Jul 30, 2014

Grand Jury Indicts Alleged Salon Shooter in Secret Proceeding

The move is designed to speed up the death penalty trial of Scott Evans Dekraai.

Grand Jury Indicts Alleged Salon Shooter in Secret Proceeding

The Orange County Grand Jury indicted Scott Evans Dekraai on Tuesday for multiple counts of murder and attempted murder in the shooting rampage that killed eight people at a Seal Beach Salon.

The indictment process, which is done in secret, was done to speed up the trial, said Susan Kang Schroeder, the Orange County District Attorney’s chief of staff. A grand jury indictment negates the need for a preliminary hearing, which can take months of preparation and several days of testimony leading up to the actual trial.

"One of the benefits is that we are able to skip the prelim so we can have a trial as soon as possible, and the victims will get their day in court,” Kang Schroeder said Tuesday.

After listening to closed-door testimony, the grand jury indicted Dekraai on eight counts of murder with special circumstances and one count of attempted murder. He is scheduled for arraignment Wednesday. If convicted, Dekraai faces the death penalty.

Nine people were shot and eight died in the Oct. 12 shooting at Salon Meritage. The shootings, which took less than two minutes, produced the highest death toll of any mass murder in Orange County history.

The Orange County District Attorney’s Office released this account of that day:

On the morning of Oct. 12, 2011, Dekraai is accused of getting into a verbal argument on the phone with his ex-wife, 48-year-old Michelle Marie Fournier, over a custody dispute regarding their 8-year-old son.

At approximately 1:20 p.m. on Oct. 12, 2011, Dekraai is accused of entering Salon Meritage, located on the 500 block of Pacific Coast Highway in Seal Beach, where his ex-wife worked as a hair stylist. The defendant is accused of wearing a bulletproof vest under his clothing and arming himself with three firearms before walking into the salon with the intention of murdering his ex-wife and other people who may have been present. Approximately 15 people were inside at the time.

At 1:21 p.m., Dekraai is accused of walking through the salon and executing employees and customers at random, as well as Fournier, by shooting them at close range in the head and chest. The firearms included a 9mm Springfield, Smith & Wesson .44 Magnum, and a Heckler & Koch .45.

He is accused of shooting several of the victims multiple times, using two of the firearms, as they lay dying, stopping to reload when his ammunition ran out. The shooting lasted approximately two minutes.

The other people inside the salon attempted to escape by hiding, locking themselves in private treatment rooms, or running outside. Dekraai is accused of shooting eight people inside the salon.

Six of the eight victims inside the salon were pronounced dead at the scene. The two other victims were transported to Long Beach Memorial Medical Center in critical condition. One of those victims died that afternoon at the hospital. ...

The seven murdered victims from inside the salon include (in alphabetical order): Victoria Ann Buzzo, 54, Laguna Beach, salon employee; Laura Lee Elody, 46, Huntington Beach, salon employee; Randy Lee Fannin, 62, Murrieta, salon owner; Michele Daschbach Fast, 47, Seal Beach, salon client; Michelle Marie Fournier, 48, Los Alamitos, salon employee; Lucia Bernice Kondas, 65, Huntington Beach, salon client; and Christy Lynn Wilson, 47, Lakewood, salon employee.

Victim Harriet Stretz, 73, Los Alamitos, is the lone shooting victim to survive the rampage. She was a salon client having her hair done by her daughter, victim Elody.

After his murderous shooting rampage inside the salon, Dekraai is accused of walking out of the salon. As he approached his white Toyota Tundra pickup truck to flee the scene, the defendant is accused of observing a dark sport utility vehicle parked nearby with a male seated in the driver’s seat. Dekraai is accused of approaching the victim, who was alone in his car, and executing him by shooting him in the head through the closed front passenger side window.

This victim was David Caouette, 64, Seal Beach.

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