Scott Dekraai, who admitted to opening fire in a Seal Beach salon, killing eight people in 2011, will be eligible for the death penalty despite prosecutors’ “negligence” in the case, an Orange County judge ruled Monday.
Judge Thomas Goethals had harsh words for law enforcement and the Orange County District Attorney’s Office in a ruling on possible prosecutor misconduct during Dekraai’s trial.
Witnesses lied and lacked credibility, including police and prosecutors, the judge found.
“Some perhaps suffered from a failure of recollection. Others undoubtedly lied,” Goethals wrote.
Dekraai’s lawyers had been trying to get the death penalty taken off the table and have prosecutors removed from the case, but that effort was unsuccessful.
The DA’s office’s “failures” were “negligent rather than malicious,” Goethals wrote.
Testimony from a jailhouse informant will be thrown out, the judge ruled.
Dekraai pleaded guilty in May to eight counts of murder in the shooting at Salon Meritage; he was awaiting sentencing.
Chip Yost reports from Santa Ana for KTLA 5 News at 1 on Aug. 4, 2014.