Prosecutors will continue to pursue the death penalty against a man accused in Orange County’s worst mass shooting, despite pleas from some relatives of victims who want prosecutors to shelve the death penalty to hasten justice.
Some relatives of the six women and two men fatally shot at a Seal Beach salon two years ago have told Orange County District Attorney Tony Rackauckas they'd rather see suspect Scott Dekraai plead guilty to multiple counts of murder and be sentenced to life without parole.
They don't want to spend months or years going to trial to seek a death sentence that may never be imposed.
"It's devastating to my family," said Paul Wilson, whose wife Christy Wilson, was one of those killed.
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He talked about having to go through another year of waiting as prosecutors prepare for a death penalty case.
"The thought that we would have three years to start the healing process and learn how to adjust without Christy in our lives and being taken back into it?" he said.
While no trial date has been set yet, the OC District Attorney's Office said it is ready to go to trial and that the death penalty is the only way justice will be served.
"Some of the victims' families did come to us, asking us to re-evaluate and we heard from them," said Susan Kang Schroeder, chief of staff for the DA's office. "We respect everything they have to say, but we believe the only penalty that would even come to being justice on a case like this would be the death penalty. There's just no other penalty that could come close."
Wilson does not believe that should be the DA's decision to make.
"The weight it's going to have on me, weight it's going to have on my children," Wilson said. "I get texts out of the blue, you know, 'I miss mommy.' It's tough on them. There's no way to escape it for them and do they really deserve that?"
Dekraai is accused of opening fire at Salon Meritage on Oct. 12, 2011 where his estranged wife worked and then going outside and shooting the driver of an SUV in the head through the closed front passenger side window.
Eight people, including Dekraai's ex-wife, were killed in the shooting. One person survived.
Dekraai was arrested near the salon when he was pulled over by police.
It was the largest mass-murder in Orange County history, the District Attorney said.
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