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Accused California hair salon gunman indicted on murder charges

By Dan Whitcomb

LOS ANGELES (Reuters) - A man accused of killing eight people at a California hair salon in October while out for revenge against his ex-wife was indicted on Tuesday on first degree murder charges, Orange County prosecutors said.

Scott Evans Dekraai, 42, was indicted by an Orange County grand jury on eight counts of first degree murder and one count of attempted murder over the shooting spree, called the worst mass shooting in the history of Orange County.

Orange County District Attorney Tony Rackauckas has already said he would seek the death penalty against Dekraai, who pleaded innocent in November to a criminal complaint filed days after the shooting at Salon Meritage in the town of Seal Beach.

Prosecutors say Dekraai, a former tug boat mate, was locked in a bitter child custody battle with former wife Michelle Fournier, a stylist at Salon Meritage, and argued on the phone with her on the morning of the shooting.

He is accused of walking into the salon carrying three guns and wearing a bullet-proof vest and opening fire on his victims at close range. Killed inside were Fournier, 48, salon owner Randy Fannin, 62, and five other people.

Harriet Stretz, 73, who was in a chair having her hair styled by her daughter, Laura Lee Elody, at the time of the shooting, survived her wounds. Elody, 46, was among the dead.

After leaving the salon, prosecutors say, Dekraai shot dead 64-year-old David Caouette, who was sitting in his sport utility vehicle parked outside the salon.

Dekraai was arrested just blocks from the bloody scene in Seal Beach, a bucolic beachside community about 20 miles southeast of Los Angeles that had experienced only four homicides in the past decade.

In obtaining an indictment against Dekraai, prosecutors can proceed straight to trial without presenting evidence against him at a lengthy preliminary hearing. Dekraai's attorney could not immediately be reached for comment on the indictment.

(Reporting by Dan Whitcomb; Editing by Cynthia Johnston)

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