[UPDATED with Plea:] Scott Evans Dekraai, Mass Murder Suspect, Indicted by Grand Jury
UPDATE, JAN. 18, 3:38 P.M.: Accused mass killer Scott Evans Dekraai pleaded not guilty to eight murder counts at today's arraignment hearing in Santa Ana. If a feeling of deja vu just washed over you, fret not; Dekraai also pleaded not guilty at an arraignment hearing last year. Today's arraignment was based on Tuesday's grand jury indictment of the Huntington Beach 42-year-old who, police say, confessed to fatally shooting eight people and attempting to off a ninth at Salon Meritage in Seal Beach on Oct. 14.
By getting the grand jury indictment, the district attorney's office is trying to speed up justice. For instance, the move removes the need for a preliminary hearing, where a judge would consider whether there is enough evidence to proceed with the case.
For DeKraai, his death penalty case now moves to a pre-trial hearing set for Jan. 27.
ORIGINAL POST, JAN. 17, 4:32 P.M.: The Orange County Grand Jury today indicted Scott Evans Dekraai, the accused worst mass killer in Orange County history, on eight felony counts of special circumstances murder for committing multiple murders and one felony count of attempted murder. The Huntington Beach 42-year-old is scheduled to be arraigned on the indictment Wednesday afternoon in Santa Ana. District Attorney Tony Rackauckas previously announced he will seek the death penalty in the case.
The statement from the DA's office on the grand jury indictment follows:
Jan. 17, 2012
SEAL BEACH SALON SHOOTER INDICTED BY GRAND JURY FOR LARGEST MASS MURDER IN ORANGE COUNTY HISTORY
SANTA ANA - A man was indicted today by the Orange County Grand Jury for murdering eight people and attempting to murder a ninth in the largest mass-murder in Orange County history. Scott Evans Dekraai, 42, Huntington Beach, has been indicted on eight felony counts of special circumstances murder for committing multiple murders and one felony count of attempted murder. The Orange County District Attorney (OCDA) is seeking the death penalty in this case. Dekraai is being held without bail and is scheduled to be arraigned on the indictment tomorrow, Wednesday, Jan. 18, 2012, at 1:30 p.m. in Department C-5, Central Justice Center, Santa Ana.
The Seal Beach Police Department (SBPD) investigated this case.
The OCDA released a press release Oct. 14, 2011, with the following information on the Dekraai case:
On the morning of Oct. 12, 2011, Dekraai is accused of getting into a verbal argument on the phone with his ex-wife, 48-year-old Michelle Marie Fournier, over a custody dispute regarding their 8-year-old son.
At approximately 1:20 p.m. on Oct. 12, 2011, Dekraai is accused of entering Salon Meritage, located on the 500 block of Pacific Coast Highway in Seal Beach, where his ex-wife worked as a hair stylist. The defendant is accused of wearing a bullet-proof vest under his clothing and arming himself with three firearms before walking into the salon with the intention of murdering his ex-wife and other people who may have been present. Approximately 15 people were inside at the time.
At 1:21 p.m. Dekraai is accused of walking through the salon and executing employees and customers at random, as well as Fournier, by shooting them at close range in the head and chest. The firearms included a 9 MM Springfield, Smith & Wesson .44 Magnum, and a Heckler & Koch .45.
He is accused of shooting several of the victims multiple times using two of the firearms as they lay dying, stopping to reload when his ammunition ran out. The shooting lasted approximately two minutes.
The other people inside the salon attempted to escape by hiding, locking themselves in private treatment rooms, or running outside. Dekraai is accused of shooting eight people inside the salon.
Six of the eight victims inside the salon were pronounced dead at the scene. The two other victims were transported to Long Beach Memorial Medical Center in critical condition. One of those victims died that afternoon at the hospital. The eighth victim remains in critical condition.
The seven murdered victims from inside the salon include (in alphabetical order): Victoria Ann Buzzo, 54, Laguna Beach, salon employee; Laura Lee Elody, 46, Huntington Beach, salon employee; Randy Lee Fannin, 62, Murrieta, salon owner; Michele Daschbach Fast, 47, Seal Beach, salon client; Michelle Marie Fournier, 48, Los Alamitos, salon employee; Lucia Bernice Kondas, 65, Huntington Beach, salon client; and Christy Lynn Wilson, 47, Lakewood, salon employee.
Victim Harriet Stretz, 73, Los Alamitos, is in critical condition. She was a salon client having her hair done by her daughter, victim Elody.
After his murderous shooting rampage inside the salon, Dekraai is accused of walking out of the salon. As he approached his white Toyota Tundra pick-up truck to flee the scene, the defendant is accused of observing a dark sport utility vehicle parked nearby with a male seated in the driver's seat. Dekraai is accused of approaching the victim, who was alone in his car, and executing him by shooting him in the head through the closed front passenger side window.
This victim was David Caouette, 64, Seal Beach.
An SBPD officer, who was nearby in the neighborhood, was the first to arrive at the scene in response to a 911 call from a person in the restaurant next door to the salon. Witnesses pointed the officer to the defendant's vehicle as Dekraai attempted to drive away.
SBPD dispatch received information from the 911 caller at 1:25:36 p.m. that the defendant was driving away from the scene. At 1:26:07 p.m., only 30 seconds later, the defendant was stopped by SBPD in an emergency traffic stop.
Officers from SBPD yelled for the defendant to exit his vehicle with their guns drawn. Dekraai is accused of getting out of his car, getting down on his knees, placing his hands behind his head, and was arrested. At the time of his arrest, Dekraai is accused of being in possession of the three firearms and a significant amount of ammunition in his truck.
Dekraai was booked at the Seal Beach City Jail and was later transported to the Orange County Jail.
The OCDA and SBPD would like to thank the following law enforcement agencies for their response to the scene and assistance in the investigation: Anaheim Police Department, Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives, California Highway Patrol, Cypress Police Department, Federal Bureau of Investigation, Huntington Beach Fire Department, Huntington Beach Police Department, La Palma Police Department, Long Beach Police Department, Los Alamitos Police Department, OCDA Bureau of Investigation, Orange County Fire Authority, Orange County Sheriff's Department, and Westminster Police Department.
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