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Seal Beach shooting: D.A. expects an insanity defense

October 14, 2011 |  3:01 pm

Photo: Scott Dekraai makes his first appearance in Orange County Superior Court for the murder rampage at the Meritage Salon in Seal Beach. Credit: Mark Boster / Los Angeles Times
Orange County District Attorney Tony Rackauckas said he expects the defense team to argue that the alleged gunman in the Seal Beach shooting rampage is insane.

"I think we're hearing something about the defense at this point," Rackuackas said shortly after Scott Dekraai's arraignment was postponed. "I won't be surprised if we get an insanity plea."

Dekraai faces the death penalty if convicted on eight counts of murder and one count of attempted murder. Authorities say that, in an act of revenge, he opened fire at Salon Meritage, killing his ex-wife, Michele Fournier, and seven other people. The two had been embroiled in a years-long custody dispute over their 8-year-old son.

Seal Beach salon shooting: The victims

At the brief hearing, Dekraai's family law attorney, Robert Curtis, requested a continuance because they need time to assemble a defense team.

Curtis also told the judge that Dekraai needs his anti-psychotic medication, specifically trazodone and topamax.

Dekraai's doctor has diagnosed him with post-traumatic stress disorder stemming from a tugboat accident in 2007, in which a fellow deckhand was killed and he suffered a serious leg injury, according to court records. Fournier also accused him of being bipolar.

Rackauckas said a medical team will evaluate Dekraai to determine whether he needs the medication.

He said family members were upset, in part, because they were unhappy with the continuance and want the proceedings to "go quickly."

"They're just terribly distraught," he said. "There's just all of the emotions, including anger."

RELATED:

Suspect suffered PTSD from boat injury

Victim predicted ex-husband would kill her

Full coverage: Deadly Seal Beach shooting

-- Nicole Santa Cruz at Orange County Superior Court

Photo: Scott Dekraai makes his first appearance in Orange County Superior Court for the mass shooting  at the Meritage Salon in Seal Beach. Credit: Mark Boster / Los Angeles Times

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