Trial for a man accused in the worst mass killing in Orange County history was delayed again today, angering the families of victims.
Scott Evans Dekraai, 43, was scheduled to go on trial Nov. 4, but Orange County Superior Court Judge Thomas Goethals today rescheduled it for March 24. Dekraai is next due in court for a pretrial hearing Jan. 17.
"I'm not happy about it, obviously," said Paul Wilson, husband of 47- year-old Christy Wilson, who was killed in the Oct. 12, 2011, massacre at Salon Meritage in Seal Beach.
"It's very unfair to us," Wilson said, referring to the families of the victims. "We're approaching two years and the evidence is pretty clear."
The delay is owed to the prosecution seeking the death penalty for the defendant, Dekraai's attorney, Deputy Public Defender Scott Sanders said in court. Defense attorneys have offered a guilty plea and multiple life sentences if prosecutors would take the death penalty off the table.
"We politely declined their offer," Assistant District Attorney Dan Wagner said after the hearing. "This case among all cases deserves the ultimate punishment."
Even capital punishment won't achieve "real justice," Wagner said.
"His acts are so heinous and he caused so much damage" that the only appropriate disposition is death row, Wagner said.
Wilson said he doubts the trial will begin in March.
"The real healing process won't happen until this trial," Wilson said. "And what we're hearing today it's going to take two to three years."
Wilson said he has made progress in his efforts to seek legislation that would provide a cooling-off period for gun owners from accessing their weapons during a contested divorce. Wilson has consulted with Connecticut lawmakers he met with following the Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting that killed 20 children and six adult staff workers who are interested in pursuing federal domestic violence gun legislation.
Wilson has been pursuing Christy's Law in California, which was inspired by the circumstances in the Dekraai case. The defendant was involved in a bitter child custody dispute with his ex-wife, Michelle Fournier, when he went on the alleged rampage.
Dekraai is charged with eight counts of murder, with a special circumstance allegation of multiple murders, and one count of attempted murder.
Dekraai is accused of walking into the salon and gunning down 48-year- old Fournier, before opening fire on others inside the business.
Killed in addition to Wilson and Fournier were salon owner Randy Lee Fannin, 62; Victoria Ann Buzzo, 54; Lucia Bernice Kondas, 65; Laura Lee Elody, 46; Michele Daschbach Fast, 47; and David Caouette, 64.
Hattie Stretz, 73, survived her injuries.
– City News Service.