Secret jail tapes of Seal Beach murder suspect must be handed over
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An Orange County Superior Court judge ruled Friday that a jailhouse informant’s recordings that captured the Seal Beach salon shooting suspect talking about the October 2011 mass slaying must be turned over to the defense.
Prosecutors had said that the defense was not entitled to the recordings, made shortly after Scott Dekraai, 42, was taken into custody on suspicion of killing eight people in a mid-day 2011 shooting rampage at a hair salon.
About 132 hours of secretly recorded tapes were captured between Dekraai and the informant, according to court documents.
Defense attorney Scott Sanders argued that the recordings could compromise Dekraai’s right to a fair trial, especially if the informant -- referred to only as ‘Fernando P.’ in court documents -- deliberately elicited his client’s statements.
Prosecutors contend that Dekraai made the statements without any prompting.
On Friday, Assistant Deputy Dist. Atty. Dan Wagner said that some of the most ‘inflammatory’ evidence from those conversations was due to Dekraai telling the informant statements such as ‘I wrecked my life.’
Wagner said Dekraai babbled ‘on and on’ to the informant.
After Judge Thomas M. Goethals ruled that prosecutors need to turn over the evidence and the information they have compiled about the informant, Wagner said he would not comment specifically on what’s in the recordings.
He did say that the prosecution would like the jury to hear ‘everything the defendant said.’
‘Generally, I think it shows his mind-set about the crime,’ Wagner said. A jury trial is set for March 25.
-- Nicole Santa Cruz