Mass Murderer Scott Dekraai Sentenced To Life In Prison

Modesto Morganelli
Settembre 23, 2017

A gunman who massacred eight people at a packed hair salon in a small California beach town six years ago was sentenced Friday to life without parole.

On Oct. 12, 2011, Dekraai walked into the Salon Meritage in Seal Beach and fatally shot his ex-wife Michelle Fournier and seven others: Victoria Buzzo, David Caouette, Randy Lee Fannin, Michele Daschbach Fast, Lucia Bernice Kondas, Laura Webb Elody and Christy Lynn Wilson. Hattie Stretz, 73 at the time of the shooting, survived critical injuries but survived and attended the hearing.

The fallout from the Dekraai litigation also helped get one killer out of custody and another one off the hook on a life sentence.

Goethals called Dekraai, 47, the "face of evil" in the community.

Goethals announced the sentence, which includes another 232 years for other charges, to an emotional courtroom filled with the families and friends of the victims, as well as those who survived the shooting. "I truly am sorry".

That revelation transformed the case into a wide-ranging expose into the use of jailhouse informants by Orange County law enforcement, known as the jailhouse snitch scandal.

The District Attorney's Office released a statement saying it continues to disagree with the judge's decision, saying Dekraai deserves the ultimate penalty.

"After thorough evaluation of the particular circumstances in this case, I concluded that the California Department of Justice will abide by Judge Goethals's ruling to preclude the death penalty in the People of the State of California v. Scott Dekraai case", Attorney General Xavier Becerra said in statement.

Dekraai pleaded guilty May 2, 2014, knowing at the time he faced a possible death sentence. His plea came amid evidentiary hearings into allegations that his constitutional rights were violated by a jailhouse informant who heard him make damning comments about the murder spree.

At issue was whether the comments were "overheard" by the informant or if the inmate lured Dekraai into revealing the information.

Informants are not allowed to question defendants represented by an attorney but they are free to pass along overheard comments to their handlers.

Dekraai's attorneys, led by Assistant Public Defender Scott Sanders, unearthed a trove of cases involving jailhouse informants whom they claimed were being used in ways that violated the constitutional rights of many inmates. Even before Goethals' ruling, some of the victims' relatives asked him to throw out the death penalty option because it had the possibility of bringing "decades of appeals", according to the O.C. Register.

Before the hearings, Goethals called such a move "unthinkable", but in the end, he felt Dekraai could never get a fair trial in the penalty phase, despite a new team of prosecutors, and laid the blame at the feet of Dekraai's jailers.

At Friday's hearing, Goethals said his ruling had nothing to do with Dekraai personally or "the evil brutality that you inflicted on these people". Sanders, the assistant public defender, estimates 16 defendants have either won new trials or received reduced punishments as a result.

"The OCDA fought for the death penalty because it is hard to fathom how anyone who has heard Dekraai's chilling recorded confession immediately following his arrest would think that this evil person should get anything less than the death penalty", the statement reads.

Michelle Van Der Linden, a spokeswoman for Rackauckas, said only four cases were affected.

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