Death penalty sought in Seal Beach massacre

People killed during a shooting at a salon at Seal Beach, Calif., Oct. 12, 2011, are seen in this picture array. On the top row, from left: Michelle Fournier, Michelle Fast, David Caouette and Christy Lynn Wilson. On the bottom row, from left: Laura Lee Elody, Lucia Bernice Kondas, Victoria Ann Buzzo and Randy Lee Fannin.

Updated 10:27 PM EST

SANTA ANA, Calif. - Prosecutors will seek the death penalty for the man they called a "methodical and merciless killer" who stormed through a salon and killed eight people.

Orange County District Attorney Tony Rackauckas said Friday that Scott Dekraai has been charged with eight counts of murder and one count of attempted murder.

Rackauckas choked up several times during an emotional news conference while saying the rampage was triggered by a long-running custody dispute that Dekraai had with his ex-wife, Michelle Fournier. She was one of the people fatally wounded.

"In a selfish, cruel act of senseless violence, eight innocent people were murdered," Rackauckas said.

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He said Dekraai, 41, arrived at Salon Meritage in downtown Seal Beach on Wednesday carrying three weapons and dressed in body armor. At one point he stopped to reload before he continued killing people.

"For almost two minutes Dekraai shot victim after victim, executing people by shooting them in the head and chest," the district attorney said.

Rackauckas said the bloodbath was triggered by Dekraai's desire for revenge against his ex-wife, who he believed was interfering in the raising of their 8-year-old son.

"That little boy's a victim," the prosecutor said. "Now his mother has been murdered, and he has to grow up knowing that his dad is a mass-murderer. So what kind of sick, twisted fatherly love might that be?"

Dekraai appeared briefly in court Friday afternoon, where angry friends and relatives of the victims screamed insults. One person shouted, "I hate you."

Superior Court Judge Erick L. Larsh ordered a medical review after Dekraai's attorney said his client wasn't getting his needed antipsychotic medication while he is held in jail without bail. Attorney Robert Curtis also said he would likely request that the trial be moved out of the area.

Fournier had recently told friends and family and said in court documents that she feared for her safety as Dekraai became more and more unbalanced.