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Death Penalty In Seal Beach Massacre Trial Hangs on Nov. Election

ShootingsScott Evans DekraaiSeal Beach Salon Shooting (2011)

SEAL BEACH, Calif. (KTLA) -- The judge presiding over the Seal Beach massacre trial says it will be affected by the outcome of Prop. 34 this November.

If the anti-death penalty measure is approved, there will be no need for the penalty phase of the trial.

Scott Dekraai, who appeared in court Friday, will be tried March 25th of next year.

Police say that on October 12 Scott Dekraai opened fire, killing 8 people at the Salon Meritage where his ex-wife worked.

It was the worst massacre in Orange County history.

Dekraai first shot his ex-wife, Michelle Fournier, and then her friend and co-worker Christy Lynn Wilson, according to witnesses and grand jury transcripts.

Salon owner Randy Fannin became the third victim when he tried to intervene and coax Dekraai outside.

Prosecutors say Dekraai then worked his way through the business, shooting employees Victoria Buzzo, 54; Michele Daschback Fast, 47; and Laura Webb, 46.

Customers Bernice Kondas, 65; and Harriet "Hattie" Stretz, 73, were also shot. Stretz survived her serious injuries.

Then, as Dekraai walked out of the shop, he is accused of gunning down David Caouette, 64, who was sitting in his Range Rover.

According to court transcripts, Dekraai shot Caouette because he thought he was an undercover police officer.

Dekraai was indicted on eight counts of murder and one count of attempted murder on Jan. 17.

According to friends and family, Fournier lived in fear of her former husband, with whom she was involved in a bitter custody battle over son Dominic, who is now 9.

Court records show that Dekraai had accused Fournier of being an unfit parent.

She, in turn, charged that Dekraai's mental state had deteriorated after the loss of a leg in a tugboat accident that killed a co-worker.

Dekraai was also diagnosed as bipolar and required heavy medication, according to court documents.

The couple was in an Orange County Family court just the day before the shooting, with Dekraai's claims being rejected, O.C. District Attorney Tony Rackauckas said.

Their son is now being cared for by elder step-sister, Chelsea Huff, 25, who shares guardianship with Fournier's parents.

He is said to be getting involved with sports and doing well.

"They're just doing great," Chelsea's father, Steven Huff, said. "Chelsea's dedicated to her little brother with, you know, the support of her family."

Salon Meritage is expected to reopen under new ownership sometime in mid-November.

Copyright © 2014, The Baltimore Sun
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ShootingsScott Evans DekraaiSeal Beach Salon Shooting (2011)