SANTA ANA, Calif., April 29 (UPI) -- A man who allegedly killed eight people at a California hair salon because he was angry at his ex-wife will plead guilty, although he could get a death sentence, his lawyer says.
Scott Dekraai is concerned about the families of the people who died at Salon Meritage in Seal Beach in October 2011, public defender Scott Sanders said Monday.
“He really needs to give at least the victims the sense that he's not seeking to have this go on forever," Sanders said. "He thinks he owes to them at least the knowledge that he's willing to accept responsibility."
Dekraai's ex-wife worked at the salon. The couple was in the middle of a nasty custody dispute when he allegedly entered the shop and opened fire, killing eight people and injuring one.
The plea of guilty to eight counts of special-circumstance murder and one of attempted murder still means a trial because a jury must decide on the penalty, Orange County Deputy District Attorney Scott Simmons said. Prosecutors refused to accept a guilty plea that would have taken the death penalty off the table.
"The battle in this case has always been the penalty phase," Simmons said.
In addition to his ex-wife, Michelle Fournier, 48, Dekraai allegedly gunned down Randy Fannin, the salon's owner; four employees, Victoria Buzzo, Laura Elody, Michele Fast and Christy Lynn Wilson; a client, Lucia Kondas; and David Caouette, who was shot as he sat in his car outside.
Bethany Webb, whose sister was killed and mother wounded at the salon, was not impressed by Dekraai's decision to plead guilty.
“He’s never done anything to show that he is sorry,” she told KTLA-TV.
A hearing began in mid-March in Orange County Superior Court on allegations of the misuse of jailhouse informants in this case and others. Judge Thomas Goethals said Monday the hearing will continue.