Judge temporarily seals Dekraai report

An Orange County Superior Court judge last week temporarily sealed the grand jury transcripts of the Huntington Beach man charged in the worst mass murder in the county's history.

Scott Dekraai's defense team filed a motion to seal the report from public view, arguing that the information could prejudice the jury, especially in light of the media attention the Seal Beach shootings received.

The Orange County district attorney's office is expected to file a counter motion seeking to open the report.

Judge Thomas Goethals is scheduled to rule April 13 on whether to keep the report sealed. The judge also set that date for a pretrial.

"I'm mostly interested in what might be ... in the grand jury's report that's not already in the public domain," Goethals said.

Senior Deputy District Attorney Scott Simmons said after the hearing that the report is public information, and sealing it would hinder transparency.

Asked what information in the grand jury report that could stand in the way of a fair trial for Dekraai, Simmons said he's leaving that up to the defense to argue.

Goethals also set a tentative trial date for Oct. 15. Though he admitted that it's hard to determine at this time whether the trial will begin on that date, Goethals wanted both sides to be mindful of a time element.

Defense attorney Scott Sanders said he didn't think his team would be ready then, but agreed to the tentative date.

Dekraai is accused of walking into the Salon Meritage on Oct. 12 wearing body armor and carrying three guns. He was allegedly seeking revenge on his ex-wife, Michelle Marie Fournier, whom he fought with over custody of their son.

Dekraai is accused of fatally shooting Fournier and seven others, and injuring a ninth.

The Orange County Grand Jury on Jan. 17 indicted Dekraai on eight felony counts of special-circumstances murder and one felony count of attempted murder. He pleaded not guilty.

Orange County District Attorney Tony Rackauckas is seeking the death penalty.


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