Judge orders release of grand jury testimony

An Orange County judge on Friday ordered the release of portions of grand jury testimony in the case against a former tugboat crewman accused of fatally shooting eight people in a two-minute burst of violence last October at a Seal Beach hair salon.

Superior Court Judge Thomas M. Goethals told attorneys for accused killer Scott Dekraai, a Huntington Beach resident, that releasing some of the grand jury testimony wouldn't "deny your client a fair trial."

Portions of the transcript, however, will remain sealed when the testimony is released next month, Goethals ordered. He described that material, which will be reviewed by prosecutors and defense attorneys in the coming days, as being highly sensitive.

"Especially since he's the only living parent of a very young son," the judge added.

Dekraai, 42, is charged with eight counts of first-degree murder with special circumstances and a single count of attempted murder in the October shooting at the Salon Meritage. Prosecutors said they will seek the death penalty.

Among those killed was his ex-wife, Michelle Fournier. Authorities say that Dekraai — armed with three guns, extra ammunition and wearing a bulletproof vest — walked into the salon and shot customers and employees alike.

As he walked out of the salon, authorities say Dekraai randomly shot and killed a man sitting in his Range Rover in the shopping center parking lot.

Dekraai, who has pleaded not guilty, had been involved in a bitter custody dispute with his ex-wife over their 8-year-old son.

In an interview after his arrest, Dekraai told investigators that he first drove to Bolsa Chica State Beach near his home in Huntington Beach, sat on the sand and "pondered shooting" his ex-wife. He also told police, "I know what I did," according to the statements.

—Nicole Santa Cruz and Steve Marble, Los Angeles Times

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