Scott Dekraai is eligible for the death penalty, a judge in Santa Ana recently ruled. Dekraai admitted to shooting and killing eight people in and around a Seal Beach beauty salon in 2011. He and his ex-wife were allegedly involved in a custody dispute involving their 8-year old son. Dekraai went to his ex-wife's work, Salon Meritage, and killed her, the business-owner and five other people in the salon. As he left, he also shot and killed a driver in a parked vehicle.
Dekraai has plead guilty to all charges. Despite pleading guilty, his fate still
remains uncertain especially with the alleged misconduct constellating around
According to a story by the local ABC affiliate, "Death penalty possible for seal beach salon shooter," the judge said "many of the witnesses who testified, including current and former prosecutors and law enforcement, were 'credibility challenged.'" Despite the defense attorneys' protestations that misconduct had occurred within the Orange County District Attorney's Office and the judge's concession that such misconduct may have impacted the case, the judge has still ruled that Dekraai is eligible for the death penalty. California Superior Court Judge Thomas Goethals found that Dekraai's rights were violated when a fellow inmate and informant questioned him after Dekraai had already obtained a criminal defense attorney.
While the case may now move forward and the DA will continue to handle it, the impact of alleged misconduct will continue to haunt the trial and penalty phase, no doubt.