[UPDATED with Scott Evans Dekraai Insanity Plea Predicted:] 6 Women and 2 Men, OC Homicides Nos. 45-52: Massacred at Beauty Salon

Categories: 2011 Homicides
UPDATE, NOV. 29, 12:30 P.M.: During today's arraignment hearing, where Scott Evans Dekraai pleaded not guilty to murdering eight people and critically injuring a ninth, Deputy Public Defender Scott Sanders objected to press photographers being in the courtroom, saying this kind of media coverage makes it difficult for his client to get a fair trial. Sanders also mentioned that April 24, 2012, is too soon for a scheduled preliminary hearing given he's mounting a death penalty defense. And, likely, one built on Dekraai being nuts.

Watching the proceedings were about 20 family members of people killed in the worst mass murder in Orange County history. Outside court afterward, Butch Fournier, the brother of Dekraai's late ex-wife and presumed main target Michelle Fournier, told assembled reporters that his family is preparing itself for an insanity defense.

"No matter what, for the rest of his life, he'll spend 23 of 24 hours in a cell," said Butch Fournier (via Los Alamitos-Seal Beach Patch). "If he does get the death penalty, I will be there gazing through the glass, I promise you that."

It was also revealed outside court that Chelsea Huff, the adult daughter of Michelle Fournier and another attendee of today's continued arraignment, has custody of Dominic Dekraai, the 8-year-old son of Michelle and Scott. A custody dispute over the boy is alleged to have fueled the former boat captain's rage.

UPDATE, NOV. 29, 10:23 A.M.: According to police and prosecutors, Scott Evans Dekraai confessed to being the worst mass killer in Orange County history shortly after eight people were shot to death at a Seal Beach hair salon on Oct. 12.

And yet, at his continued arraignment this morning, the Huntington Beach 41-year-old pleaded not guilty to murdering eight people and critically injuring a ninth.

UPDATE, NOV. 28, 9:32 A.M.: The smirk and the rest of Scott Evans Dekraai is scheduled to enter a courtroom Tuesday to enter a plea to being the worst mass killer in Orange County history.

The Huntington Beach 41-year-old is, of course, accused of the cold-blooded murder of eight people at Salon Meritage in Seal Beach on Oct. 12.

Dekraai, who is being held in jail without bail, had been arraigned a few days after the shootings. But his privately retained defense attorneys requested a continuance because they needed more time to prepare for what is now a death penalty case. That law firm later resigned, citing the high cost of mounting defense--death penalty cases are essentially two trials.

On Act. 24, Orange County Superior Court Judge Erick L. Larsh assigned Dekraai's defense to the Orange County Public Defender's office, with senior Deputy Public Defender Scott Sanders getting the call.

Original post:


UPDATE, OCT. 24, 3:05 P.M.: Orange County Superior Court Judge Erick L. Larsh this afternoon assigned the defense of Scott Evans Dekraai to the Orange County Public Defender's office. The lead attorney (at taxpayers' dime) will now be senior Deputy Public Defender Scott Sanders. Dekraai's original defense attorney, Robert Curtis, told Larsh he specializes in family law, having represented the accused in previous divorce and custody proceedings. Curtis, of Jarvis & Krieger of Long Beach, added that Dekraai cannot afford a private law firm for an expensive death-penalty trial.

Telling television news reporters gathered outside the courtroom that he was not surprised "that someone does not want to stand up there and defend this coward," the late Christie Wilson's husband Paul Wilson observed, "What we do need to remember and what is news today is that over the past week we have had to say goodbye to eight very loving people who were mothers, fathers, sisters and brothers. That should be the news, not what happened here."

UPDATE, OCT. 24, 12:37 P.M.: Seal Beach hair salon massacre suspect Scott Evans Dekraai has not even had his full court arraignment yet and his defense attorneys already want off the case.

The Jarvis & Krieger firm in Long Beach will ask Judge Erick L. Larsh to find another defenders for the accused worst mass killer in Orange County history at an Orange County Superior Court hearing this afternoon.

The reason for the request is expected to be revealed at that hearing.

Deputy District Attorney Scott Simmons tells Fox 11 News he has not been told why Jarvis & Krieger wants off the case, but he speculates it could be because the firm cannot afford to conduct a death-penalty trial. If a defendant is found guilty in such a trial, a second phase to determine if he or she deserves the ultimate penalty then begins, and it is often as long and expensive in man hours as the guilty phase.

At Dekraai's Oct. 14 arraignment hearing, which at the request of defense attorney Robert Curtis was continued to Nov. 29 so he would have more time to prepare, the lawyer asked Judge Erick L. Larsh to order jail officials to give his client a prescribed anti-psychotic medicine and access to a "spinal cord stimulator" he has needed since his 2007 boat accident. Larsh instead ordered a medical evaluation of Dekraai to see what medicine he might need, leaving it up to the Orange County Sheriff's Department jailers to decide what was appropriate.

Some, including District Attorney Tony Rackauckas, believe the anti-psychotic medicine request maybe part of the defense laying the foundation for an insanity plea.

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