Published On: Tue, Apr 29th, 2014

Scott Dekraai, California man will plead guilty to killing 8 in Seal Beach shooting

A defense lawyer says a California man accused of shooting and killing his ex-wife and seven other people at a hair salon has agreed to plead guilty.

Scott Dekraai booking photo

Scott Dekraai booking photo

Scott Dekraai, 44, will enter a guilty plea to shooting his ex-wife, a hairdresser at Salon Meritage, before killing the Seal Beach salon’s owner and six others in 2011, according to his lawyer Scott Sanders on Monday.

The man was battling his ex-spouse, Michelle Marie Fournier, in an ugly custody dispute over their 8-year-old son before police say he strapped on a bulletproof vest, took three guns and entered the salon. Moments after the shooting, Dekraai was arrested, saying “I know what I did.”

The shooting left six women and two men dead, with a lone woman survivor. They were Victoria Buzzo, 54, who worked at the salon;David Caouette, 64, died after being shot in his Land Rover Discovery parked outside the salon;  Randy Lee Fannin, 62, the owner of Salon Meritage; Michele Daschbach Fast, 47, a customer who was having her hair styled at the salon; Michelle Marie Fournier, 48, who worked as a hair stylist at the salon and was the ex-wife of shooting suspect Scott Dekraai.

There was also Lucia Bernice Kondas, 65, a customer who was having her hair styled at the salon; Laura Webb, 46, worked at the salon and was doing her mother’s hair at the time of the incident; her mother, Hattie Stretz, 73, was shot and critically injured but survived and Christy Lynn Wilson, 47, who worked at the salon. (Source: Wikipedia)

Dekraai had previously offered to plead guilty in exchange for multiple life sentences but prosecutors refused to drop the death penalty from consideration.

Lawrence Rosenthal, a former federal prosecutor and a law professor at Chapman University, said it’s not unheard of for defense attorneys to make such a move. By entering a guilty plea, Rosenthal said, Dekraai is taking a calculated risk that the jury may be go easier on him because he’s owned up to his crimes.

“This is the kind of tactical judgment that defense lawyers make all the time,” he said.

Dekraai’s trial was scheduled to start June 9.

Sanders, an assistant public defender, still wants to have the death penalty tossed out and to have the district attorney’s office recuse itself because of recordings made by a fellow inmate that prosecutors characterized as Dekraai bragging about the killings.

The district attorney’s office agreed last week to drop efforts to use the recordings in court proceedings.

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About the Author

- Catherine "Kaye" Wonderhouse, a proud descendant of the Wunderhaus family is the Colorado Correspondent who will add more coverage, interviews and reports from this midwest area.


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