Salon Meritage Killings: Case against accused gunman moves closer to trial

Police officers stand with Scott Evans Dekraai near the Salon Meritage in Seal Beach on Oct. 12, 2011. Dekraai is charged with eight counts of murder, the worst mass killing in Orange County history.
Police officers stand with Scott Evans Dekraai near the Salon Meritage in Seal Beach on Oct. 12, 2011. Dekraai is charged with eight counts of murder, the worst mass killing in Orange County history. Reed Saxon/AP

More than two years have passed since the worst mass killing in Orange County history. The man charged in the killings is scheduled to appear Friday for a pre-trial hearing in the case. 

Scott Dekraai is charged with killing eight people, seven inside the Salon Meritage beauty parlor in Seal Beach on October 12, 2011. His trial has been set to begin in November,  but last August an Orange County Superior Court judge rescheduled it to March 24th.  The victims' families have said they aren't happy about the delay. 

Christy Wilson was one of the salon employees killed. Her husband, Paul, has called the delay "unfair" to families members seeking justice for their loved ones.  

Dekraai's defense attorneys have offered a guilty plea in exchange for multiple life sentences - which the Orange County District Attorney's office has rejected. Prosecutors are seeking the death penalty.

Dekraai  is accused of walking into the salon and shooting his ex-wife, Michelle Fournier, before opening fire on others inside the business and a man in the parking lot outside. Dekraai and Fournier were involved in a custody dispute at the time.

The eight people killed were Fournier, 48; the salon's owner, Randy Lee Fannin, 62; Victoria Ann Buzzo, 54; Lucia Bernice Kondas, 65; Laura Lee Elody, 46; Christy Lynn Wilson, 47; Michele Daschbach Fast, 47; and David Caouette, 64, who was shot in his Range Rover outside the salon. 73-year-old Hattie Stretz was also shot, but survived her wounds.

Within minutes of the shootings, Seal Beach police arrested Dekraai a few blocks away from the salon.

Dekraai and Fournier had been in a Santa Ana courtroom the day before the shootings for a hearing involving custody of their 8-year-old son, Dominic. Dekraai had been seeking sole custody of his son, but a court-ordered report recommended against it.

Dekraai remains jailed without bail.  

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