A new trial date was set Friday for Scott Dekraai, accused of murdering eight people in Seal Beach in October 2011. The new trial date is March 25, 2013.
Santa Ana Superior Court Judge Thomas Goethals asked Dekraai's defense attorney, Scott Sanders, what a realistic trial date might be. He told the judge three years from when the case was filed. That would mean a trial date sometime in 2014.
"People are watching," said Judge Goethals. "This case involves facts that are unusual, but we're going to get this case to trial."
The original trial date was two months away — Oct. 15 — and Sanders said his team needed more time to prepare with volumes of evidence to go over.
"We are still processing the volumes of material, interviews on DVDs, and just received more material from the District Attorney's Office on July 27," Sanders told the judge.
In setting the March 25, 2013 trial date, the judge added he would issue a continuance from that date if there is "good legal cause."
The judge also set another pre-trial court date: Jan. 25, 2013.
"We're ready to go to trial," Orange County prosecutor Scott Simmons told the court.
After the pre-trial was over, defense attorney Sanders was asked if he will file for a change of venue.
"That's pretty likely," Sanders briefly responded.
Seal Beach police say Dekraai walked into Salon Meritage on Oct. 12, 2011 looking for his ex-wife, stylist Michelle Fournier.
The two had argued earlier about custody of their son. Witnesses said he shot and killed his ex-wife, then began shooting others in the salon.
A witness said Dekraai walked into the parking lot outside the salon and shot and killed a man sitting in a car.
It was Orange County's deadliest shooting ever.
During the pre-trial Friday, Judge Goethals told Orange County prosecutor Simmons and defense attorney Sanders they would likely remember the case, and upcoming trial, the rest of their lives.
The judge said he has sat in "both of their chairs" as a defense attorney and prosecutor in capital trials.
"I hope we never in my lifetime have a greater multiple homicide in Orange County," Judge Goethals said, as Scott Dekraai sat in an orange jail jumpsuit, bound in waist and ankle chains.
About 25 friends and family of the shooting victims were also in the courtroom.
Dekraai is being held without bail. Prosecutors are seeking the death penalty.