UPDATE: Suspect in 1978 Laguna Beach Murder Extradited to California

Convicted killer Walter Dalie was linked to the stabbing of Brent Stapleton Tobey.

UPDATED, SEPT. 1, 2011: Connecticut inmate Walter Dalie has been extradited to California to faces charges in Orange County for the 1978 cold case stabbing-murder of a Laguna Beach architect. If convicted, he faces a maximum sentence of life in state prison without the possibility of parole.

Dalie has been incarcerated in a Connecticut state prison serving a 50-year sentence for the 1985 murder of his girlfriend.

Dalie was transported today by the U.S. Marshals Service to the San Bernardino County Central Detention Center. He is expected to be transported to the Orange County Jail on Monday, Sept. 5, by the San Bernardino County Sheriff-Coroner Department and is expected to be arraigned on the murder charge Tuesday, Sept. 6, at 10 a.m. in Department CJ-1, Central Jail, Santa Ana. He is being held without bail.

UPDATED, FEB. 28, 6:06 p.m.: The Orange County district attorney's office formally filed murder charges this afternoon against Dalie. According to Deputy District Attorney Matt Murphy, the motive was robbery, as Dalie allegedly stole a ring from Tobey. Murphy was not sure how much the ring was worth and did not have details on what else may have been taken the day of the slaying.

ORIGINAL POST: Laguna Beach police announced this morning that they have identified a suspect in the 1978 slaying of a prominent local architect and civic leader.

Convicted murderer Walter Dalie was linked to the fatal stabbing of 55- year-old Brent Stapleton Tobey through DNA evidence, Laguna Beach police Lt. Jason Kravetz said. Dalie, 52, is about halfway through serving a 50-year sentence for the 1985 murder of his girlfriend in Newington, CT, Kravetz said.

Tobey, who was killed Nov. 20, 1978, was last seen alive about 12:30 p.m. that day. He and a friend had made plans to have dinner to celebrate the conviction that day of Laguna Beach resident James Scramlin for the 1977 murder of their friend Albert Willard in his home in the city's Temple Hills neighborhood, Kravetz said, noting that Tobey and his friend had found the victim's body. When Tobey did not show up for dinner, his friend went to his home at 1320 Carmelita St. about 7 p.m. and found him on the floor of his bedroom in a pool of blood. He had been stabbed 17 times in the head and back with a knife.

"We suspect the victim and the suspect met up sometime between 12:30 p.m. and 2 p.m.,'' Kravetz said. Dalie told investigators he knew Tobey, but "I can't say how well,'' Kravetz said.

In 1978, police arrested a suspect who had been staying with Tobey, but he was quickly ruled out as a suspect, Kravetz said. The investigation was revived in 2002, when Laguna Beach Detective Paul Litchenberg submitted several items from the crime scene to the Orange County crime lab to seek a DNA match, Kravetz said.

There were not matches, though, until mid-2010, when Connecticut officials loaded some samples into its database, including Dalie's, Kravetz said. Dalie bludgeoned his girlfriend to death with a hammer, Kravetz said. She was closing up her family's restaurant for the night when Dalie decided to steal the day's receipts, the lieutenant said.

"He wanted to take all the receipts for the night, but this was her family business,'' and she resisted, Kravetz said. "He's large, and he's been in prison for 26 years, so he's very intimidating,'' Kravetz said of Dalie. "When we were watching him in prison, he looked like someone who commanded respect from all the other prisoners.''

Sgt. Bob Rahaeuser and Kravetz interviewed Dalie three times in prison in Connecticut last year.

"I can't say whether he confessed, but we did receive a lot of information from that, correlated with the evidence we already had,'' Kravetz said.

Dalie grew up in Dana Point and graduated from Dana Hills High School. During the 1970s and early 1980s, he was a parolee who lived in Laguna Beach and Newport Beach. He was 19 years old and living in Newport Beach when Tobey was killed, Kravetz said.

Investigators are not revealing a motive for the Tobey killing, Kravetz said. After charges are filed, probably today, extradition proceedings will begin, Kravetz said.

—City News Service


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