SANTA ANA, Calif. (AP) — California's attorney general will continue to seek the death penalty for a man who killed eight people in a shooting rampage at a hair salon and whose sentencing has been delayed by a long-running scandal over the use of jailhouse informants.
Attorney General Xavier Becerra announced the decision Wednesday, saying the murders in the tight-knit seaside town of Seal Beach in 2011 "caused so much harm to far too many families."
Scott Dekraai pleaded guilty to the killings. The now-47-year-old former tugboat operator who killed his hairstylist ex-wife and seven others during the onslaught is due to appear in court Thursday.
Orange County's district attorney had been seeking the death penalty for Dekraai but was yanked from the case after Dekraai's attorney learned that a jailhouse snitch had been chatting with his client even though he had a lawyer.
The discovery led to a broader probe of Orange County's use of jailhouse informants and a federal investigation.
It also delayed the sentencing of Dekraai even though he pleaded guilty in 2014.
Dekraai's lawyer Scott Sanders has long argued that his client shouldn't face the death penalty due to the misuse of informants and prosecutors' failure to turn over required evidence. On Wednesday, he said he was disappointed in the state's decision and would fight it.
"We will be bringing additional motions that based upon the egregious misconduct the death penalty must be dismissed," Sanders said.
Dekraai had been locked in a bitter custody dispute with ex-wife Michelle Fournier over their 8-year-old son when he entered Salon Meritage in Seal Beach in October 2011 wearing a bulletproof vest and armed with three weapons.
He shot and killed Fournier before turning his guns on the salon owner, stylists and customers and a man who was sitting in his car in the parking lot.
Police arrested Dekraai within minutes of the rampage that killed eight and wounded one.