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Police: New suspect in ’78 murder

Laguna Beach police have a new suspect in the 1978 murder of a local architect who was stabbed to death in his home on Nov. 20, 1978, according to a news release.

Brent Stapleton Tobey’s roommate found his body in a pool of blood in his bedroom at 1320 Carmelita St., according to the release.

A man who was arrested shortly after the murder was released after being ruled out as a suspect, and the case sat unsolved for 33 years.

DNA evidence submitted to the Orange County Crime Lab in 2002 was matched with that of a convicted murderer in Connecticut, according to police. The department was notified of the match in August 2010.


The new suspect is Walter Lawrence Dalie, a 52-year-old serving a 50-year sentence for killing his girlfriend in 1985 in Newington, Conn. Dalie was 19 at the time of the Tobey murder and is believed to have known the victim.

Dalie was raised in Orange County, attended Dana Hills High School, and was a parolee who lived in Laguna Beach and Newport Beach in the 1970s and early 1980s, according to the release.

The Orange County district attorney’s office filed charges Wednesday in the case and will seek to extradite Dalie from Connecticut for trial, according to the release.

Tobey, 55, served on the boards of several city committees and local organizations, according to the release. He was stabbed 17 times in the back and head with a knife, according to the district attorney’s office.


On the day of the murder, Tobey and his roommate were supposed to meet for dinner to celebrate the conviction in the murder of their friend, Albert Willard, who was killed in his Temple Hills home in 1977. That suspect was Laguna Beach resident James Scramlin, who had been convicted by an Orange County jury that day, according to the release.

To put the case together, Lt. Jason Kravetz and Sgt. Bob Rahaeuser twice went to Osborn Prison in Connecticut to interview the suspect, according to the news release.