Man Accused in Seal Beach Salon Massacre Pleads Not Guilty

A legal move Tuesday allows prosecutors to avoid a preliminary hearing in the Seal Beach mass shooting case

The man charged in the largest mass shooting in Orange County history pleaded not guilty Wednesday to eight counts of murder a day after a grand jury indictment was handed down in an attempt to speed the legal process.

Seal Beach Massacre: Full Coverage

The indictment against Scott Evans Dekraai allows prosecutors to avoid a preliminary hearing.

"The defense indicated they wouldn't be ready for a preliminary hearing until the fall, and we didn't want to wait that long,'' said Deputy District Attorney Dan Wagner.

A pre-trial hearing was scheduled for Jan. 27.

The 42-year-old Huntington Beach man is accused of opening fire in a Seal Beach salon Oct. 12 and killing eight people, including his ex-wife. Also killed in the shooting were the salon's owner, Randy Lee Fannin,  62; Victoria Ann Buzzo, 54; Lucia Bernice Kondas, 65; Laura Lee Elody, 46;  Christy Lynn Wilson, 47; Michele Daschbach Fast, 47, and David Caouette, 64.

Hattie Stretz, 73, was also shot, but survived.

Dekraai was taken into custody a few blocks from the salon. He has been held without bail.

Dekraai was indicted on eight counts of murder with a special  circumstance allegation of multiple murders. He was also indicted on attempted murder.

He pleaded not guilty in November at an earlier arraignment after initial charges were filed.

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