Killer Charged Again with Laguna Beach Murder

He is scheduled to return to court for a preliminary hearing March 19.


A 60-year-old convicted killer charged, for a second time, in a 1978 Laguna Beach robbery-slaying case was arraigned Tuesday on a murder charge.

Walter Lawrence Dalie was brought back to Orange County on Friday to face charges stemming from the killing of Laguna Beach resident Brent Stapleton Tobey.

After the initial case brought against Dalie was dismissed by prosecutors in August 2015, he was sent back to a prison in Connecticut, where he was serving a 50-year sentence for the 1985 murder of his girlfriend.

According to Connecticut Department of Correction records, Dalie had been due to be released this July.

The most recent complaint was filed late last June against Dalie, who pleaded not guilty to the refiled murder charge that includes a special circumstance allegation of murder in the course of a robbery and a sentencing enhancement allegation of the use of a deadly weapon.

He is scheduled to return to court for a preliminary hearing March 19 at the Harbor Justice Center in Newport Beach.

Prosecutors dismissed the original 2011 case against Dalie in part because two critical witnesses had died since his preliminary hearing, Senior Deputy District Attorney Matt Murphy said.


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When the charges were dismissed in August 2015, Murphy said investigators needed to do a more detailed forensic analysis of evidence that the local Orange County Crime Lab could not do, so the work had to be farmed out to another facility, which would take several months.

Dalie's subsequent refusal to delay his trial forced prosecutors to dismiss the case against him.

The 55-year-old victim was stabbed 17 times in the back, head and chest on Nov. 20, 1978.

Tobey was last seen alive about 12:30 p.m. that day, according to Laguna Beach police Capt. Jason Kravetz.

Tobey and a friend, who lived in a rental unit behind Tobey's home, had plans to dine together to celebrate the conviction that day of Laguna Beach resident James Scramlin for the 1977 murder of their friend Albert Willard, Kravetz said.

The two had found Willard's body in his home in the city's Temple Hills neighborhood, the captain said.

When Tobey failed to 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.

Dalie -- then 19 and living in Newport Beach -- was not a suspect at the time.

Investigators believe Dalie stole a ring from Tobey before or after allegedly killing him, Murphy said.

Laguna Beach police revived the investigation in 2002 when evidence was sent to the Orange County Crime Lab for a DNA match.

There were no matches until mid-2010, when Connecticut officials loaded some samples in 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 he went to steal the day's cash receipts, 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.

Copyright CNS - City News Service
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