SANTA ANA (CBS) — Scott Dekraai, the suspect in the Seal Beach salon massacre, made his first appearance in Orange County Superior Court on Friday, but his arraignment on eight counts of murder and one count of attempted murder was continued to November 29.
Orange County District Attorney Tony Rackauckas had announced earlier during news conference that he would be seeking the death penalty for Dekraai.
An emotional Rackauckas told reporters that before the massacre, Dekraai argued with his wife over the phone regarding the custody of their 8-year-old son.
“While Dekraai rampaged through a salon shooting at innocent victims, his son, who he professed to love, was sitting in the principal’s office… Waiting for his mom or dad to pick him up,” Rackauckas said with tears in his eyes.
“That little boy is a victim. Now his mother has been murdered and he has to grow up knowing that his dad is a mass murderer,” he added.
Dekraai, 41, was armed with a handgun, as well as other weapons, when he was arrested less than a mile from Salon Meritage on Wednesday afternoon.
He was also wearing a bullet proof vest when he allegedly shot and killed his ex-wife, Michelle Fournier, and seven others.
Dekraai, who was in court with his ex-wife the day before the shooting, had been seeking sole custody of his 8-year-old son, a request the court denied.
Records indicate he had grown increasingly troubled in recent years. One month after his divorce in 2007, a tugboat accident killed one of his co-workers and left him permanently disabled and in chronic pain.
A psychiatrist testified that Dekraai suffered from post-traumatic stress disorder as a result of the accident, according to court documents.
That same year, he was ordered to enroll in a year-long battery intervention program after he attacked his stepfather in front of his young son.
Fournier had said her custody battle with Dekraai intensified in 2008. One of her friends says Dekraai threatened to kill Fournier on two separate occasions, once telling her he would shoot her at work.
Officials Thursday confirmed the identities of the eight victims:
• FANNIN, Randy Lee (12/11/1948)
• BUZZO, Victoria Ann (7/21/1957)
• KONDAS, Lucia Bernice (2/19/1946)
• ELODY, Laura Lee (10/01/1965)
• WILSON, Christy Lynn (6/05/1964)
• FOURNIER, Michelle Marie (3/03/1963)
• FAST, Michelle Daschbach (5/21/1964)
• CAOUETTE, David (7/14/1947)
The sole survivor, 73-year-old Hattie Stretz, is listed in critical condition at Long Beach Memorial Medical Center, but is said to be improving. Stretz’s daughter, Laura Elody, is among the deceased.
A memorial fund has been established to help both Stretz’s and the victims’ families. Visit Salon Meritage Fund for more.