SANTA ANA, Calif. (CN) — A state judge will decide next week whether the worst mass murderer in the history of Orange County, California must face the death penalty or can avoid it because of misconduct by the sheriff.
Scott DeKraai murdered his ex-wife and seven others at a Seal Beach hair salon in October 2011. He confessed almost immediately and pleaded guilty to murder in May 2014.
For the past three months, Orange County Superior Court Judge Thomas Goethals has been considering whether he should bar the death penalty in the case because the sheriff’s department violated DeKraai’s rights by intentionally and repeatedly hiding information about a secret program to use jailhouse informants against criminal defendants — including DeKraai.
The lead defense attorney, Assistant Public Defender Scott Sanders, argued Thursday that the sheriff’s department violated his client’s rights. “Removal of the death penalty is a