Calif. salon shooting suspect due for arraignment

Scott Dekraai

November 29, 2011 4:50:54 AM PST
A man charged with killing his ex-wife and seven others in a shooting rampage at a Southern California hair salon was due back in court Tuesday.

Scott Dekraai was expected to be arraigned in Orange County Superior Court on eight counts of murder and one count of attempted murder. Prosecutors are seeking the death penalty.

Dekraai put on a bulletproof vest and took three handguns to a nearby beach where he pondered shooting his former wife Michelle Fournier, prosecutors said. He then allegedly headed to Seal Beach, bursting into Salon Meritage where Fournier worked and shot eight people in the head and chest in a two minute rampage. Only one of the victims survived.

He then walked out and shot to death a man sitting in his car in the parking lot before driving away, prosecutors said.

After his arrest a few blocks away, Dekraai told police that he shot Fournier, her friend and the salon's owner who headed toward him with scissors, and a number of others whom he saw as "collateral damage," court papers showed.

Defense attorney Scott Sanders declined to comment on the case.

Dekraai had been locked in bitter custody battle with Fournier over the couple's 8-year-old son, prosecutors said.

Acourt-appointed psychologist had recently recommended the former couple's shared custody arrangement remain the same even though Dekraai had pressured to change the boy's school and spend more time with him at his Huntington Beach home, according to Fournier's family law attorney.

Orange County District Attorney Tony Rackaucukas has said he wouldn't be surprised to see Dekraai mount an insanity defense in the case, which rocked the tight-knit seaside city of Seal Beach.

Court papers showed that Dekraai, a former tugboat operator, was diagnosed with post-traumatic stress disorder after a 2007 accident left him unable to work. The now-42-year-old had also told the family court-appointed psychologist that he had been diagnosed as bipolar, according to John Cate, Fournier's attorney.

At a hearing in October, Dekraai's attorney asked Orange County Superior Court Judge Erick L. Larsh to help his client obtain his needed anti-psychotic medication.

Dekraai was being held in jail without bail.

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