SANTA ANA (CBSLA.com) — Accused Seal Beach massacre gunman Scott Dekraai was in court Friday for a pre-trial hearing.
CBS2 and KCAL9 reporter Michele Gile was in the court room.
Earlier this week, she said Dekraai’s attorney offered a plea deal for his client: Life in prison, no chance for parole and no death penalty.
That deal was rejected by the district attorney, according to family and friends of the massacre suspect’s victims.
Paul Wilson, whose wife Christy, was one of the victims said the district attorney briefed them and said, “If any case ever deserved the death penalty in Orange County, this was it.”
Said Wilson, “This coward is afraid to die. That’s why he wore body armor when he went in and did this. He’s a coward. He has that fear. The death penalty looms in his mind. He fears it every day.”
At a status conference held today, the judge discussed a possible change in the Dekraai case, if California voters approve Prop. 34 which would strike down the death penalty.
The district attorney says that will dramatically alter this case if that happens. Said Senior District Attorney Scott Simmons, “We’d be limited [to life without parole.] We wouldn’t be able to pursue death if it’s taken off the table.”
Bethany Webb lost her sister Lauren in the massacre. Their mother, Hatti Stretz, was critically wounded. But Webb says she is pro Prop. 34 all the way.
“I’m absolutely ‘Yes’ on Prop. 34. And it’s not because I want to be kind to this gentlemen. This is not about forgiveness. This is not about doing anything nice for him … this is to get him out of the cushy cell he’s in. I want him in a place where he feels the fear that the eight families relatives felt that day and my mom felt that day.”
Chelsea Huff, whose mother Michelle Fournier, was allegedly killed by Dekraai, her ex-husband, backs the district attorney’s decision to seek the death penalty. “It would nice if this was all over,” said Huff, “but at the same time, I really think we need to have some justice.”