Paul Wilson, husband of one of the 2011 Seal Beach salon massacre victims, found himself in disbelief over two recent disinformation efforts: District Attorney Tony Rackauckas’ praising his own “tireless” work ensuring “the administration of justice” followed by the Orange County Grand Jury issuing an equally absurd report regurgitating the DA’s spin that the ongoing jailhouse informant scandal is a mythical fraud.
“A myth?” Wilson said in Goethals’ court this morning during special evidentiary proceedings in People v. Scott Dekraai, the salon shooting case where revelations of law enforcement perjury, evidence hiding and illegal operations continue to surface. “What a slap in the face to each of the [victims’] families. Shame on Carrie Carmody [the foreperson] and the entire grand jury. You have let the families of the Seal Beach massacre down.”
Wilson, whose wife Christy was one of Dekraai’s eight murder victims, repeated a stance he’s taken on previous occasions after learning the extent of unnecessary government cheating in a case where the defendant admitted guilt minutes after his shooting spree.
“They took an open and shut case and let us down,” he added. “Tony Rackauckas [and his assistant prosecutors] Dan Wagner and Scott Simons failed us.”
Wilson mocked Rackauckas for claiming at a Turnip Rose restaurant re-election fundraiser that he has a “strong track record” as DA despite joining Sheriff Sandra Hutchens in creating one of the nation’s biggest criminal justice system scandals.
“You’ve got to be kidding me,” he said about the DA’s comment before making a request to Goethals. “I’m going to ask you to put this guy [Rackauckas] on the witness stand under oath. What’s it going to take to make [the DA’s office] accountable? I’m so tired of the dishonesty and lack of integrity displayed. They think they are above the law.”
On June 13, smug grand jury members issued a report that easily could have been written by Rackauckas. It identified the villains in the scandal as Goethals, Dekraai defense attorney Scott Sanders and courthouse reporters. The crime? Unfairly smearing the heroics of the DA and the sheriff. The panel, which had difficulty coherently answering questions about it findings, specifically ridiculed Goethals as a judicial dunce and advised him to end his inquiry into the snitch controversy.
With two, stone-faced members of the grand jury watching, Wilson didn’t mask his response to the panel’s embarrassingly shallow work; he praised the judge’s determination to uncover corruption that touched the case.
“Please do not give up on the pursuit of the truth,” he told Goethals.
Bethany Webb, who lost her sister Laura in the salon killings, called Wilson’s remarks “eloquent” and noted her appreciation for the judge’s public service.
But she wanted Dekraai to hear her pain.
“You have so much hate in your heart,” Webb said, staring at the defendant.
For the first time in the five-year-old litigation, Dekraai uttered words other than, “Yes, your honor.”
Sitting in an orange jail jumpsuit at the defense table, the defendant, who is facing a potential death sentence, said solemnly, “I’m sorry. I’m very sorry.”
Goethals interrupted, “Mr. Dekraai, this is not the time for you to speak, but I appreciate what you said.”
Webb continued, describing how much she misses her younger sister.
“You can’t give me back what you took,” she told Dekraai. “Good, decent human being were stolen . . . My sister begged you. She said, ‘You don’t have to do this.’ You opened fire and bullets ripped through her body.”
Later, sheriff’s lieutenant Marty Ramirez took the stand to continue a long line of testifying deputies who are playing their version of Sergeant Schultz from Hogan’s Heroes.
Ramirez denies any role in the snitch scandal, saying he too knows nothing.
Goethals faces a pending question: Does he block the government’s death penalty demand for Dekraai and instead, as punishment for the remorseless corruption, sentence the defendant to eight consecutive life without the possibly of parole terms?
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.