opened the door, and found a woman dead on the floor.
The woman, Julie Kibuishi was a friend of Sam's had been shot in the head. Steve then contacted the police, completely certain his son did not kill her, despite all evidence at the time pointing to such. After all, Sam Herr had actually been on trial for murder previously, as he used to be associated with gang activity before joining the army.
They also checked Julie's cell phone, seeing that Samuel had invited her over that night while emotional. Sounds pretty obvious who the culprit is. But it gets weirder.
Police tracked down Samuel's ATM card usage, to Long Beach about 20 miles away. When the card was used to order a pizza at a residential home, police surrounded the place and even had helicopters. They arrested the one with the card; 16 year old Wesley Freilich, a teenager with no criminal record. He told the police that the card was given to him by a friend and mentor, Daniel Wozniak, and Wesley was unaware it was stolen.
Daniel Wozniak was a theatre kid who lived next door to Samuel; in his mid 20s, he was at that point the lead role in a play nearby. He had been acting in a play the nights surrounding the murder. He was soon to be married to his fiance, Rachel Buffet. Police actually found him later that day, at his bachelor party, with the wedding scheduled for 5 days in the future. They took him into custody, and interrogated him for hours.
Wozniak was so desperate for money to cover his rent and fund his upcoming wedding and honeymoon that he hatched a plot to kill Herr, his neighbor along with his female friend, making it look like a murder-suicide.
Wozniak sought to steal $62,000 that Herr had saved from his military service in Afghanistan. He was only able to acquire $2,000 before his arrest.
Daniel's brother and his fiance have also been arrested in connection in the subsequent years and of course, because people are a bit nutty I found there's a bunch of fan sites for Dan, this one is definitely one of my favorites.