Superior Court Judge Thomas M. Goethals ruled yesterday that Orange County, California prosecutors’ misconduct violated 47-year-old Scott Dekraai’s rights to a fair trial. As a result of his determination, Judge Goethals spared Dekraai from facing the death penalty as a possible sentence. In 2011, Dekraai went on a shooting rampage at the Salon Meritage in Seal Beach, CA, and killed eight people and wounded one person. He pleaded guilty in 2014.

Dekraai was approximately one half-mile from the scene of the mass shooting when he was arrested. He had ammunition and weapons in his vehicle. Based on court documents and the Orange County register, he told police, “I know what I did.” He soon admitted that he committed the crime.

One sentence open for mass killing is life behind bars

The judge’s ruling means that there is only one possible sentence for the self-admitted killer. He will be sentenced to a lifetime of imprisonment.

It is rare, KCRA reported, that prosecutors are barred from asking for a death sentence. The problem evolved from authorities in Orange County relying on informants and disregarding Goethals’ orders to present documents related to the informants.

Goethals noted that allowing law enforcement authorities to continually shrug off compliance, particularly in respect to the magnitude of the case against Dekraai, “would dangerously undermine” the integrity of the justice system – in addition to the public’s respect for the same system, according to KCRA. The judge said Dekraai would probably be on death row at San Quentin State Prison if the district attorney’s office had handled the case “within fundamental parameters of prosecutorial propriety.”

California attorney general took over case of killer

In 2015, the California Attorney General’s Office took over the prosecution of Dekraai after the judge removed the case from prosecutors in Orange County, where prosecutors were accused of using jailhouse informants improperly to wrangle a confession from Dekraai.

Top Videos of the Day

Tony Rackauckas, District Attorney of Orange County, conveyed disappointment about the judge’s 19-page ruling. He referenced information that the judge ordered sheriff’s department to produce about informants as “tangential,” Reuters wrote. He said the failure to provide the information “in a timely manner” had no relevance to Dekraai’s crime. Rackauckas said, “Dekraai deserves the death penalty.”

Scott Sanders is Dekraai’s attorney. Sanders noticed that the same informant who got Dekraai to talk also “chatted up” another one of his clients, FOX News reported. Sanders started asking questions. The judge discerned that sheriff’s authorities either misrepresented or totally withheld information directly related to informants. That is when the judge pulled the case involving Dekraai from Orange County prosecutors.

After Goethals ordered the sheriff’s authorities to turn over records from the jailhouse, the authorities took a piecemeal approach in releasing the information that was requested.

Whether the state’s attorney general will appeal the judge’s ruling hasn’t been determined, according to California's Deputy Attorney General Michael Murphy.

Victim’s sister wants killer to fade into ‘hell’

Bethany Webb’s sister was killed in the shooting rampage carried out by Dekraai. She reportedly told the Los Angeles Times capital punishment would have been a “drug-induced easy out,” for Dekraai. She is hoping that Goethals’ ruling will mean her sister’s killer will fade “quietly into the hell he deserves.”

Before Dekraai committed the worst mass shooting in the history of Orange County, he was embroiled in a custody dispute with Michelle Fournier, his ex-wife. She was killed along with seven more people.