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
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
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.