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Alleged Salon Shooter's Mom Fights For Custody of His Son

Scott Dekraai's mother makes a surprise bid for custody of his young son, whose mother was killed in the Salon Meritage shooting. Dekraai responds to questions about his finances.

The 8-year-old boy at the center of the custody battle behind the Salon Meritage Massacre may yet again find himself torn between his mother and father’s families.

After Scott Evans Dekraai allegedly killed his ex-wife Michelle Fournier and seven others at the Meritage Salon in October, Fournier’s daughter, Chelsea Huff, took temporary custody of her half-brother. Huff has since petitioned the court for permanent guardianship, and the case was proceeding smoothly until last week when Dekraai’s mother, Michelle S. Hinmon, filed an objection. She followed that Monday with her own petition for custody of the child.

Last week’s custody hearing was continued to give the court time to consider Hinmon’s petition for guardianship of the little boy.

Huff, her father and fellow guardian Joseph Burke, and Hinmon would all have to undergo interviews and background checks before custody can be granted, said Eric Traut, a civil attorney representing Fournier’s family in a wrongful death suit against DeKraai.

With the next hearing in the civil case set for next week, Traut was taken by surprise when he received responses to a legal questionnaire he sent to Dekraai in his jail cell.

“It was kind of weird,” Traut said, as it’s not uncommon for defendants such as Dekraai to simply ignore such requests for information.

“I wanted to see what assets he has,’” the lawyer said. "I also asked some leading questions like, ‘What did you do in the hours before you massacred those people?'"

Traut also asked Dekraai why he committed the murders. To such leading questions, Dekraai wrote that he would exercise his Fifth Amendment right not to incriminate himself. However, he did admit to receiving $1,760 a month in disability payments from a workplace injury.

Traut found some of Dekraai’s notes “chilling.”

He scribbled a Christian cross above Traut's name, and spelled Traut’s name as Trout and inserted the phrase “non-natural grandparent” to describe his son’s maternal grandparent, who was not Fournier’s biological parent.

“He was making a dig at the grandparent and making fun of my name,” Traut said. “I think with him, it’s a control issue.”

Dekraai faces the death penalty if convicted of killing eight people in the deadliest mass murder in Orange County history. According to prosecutors, he walked into the Seal Beach salon where his ex-wife worked and shot her and eight other people after losing a bid to gain full custody of their son. His criminal trial is set for Oct. 15.

