Tony Rackauckas, District Attorney
401 Civic Center Drive West
Santa Ana, CA 92701
For Immediate Release
Susan Kang Schroeder
DISTRICT ATTORNEY TO SEEK DEATH PENALTY AGAINST SEAL BEACH SALON SHOOTER FOR LARGEST MASS MURDER IN ORANGE COUNTY HISTORY
SANTA ANA – The Orange County District Attorney announced today that he will seek the death penalty against a man charged with committing the largest mass-murder in Orange County history. The Seal Beach Police Department (SBPD) investigated this case.
Scott Evans Dekraai, 41, Huntington Beach, is charged with eight felony counts of special circumstances murder for committing multiple murders and one felony count of attempted murder. He is being held without bail and is scheduled to appear in court for a continued arraignment, Nov. 29, 2011, at 8:30 a.m. in Department C-55, Central Justice Center, Santa Ana.
“There are some crimes that are so depraved, so callous, so malignant, that there is only one punishment that will fit the crime. When a person, in a case such as this, goes on a rampage and kills innocent people in an indiscriminate bloody massacre, I will seek the death penalty,” said Orange County District Attorney Tony Rackauckas. “The circumstances of this case are so terrible and incomprehensible that the aggravating factors overwhelm any possible mitigation.”
“The murders that occurred on October 12 are by far the most horrific tragedy in our city’s history. This incident will forever impact the lives of so many of us, who live, work and visit our great community,” said Seal Beach Acting Chief of Police Tim Olson. “I am proud of the swift and effective action of the men and women of the Seal Beach Police Department as well as the assistance we received from so many of our law enforcement partners, for which we are grateful.”
Death Penalty Decision
In the majority of special circumstances murder cases, the District Attorney convenes a special circumstances committee consisting of the District Attorney, the Senior Assistant and Assistant District Attorney in charge of the Homicide Unit, and other prosecutors experienced in capital cases after an indictment or preliminary hearing. The committee discusses the defendant’s record, the nature of the crime, and the vulnerability of the victim, among other factors. The committee also considers mitigating circumstances from the defense attorney. The final decision to pursue the death penalty rests on the District Attorney.
In certain extreme cases, such as mass murders, the District Attorney may decide to seek the death penalty without the necessity of a special circumstances committee. The aggravating circumstances in these cases far outweigh any possible mitigating circumstances.