SEAL BEACH, CA — A small group of survivors gathered outside the Orange County District Attorney’s Office, Wednesday, to call for sitting DA Todd Spitzer’s resignation. The group focused on a video where Spitzer lauded praise at two former prosecutors upon their retirement — prosecutors who lost the death penalty in the case against Scott Dekraai, Orange County’s biggest mass murderer.
As his wife, Christy Wilson’s killer sits in prison serving life without parole, widower Paul Wilson aims to hold the Orange County department of justice accountable. First, he aligned support away from former DA Tony Rackauckas to Todd Spitzer. Now, in calling the sitting OCDA to count for not adhering to his word.
“We want Todd Spitzer to be held accountable,” Wilson said at the rally. “He’s a liar and a cheat and used me and betrayed me, and I won’t allow it.”
During the trial against Orange County’s most infamous mass murderer, Dekraai pleaded guilty to targeting and killing his ex-wife and seven others at a Seal Beach hair salon. Dekraai was on track for the death penalty until his attorney raised questions about the use of a “jailhouse snitch,” leading to a scandal that upended the case and ended up with Dekraai’s life spared, sentenced instead to life in prison without parole.
In the video, called to attention by the group, Spitzer was called to the stage to make comments on behalf of prosecutors Scott Simmons and Dan Wagner, who failed to secure the death penalty for Dekraai.
“We can’t explain Mr. Wilson’s behavior, or why he’s become best friends with the attorney who defended his wife’s killer,” OCDA spokeswoman Kimberly Edds wrote in a statement Wednesday.
Both Scott Sanders and Wilson have worked together to combat what they see as injustice for victims, Voice of OC has reported.
“The prosecutors in Orange County’s worst mass murder committed prosecutorial misconduct and prevented the victims’ families from having the killer sentenced to death. Mr. Wilson has every right to be upset about that,” Edds says. “But that frustration has morphed into an unrelenting scorched earth campaign against the Orange County District Attorney’s Office. It demands to fire people who have already left the office or were never even involved in that prosecution. That is completely unreasonable.”
Wilson has been spoken out against Tony Rackauckas, the former OCDA, and is now speaking out against Spitzer, a man he helped campaign to put into office. Wednesday, he focused on a video that surfaced of Spitzer speaking positively of Simmons and Wagner.
During the event, Spitzer discussed the fallout of the “snitch scandal,”saying: “I vowed that never again in the OCDA would any law enforcement agency fail to disclose information of evidence, and put that on the shoulders of prosecutors,” he said during the event. “That will never happen again.”
At the time of that retirement party, a special report on the Dekraai prosecution was underway.
Patrick Dixon worked as special counsel in the report, along with Steve Danley, formerly performance auditor for Orange County, where they determined the failings of the Dekraai prosecution.
Spitzer said his attendance at the party was “work related” and showed “the independence of the report. The fact that I was there and didn’t boycott it proves the point that the report was independent.”
During the retirement party Spitzer said that Rackauckas’ office did not do enough to defend the prosecutors.
Later, in hindsight, Spitzer says there is a “whole different picture” of the prosecution in that case.
The final report concluded that Wagner and Simmons were “so fearful Dekraai would try a defense of insanity and avoid the death penalty that they improperly used a confidential informant to gain the incriminating comments.”
According to Spitzer’s office, an underlying suspected agenda behind Wilson’s rally is to help align Sanders in a position to run for Orange County District Attorney in 2022 or in the event that Spitzer would resign as Wilson suggests.
That partnership is “deeply troubling,” according to Edds.
Wilson contends that this is not the case.
He told Voice of OC that “never once have I said I am campaigning for Scott Sanders to run for DA.”
Still, in calling for Spitzer’s resignation, he did not mention who he would want to replace him. (Patch has reached out to him in answer to this statement, and will update when a response is given).
Edds discussed how hindsight allowed the DA’s office to see further the misconduct engaged in by the Dekraai prosecution team.
“(They) subjected the victims’ families to unnecessary trauma,” Edds wrote. “It is a travesty that Mr. Wilson, who has suffered unimaginable loss at the hands of a criminal, is now campaigning on behalf of an assistant public defender who wants nothing more than to run for District Attorney so that he can throw the jail doors open and release criminals back into the streets without being held accountable.”
She added, “It is deeply troubling that someone who has been victimized is now standing shoulder to shoulder with social justice reformers who want to defund the police and allow criminals to continue to commit crimes and victimize innocent people.”