Victims' relatives shout at salon shooting suspect

AP News
Posted: Oct 14, 2011 9:31 PM
Victims' relatives shout at salon shooting suspect

Angry, sobbing relatives and friends of the victims gunned down in a massacre at a Seal Beach hair salon shouted at the suspect in court on Friday, calling him a coward who they should have beat up a long time ago.

"I hate you," one woman yelled through tears while leaving the Santa Ana courtroom where defendant Scott Dekraai, 41, made his first appearance wearing an orange jail jumpsuit, his shackles clanking as he walked.

Nearly two dozen relatives sat together in the courtroom, many with their eyes reddened from tears. None spoke after the hearing to the dozens of journalists who descended on the courtroom to take pictures and video of Dekraai.

Dekraai, a former tugboat operator who lived in Huntington Beach, was charged Friday with eight counts of murder and one count of attempted murder. Prosecutors are seeking the death penalty.

Prosecutors say Dekraai was wearing a bulletproof vest when he entered the hair salon Wednesday and shot eight people in the head and chest in a rampage that lasted two minutes, then walked out and shot a man sitting in a parked car before driving away. Eight people were killed and a ninth is in critical condition.

Dekraai did not enter a plea during the hearing. His arraignment was continued to Nov. 29 after defense attorney Robert Curtis told the court he needed more time to assemble a defense team and prepare for the case.

Curtis also said Dekraai needs anti-psychotic medications that he has not been receiving in jail.

Judge Erick L. Larsh ordered a medical review to determine what medications Dekraai needs.

Curtis also said he anticipates there will be a motion for a change of venue in the case, which has rocked the small seaside town of Seal Beach in affluent Orange County.

Curtis declined to comment after the hearing.

Orange County District Attorney Tony Rackauckas said he was not aware that Dekraai was taking anti-psychotic medication but that it appeared defense attorneys would focus their case on his mental state.

"I won't be surprised if we get an insanity plea," he said after Friday's hearing.