Orange County District Attorney
Tony Rackauckas, District Attorney
401 Civic Center Drive West
Santa Ana, CA 92701
For Immediate Release
Case # 11HF0507
February 23, 2011
Susan Kang Schroeder
Chief of Staff
OCDA FILES CHARGES AGAINST INMATE FOR
1978 COLD CASE STABBING-MURDER
OF ARCHITECT IN LAGUNA BEACH
SANTA ANA – The Orange County District Attorney’s (OCDA) Office filed charges today against a Connecticut inmate for the 1978 cold case stabbing-murder of an architect in Laguna Beach. Walter Lawrence Dalie, 52, is charged 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. If convicted, he faces a maximum sentence of life in state prison without the possibility of parole. Dalie is currently incarcerated in Osborn Prison, CT, and is expected to be extradited to Orange County to face the murder charges. His arraignment date is to be determined.
On Nov. 20, 1978, then-19-year-old Dalie is accused of going to the Laguna Beach home of 55-year-old architect Brent Tobey with the intention of robbing him. The defendant is accused of stabbing Tobey seventeen times in the back and head with a knife. He is accused of fleeing the scene.
Later that evening, the victim’s body was found in his bedroom by a roommate, who had plans with Tobey to go out to dinner that night. Laguna Beach Police Department (LBPD) investigated the case, but the case went cold.
In 2002, LBPD sent items from the crime scene to the Orange County Crime Laboratory (OCCL) for analysis. OCCL found foreign DNA on one of the items and submitted the DNA sample to the local, State, and national DNA databases.
In August 2010, Dalie was linked to the murder scene through DNA. Dalie is serving a 50-year sentence in a Connecticut state prison for the 1985 murder of his girlfriend. LBPD was notified and the investigation was re-opened. Dalie was charged for the crime today.
Senior Deputy District Attorney Matt Murphy of the Homicide Unit is prosecuting this case.