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News

OC DA Expects Seal Beach Shooter to Use Insanity Defense

OC DA Rackaukas (Screenshot)
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Orange County District Attorney Tony Rackauckas expects to be up against an insanity defense in the case against the man whose shooting spree at a Seal Beach salon left eight dead this week.Rackauckas had said earlier this morning that he would be seeking the death penalty against the gunman Scott Dekraai.

At this morning's brief hearing, Robert Curtis — the attorney for Seal Beach gunman Scott Dekraai — requested a continuance because he said he needed time to assemble a defense team, according to the Los Angeles Times. He also told the judge Dekraai needs anti-psychotic medication, including trazodone and topamax.

"I think we're hearing something about the defense at this point," Rackuackas told the Los Angeles Times after the hearing. "I won't be surprised if we get an insanity plea."

Court records reveal that Dekraai has had a history of mental illness, including PTSD and bipolar disorder. A former tugboat crewman and ex-marine, Dekraai suffers from post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) due to a 2007 tugboat accident that crippled his leg and killed a fellow deckhand. Records also reveal that he physically abused his ex-wife during their relationship. Adding to the list of prior attacks, Dekraai's stepfather filed a temporary restraining order against his stepson in 2007 after Dekraai attacked him, causing cuts and bruises on his face and right arm.

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A medical team will make assess Dekraai to determine whether he needs the medication, according to Rackaukas. He said that the families of the victims are hoping that there aren't too many delays with the legal process. "They're just terribly distraught," he told the Times. "There's just all of the emotions, including anger."

That's probably an understatement.