22 August 2017 :
Orange County judge Thomas M. Goethals barred prosecutors from seeking the death penalty against Scott Dekraai because of an extended pattern of misconduct by Orange County prosecutors and law enforcement. Citing "relentless non-compliance" with court orders and "chronic obstructionism" by a prosecution team it says "has effectively compromised" Dekraai's rights to due process and a fair penalty trial, judge Goethals barred prosecutors from pursuing the death penalty in the worst mass killing in Orange County history. Family members in the courtroom expressed anger at county prosecutors. Butch Fournier, whose sister Michelle, Dekraai’s ex-wife, was one of the eight victims, said, "It’s been six years for nothing. ... They caused us pain and suffering that was unnecessary. It was a cut-and-dry case." The Orange County District Attorney's office was named in a July 2017 report by Harvard University's Fair Punishment Project as one of the prosecuting offices cited for repeated prosecutorial misconduct. The mass shooting occurred on October 12, 2011, at the Salon Meritage hair salon in Seal Beach. Eight people inside the salon and one person in the parking lot were shot, and only one victim survived. Scott Evans Dekraai, who was involved in a custody dispute with his ex-wife who was one of the victims, pleaded guilty to the shooting on May 2, 2014.