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Defense Seeks Secret Recordings of Alleged Salon Shooter

Attorneys for Scott Dekraai, the man charged with gunning down 8 people at a Seal Beach salon, want access to recordings of Dekraai talking to a police informant.

Defense Seeks Secret Recordings of Alleged Salon Shooter

The defense for Scott Dekraai, the Huntington Beach man accused of killing eight people in a shooting rampage at a Seal Beach salon in 2011, is asking the prosecution to hand over 132 hours of secret recordings of Dekraai allegedly talking to a fellow prisoner about the shootings.  

Assistant Public Defender Scott Sanders submitted a motion to Orange County Superior Court this week requesting that the court order the prosecution to release copies of more than six days' worth of audio surveillance of Dekraai’s jail cell, according to court documents obtained by Patch.

The move is part of the back-and-forth between the Public Defender's Office and the Orange County District Attorney as both sides prepare to try the case of the deadliest mass shooting in county history. 

The informant

According to the defense's motion submitted Tuesday, one week after the shooting prosecutors and members of law enforcement met with an Orange County Jail inmate, who said that Dekraai told him about the shootings.

The informant, who was convicted of a number of charges in 2007 including illegal possession of a firearm, was told to listen to Dekraai and document what he said about the shootings.

After the interview, officials installed a secret audio recorder in Dekraai’s cell at the intake and release center. The device was installed on October 19, 2011, began recording at 5:37 p.m. and stopped recording at Oct. 25, 2011 at 4:39 a.m. The information from the recordings was compiled into a compact disk containing 132 one-hour audio files.

According to the Sanders’ motion, some of the conversations on the disk include Dekraai’s comments about his charged crimes and his personal history. Because Dekraai was arraigned on Oct. 14, “the conversations were recorded after Dekraai’s six amendment right to counsel.” 

“Dekraai is not suggesting that his right to counsel was violated simply because his conversations with the informant were recorded after the complaint,” Sanders writes.

However, Sanders said, the defenses wants copies of the tapes so that they can determine if the defendant’s rights were violated.

Sanders added in the motion that the defense has been denied access to the informant because prosecutor have said they didn’t plan to call the informant as a witness.

Response

In an interview with Patch, Sanders said he had “no comment” on the case.

“We’re not really seeking any more publicity one way or the other,” Sander said.

Sanders said the court was in the process of deciding whether the recordings should come into play during the trial.

“Obviously the D.A. thinks it has some value,” Sanders said.

Prosecutor Dan Wagner, assistant county district attorney, said Dekraai’s words on the recordings were part of the prosecutions' overall evidence against Dekraai.

“It’s one of many facts,” Wagner said.

Many of the court records in the case are sealed, and Wagner said he could not say whether Dekraai implicates himself on the recordings. However, according to investigators, Dekraai spoke to police at length about the shootings after his arrest.

Dekraai remains jailed without bail. He has pleaded not guilty to all charges, and his jury trial is set for March 25. Dekraai faces the death penalty if convicted.

Prosecutors accuse him of walking into the Salon Meritage on Oct 12, 2011 and shooting and killing his 48-year-old ex-wife Michelle Fournier before opening fire on others inside the business. Killed in the shooting were the salon's owner, Randy Lee Fannin, 62; Victoria Ann Buzzo, 54; Lucia Bernice Kondas, 65; Laura Lee Elody, 46; Christy Lynn Wilson, 47; Michele Daschbach Fast, 47, and David Caouette, 64. Hattie Stretz, 73, was also shot, but survived.

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