SEAL BEACH (CBSLA.com) — The lone survivor and many family members of those killed in the 2011 Salon Meritage massacre in Seal Beach — the worst mass shooting in Orange County’s history — said Saturday they are fed up with delays in the case.
Eight people were killed in the attack. Scott Dekraai went after his ex-wife who he was battling for custody of their son.
CBS2’s Laurie Perez reports that some of the victims’ loved ones are urging the state attorney general to take the death penalty phase of the case off the table and let Dekraai stay behind bars for the rest of his life.
“Of those who were shot, I am the sole survivor,” Hattie Stretz said to reporters Saturday.
Time may heal all wounds, but not for Stretz. It hasn’t been long enough.
Dekraai shot everyone in the salon and one person in the parking lot. Only Stretz survived.
Her daughter was among the dead. On Saturday, Stretz said the only thing as elusive as recovery has been justice. She was not alone in that sentiment.
“The DA’s office cheated us of our loved one’s dignity and peace. We are exhausted by this continuous pain and this has got to be over with,” said Paul Wilson.
An appellate court recently upheld removing the Orange County D.A.’s office from the case after there were accusations of mismanagement. The penalty phase was turned over o the state attorney general.
This all means more possible appeals and, if the attorney general were to seek the death penalty, likely even more delays.
Some of the victims family’s said enough is enough. They asked for the state to accept Dekraai’s offer to serve life in prison without the possibility of parole.
“Everybody’s angry, they’re hurt and it needs to end,” said Doug Childers.
Of course, not all the victims’ families agree on how it should end. Some still want the death penalty, making it clear that heartache continues unabated for many devastated by his rage.
“Believe me we want this over. But also he gets his way one more time,” said Butch Fournier,
“Yeah, he doesn’t want the death penalty,” said Chelsea Huff.
“We voted, the state [voted] to keep the death penalty and to reform it, let’s do that,” said Fournier.