SANTA ANA, Calif. – Today is an important day for the people of Orange County, as mass murderer Scott Dekraai has been sentenced to life in prison without the possibility of parole.
The Orange County District Attorney's Office (OCDA) secured the conviction for eight counts of first degree premeditated murder, and one count of attempted murder — plus the special circumstance of multiple murders, which made the defendant eligible for the death penalty. The OCDA fought for the death penalty because it is hard to fathom how anyone who has heard Dekraai's chilling recorded confession immediately following his arrest would think that this evil person should get anything less than the death penalty. The California Attorney General's Office independently examined the evidence and supported the OCDA's decision. The OCDA disagrees with Judge Goethals' decision to remove the possibility of the death penalty for the man who will go down as the largest mass murderer in Orange County history.
The OCDA believes the defendant's crimes were so wicked as to deserve the ultimate penalty. The aggravating circumstances in this case include the following:
- The defendant killed eight people, and wounded a ninth, in execution-style fashion from close range.
- The victims were unarmed, particularly vulnerable, and posed no threat to the defendant when he shot them.
- The manner in which the crimes were committed disclose that the defendant acted with a high degree of cruelty, viciousness, and callousness.
- The defendant was remorseless while committing the crimes and remained so after being arrested.
It is a somber day for the people of Orange County as we remember, once again, all that was taken from us by the defendant. Our community lost eight good, decent, and hardworking people with the loss of Victoria Buzzo, David Caouette, Laura Webb Elody, Randy Fannin, Michele Fast, Michelle Fournier, Lucia Kondas, and Christy Wilson. Dekraai's ninth victim, Hattie Stretz, was critically injured but thankfully survived, but her life will no doubt forever be affected by the horrors she witnessed on Wednesday, Oct. 12, 2011. We grieve with their loved ones, and our hearts go out to them. Their families have been profoundly affected by the defendant.
Additionally, we know that there were many others in addition to the nine victims who were directly victimized by the defendant. Their deep losses and their profound struggles are direct result of the defendant's heinous crimes.
We are hopeful that all who have been violated by the defendant's cruel and despicable crimes may find healing and peace, and also may find some measure of relief in the knowledge that the man who callously cut short the lives of their loved ones will inevitably die in prison.
Orange County District Attorney / Case # 12ZF0128 / September 22, 2017