Accused Seal Beach shooter faces charges, victims' families

Huntington man accused of the salon shooting will return to court Nov. 29. Audience member calls him 'coward' at court appearance.

October 19, 2011|By Mona Shadia
  • Shooting suspect Scott Dekraai looks at his attorney Robert Curtis during a hearing on Friday.
Shooting suspect Scott Dekraai looks at his attorney… (Mark Boster/Los…)

SANTA ANA — The Huntington Beach man accused in the worst shooting rampage in Orange County appeared in court Friday, where he faced eight counts of first-degree murder, one count of attempted murder and the pained remarks of the victims' grieving family members.

The charges in Orange County Superior Court include special circumstances that could result in the death penalty, which Orange County District Attorney Tony Rackauckas is seeking.

The arraignment for Scott Evans Dekraai, who turned 42 Monday, at the Central Justice Center in Santa Ana was postponed to Nov. 29. His defense attorney requested more time to prepare for the case and assemble a team.

Dekraai showed no signs of guilt or remorse. He gave one-word answers and stated his full name loudly and with clarity. Family members and friends appeared distraught, holding back and wiping tears.

"Coward!" one shouted.

"Scumbag!" said another.

One man held two photos of a family member he lost.


A woman shouted, "I hate you! I hate you!" repeatedly at Dekraai, just as Judge Erick L. Larsh dismissed court for the day.

Attorney Robert Curtis of Jarvis & Krieger appeared on Dekraai's behalf. The Long Beach-based family law firm represented Dekraai during his child custody battle with his ex-wife.

Jarvis & Krieger plans to assemble a defense team of attorneys from outside the firm, Curtis said. Dekraai chose not to use the aid of a public defender.

Davis asked Larsh to allow Dekraai to take his anti-psychotic medication and use a spinal cord stimulator that he has been using since his 2007 boating accident.

Larsh said he would have a team of doctors review Dekraai's condition and determine his needs.

Prosecutors expect an insanity defense.

Curtis said after court that he may file a change-of-venue motion to relocate Dekraai's case because he believes it could be hard for Dekraai to get a fair trial in Orange County.

Earlier in the day, in an emotional press conference, Rackauckas appeared shaken by the details and held back tears as he spoke.

"There are some crimes that are so depraved, so callous, so malignant, that there is only one punishment that will fit the crime," he said. "When a person, in a case such as this, goes on a rampage and kills innocent people in an indiscriminate, bloody massacre, I will, of course, seek the death penalty."

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