Robert Aguilar Jr March 01, 2012 at 03:11 PM
What an unbelievable story. So much speculation can be made as to why the "non-natural" grandmother would step forward now, but the last thing this boy needs is more change and more drama. Huff obviously cares for her brother and he should remain with someone who can share the memory of their Mother with him.
Liz Ccrowley March 01, 2012 at 03:43 PM
I agreed with Robert.
enea ostrich March 01, 2012 at 06:13 PM
Change is bad under death circumstances for any kid, much lessthis precious boy. Why a grandparent who obviously is distraught would want to change her life around to raise yet one more kid is beyond me. If its for her own consciousness, she has the prerogtive to do that, but if its to correct the press, she needs to really delve into the heart of her grandson. Where does he want to be. If i had a grandkid, thats what i would want for them.
met00 March 01, 2012 at 07:11 PM
Scott Dekraai's mother did such a fine job raising her first son, that she wants to continue her phenomenal child rearing with the next generation. I think her failure to provide her first son with that critical thinking abilities to know that it wasn't the right thing to do, to go in and slaughter a bunch of people, clearly shows that she isn't the proper person to be allowed to raise a second child to follow in the footsteps of his father (whom she raised so well the first time). Case closed.
pam March 01, 2012 at 09:02 PM
Enough is enough. Let Michelle's son be cared for by his loving sister and not be subjected to yet another life-altering episode. Instead of fighting over custody, the paternal grandmother should be thinking of the best interest of the child and not want him to endure any further anguish by uprooting him once again. Chelsea should be commended for stepping up - not all young women would have the character to do that. Something to be said for how she was raised :)
Jordan March 01, 2012 at 09:49 PM
Chelsea's is amazing and deserves to raise dom. It's the right thing to do
Renee Hudson March 01, 2012 at 09:57 PM
I am MIchelle Fourniers sister and please let me clarify our dad is and has been our dad since we were all very young. There is no need to drag my sweet innocent nephew threw anymore than he has already experienced. This is just Scotts way of trying to have control like he always did to my sister!!
Adam Townsend March 01, 2012 at 11:35 PM
kristin Jonker, please do not use profanity in these message boards.
Burke Fournier March 02, 2012 at 12:32 AM
scotts mom can't even take care her self let alone my amazing cousin. He is staying with our family. Bring the fight. There's more of us then them! And joseph burke is our grandpa just to clear that up
J Supports March 02, 2012 at 12:38 AM
The non-natural grandmother he is referring to is his deceased wife's mother (maybe adoptive or step), who is attempting to gain custody along with the sister of the boy. Dekraai's mother is the child's paternal grandmother. "inserted the phrase 'non-natural grandparent' to describe his son’s maternal grandparent, who was not Fournier’s biological parent."
shari kidwell March 02, 2012 at 02:33 AM
Unbelievable! If this woman truly had this little boys best interest at heart she would not be doing this, especially seeing how well adjusted and happy he has been with the Huff family. The Huff's have gone above and beyond to make sure this precious child has received stability, love, happiness, and what ever professional intervention he may need. It seems as if this monster is still trying to control the situation from his cell. He and his mother need to realize that "it takes a village to raise a child" and this child has a village behind him and the Huff family. In regards to the monsters comment about biological fathers: Just because you father a child doesnt make you a father! Look in the mirror at yourself! Guess when you blew your child's mother and coworkers away and left him with NO parent you had his best interest at heart.
Nancy Wride (Editor) March 02, 2012 at 03:50 AM
I would imagine Dominic will be given a voice, possibly through court-assigned representative, in the matter of where he wants to be. I wouldn't think the court would put him through more grief.
Jode A Mayer March 02, 2012 at 04:14 AM
Scott and his ill equipped Mother need to just STOP and leave the family ALONE! WTF is wrong with people anyway? Haven't you caused enough pain??? Ughhh it is utterly disgusting!
adrianne huff March 02, 2012 at 05:25 AM
The Fournier/Burke Family is the most amazing family! I'm not their family, I'm Chad and Chelsea's Step Mom and from day 1 the family has been comforting, supportive, and healing for their grandchildren, Chad, Chelsea and Dominic! Michelle was a mother of three children who morn her loss. Chad and Chelsea and Michelle's parents "Geri and Joe"" will take care of Dominic and protect him!!! I see the love that has brought us all together and we will fight for all 3 children and nothing will tear them apart NOTHING!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Jenee Stavrous March 02, 2012 at 07:51 PM
This World is not right, a Murderer with Rights He abused my cousin while being free and now he is abusing our family from jail cell how can this be?? We need to silence him. The victims families of this tradegy can not take anymmore I have written to the governor of california and will continue to write to him and I am also in the process of writting to the president. This is a Black and White case no gray areas. The title of this article reads "ALLEGED" NOT SO he is the shooter. I agree with my cousin burke there are more of us and WE WILL WIN JOE BURKE IS GRANDPA !!!!!! THE ONE AND ONLY
Jenee Stavrous March 02, 2012 at 08:20 PM
J SUPPORTS THE FACTS HERE HIS maternal grandmother and his grandfather and his sister chelsea are going for custody Leave it at that
David March 02, 2012 at 08:52 PM
Why isn't this animal dead yet? Beyond a reasonable doubt? WHAT DOUBT? So perhaps he's insane, SO WHAT!! Are we supposed to rehabilitate him, so he's a more responsible convict? Leave the child where he is, with loving relatives who care for him, and will continue to do so. The child is going to have a traumatized enough life, once he fully realizes that half his dna came from a Monster. I'm all for democracy, I'm all for innocent until proven guilty, beyond a reasonable doubt. I'm all for a jury of his peers. But let's just be realistic here. Why do so many resources need to be wasted on this vermin scum. I don't feel like this killer's family deserves anything beyond contempt. It reminds me of Josh Powell's sister trying to bury him next to the 2 children he blew up in a house fire. People like this need their own burial place, and their own spot in hell as well.
Pauline Michael March 03, 2012 at 04:13 AM
I can't imagine this child being put into the care of the women whose son is in jail for killing this young boy's Mom..Do they think he would then be able to visit his father in Jail?? Yeah..Right..Is that man thinking of this child's well being??I think not...He wasn't thinking of his well being when he shot his Mom and all the others. and as far as control, the only thing he seems to be controlling is his Mom and shame on her for trying to take this boy from the only family stability and Love he knows and put him into the same kind of environment that Scott was raised in...?? God Bless the Burke/Fournier Family..
Ellen March 22, 2012 at 11:49 PM
My heart goes out to all those affected by this horrible tragedy. It sounds to me like Scott, even though he is in jail and will eventually go to prison or even the death penalty, is trying to still control and hurt his ex-wifes family any way he can. I am sure he told his mother to do this just to try to push the knife in a little deeper. I think there needs to be a new law called either Dominicks law or his mother Michelle's law that prevents the parents or immediate family members from being able to adopt children who's parents were killed in situations like this. Domestic violence is just horrible but when there is someone that feels the need to kill the person who is a mother of several children, one being his own then, then the family of the surviving parent just needs to butt out. This is just rubbing salt in the wound and is this case were there were innocent people also killed this is just down right sadistic on his part. Fight on Burk and Fournier Family's and if you get a petition going for this law I would like to be a signer on it even if I don't live in California. You and the victims families are in my prayers.

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