Walter Lawrence Dalie Returns to OC as Suspect in 1978 Murder of Laguna Beach Architect Brent Tobey
A Connecticut man has left that storm-battered part of the country and is expected in sunny Orange County on Labor Day. But 52-year-old Walter Lawrence Dalie didn't pack sunscreen, boardshorts and a Grisham novel. He's moving from a state prison cell to OC Jail lockup.
Extradited first by the U.S. Marshals Service to the San Bernardino County Central Detention Center, Daile is scheduled to arrive here Monday after being linked through DNA evidence to the 1978 cold case stabbing-murder of a Laguna Beach architect.
On Nov. 20, 1978, someone burst into 55-year-old Brent S. Tobey's home on Carmelita Street in Laguna Beach, stabbed him 17 times in the back of the head with a knife and fled.
Later that evening, Tobey's roommate, the now deceased Roger Hylback, came by as they had planned to go out for dinner to celebrate a jury convicting the murderer of their friend Albert Willard. Hylback and Tobey were going to dinner with Willard when they found his body in his Temple Hills home. Now Hylback had found Tobey's body in his bedroom--and a pool of his own blood.
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Hylback was detained as a possible suspect briefly, but he was quickly ruled out. No fingerprints were found at the crime scene, and the case would go cold for Laguna Beach Police homicide investigators for the next three decades.
Dalie grew up in South County and attended Dana Hills High School in Dana Point. He lived in Newport Beach and Laguna Beach in the late 1970s, and reportedly had many run-ins with the law. Around 1979 or '80, Dalie moved to Connecticut with his wife. They divorced shortly after that.
In March 1986, then 27-year-old Dalie was sentenced to 50 years in Connecticut state prison for the bludgeoning death of his live-in girlfriend, Mary E. Carrington, whose beaten body was found in the office of her father's Mr. Steak restaurant in Newington.
In 2002, items from the Laguna Beach crime scene were sent to the Orange County Crime Laboratory for analysis. The lab discovered one sample had foreign DNA, so it was submitted to local, state and national DNA databases in hopes of finding a match.
In 2003, Connecticut legislators passed a law requiring convicted felons to submit DNA samples. However, the Dalie sample wasn't taken until 2009, when grant money became available to collect samples from 18,000 prisoners, according to that state's Department of Correction.
In August 2010, the OC Crime Lab was informed that Dalie's DNA matched the sample taken from Carmelita Street. Laguna Beach Police then re-opened their investigation, which would include interviewing Dalie in Connecticut. He admitted to having known Tobey, but he did not cop to the murder, according to police.
Dalie was charged on Feb. 23 with one felony count of special circumstances murder during the commission of a robbery and a sentencing enhancement for the use of a deadly weapon. The case Senior Deputy District Attorney Matt Murphy of the Homicide Unit will present in court will allege that then-19-year-old Dalie went to Tobey's home to rob him but killed him instead.
The defendant faces a maximum sentence of life in state prison without the possibility of parole.
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