DNA cold case: California deputies wear Levi’s to honor victim while making arrest in 1981 murder

CARMEL POINT, Calif. — California sheriff’s deputies who arrested a long-sought murder suspect Saturday night wore Levi’s jeans to honor the victim, a single mother who worked for the manufacturer at the time of her 1981 killing.

Michael Scott Glazebrook, 65, is charged with the Oct. 15, 1981, murder of Sonia Carmen Herok Stone, 30, of Carmel Point. According to the Monterey County Sheriff’s Office, Stone and Glazebrook, then 25, were neighbors at the time of the homicide.

Glazebrook was arrested Sunday night as he drove away from his home in nearby Seaside, authorities said.

The weekend arrest is not Glazebrook’s first in connection with Stone’s killing. He was tried for her murder in 1983 but the jury could not agree on his innocence or guilt. Prosecutors dropped the case following a mistrial.

William Curtis, then the district attorney for Monterey County, said he didn’t feel that he could successfully prosecute Glazebrook with the evidence available at that time.

In the early 1980s, DNA evidence was a long way off. According to contemporary news reports, blood was found under one of Stone’s fingernails, but lab technicians could only tell detectives the blood did not belong to the victim.

Advancements in technology have changed that.

Late last year, detectives and prosecutors decided to reexamine the case. According to Sheriff’s Office officials, they found several pieces of evidence that could be tested using current technology.

“The items were sent to the Department of Justice DNA Lab for testing,” authorities said. “Detectives also obtained a search warrant for a new sample of Glazebrook’s DNA.

“Earlier this month, we were informed that evidence from the Stone crime scene was a match to Glazebrook’s DNA profile.”

It was unclear if the match came from the blood under Stone’s fingernail or if the lab found additional DNA evidence during testing.

Glazebrook was still living and working in Monterey County at the time of his arrest. According to a Facebook page that appears to belong to him, Glazebrook worked as a school bus driver and a photographer.

Monterey County Sheriff Steve Bernal said Stone’s daughter, now 44 years old, was “overcome with happiness” when she learned of the arrest, according to the Monterey County Weekly.

The DNA match appears to shore up a leaky murder case in which prosecutors were plagued by an investigation one judge described as “surreptitious and illegal.”

A brazen murder and a legal seesaw

Stone, a sales representative for the Levi Strauss Company, lived with her 4-year-old daughter in a home on Rio Avenue in Carmel, according to the Salinas Californian. A friend, Caroleen McBride, discovered Stone’s partially clothed body sprawled on the floor of her living room around noon the day of the homicide.

Stone, a native of Quebec, had been strangled with a pair of pantyhose, which were still around her throat when deputies arrived.

The Monterey County Weekly reported that Stone was slain while her young daughter was at school.

Glazebrook, who lived across the street from Stone, emerged as a suspect early in the investigation, allegedly when detectives spotted a scratch on his face the day after the killing. They said he was also nervous during his police interview.

A friend of Glazebrook’s allegedly told police Glazebrook had admitted being in Stone’s house the morning she died. He was arrested Dec. 18, 1981.

What followed over the next couple of years was a seesaw of court rulings that questioned the credibility of investigators’ reports and the integrity of the evidence against Glazebrook.

At his preliminary hearing, there were conflicting expert opinions on whether Stone had been sexually assaulted. The witness who had allegedly told detectives Glazebrook placed himself in the victim’s home also recanted her story for the first of multiple times.

The case was later dismissed after statements Glazebrook made were thrown out, as was a witness’ identification, the Californian reported.

A second preliminary hearing was held in August 1983, at which time Glazebrook was again ordered to stand trial.

More evidence against Glazebrook was thrown out that October, two years after Stone was killed. According to newspaper accounts, Glazebrook had been questioned about the murder after being taken into custody on traffic warrants.

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A judge agreed with the defense that the traffic arrest was a “pretext” arrest so homicide detectives could hold him in connection with the murder. Investigators prevented Glazebrook from making bail on the traffic warrants, failed to allow him to make telephone calls and failed to inform his wife of his arrest, the Californian reported.

Glazebrook’s trial was eventually held in November 1983, at which time one prosecution witness testified that Glazebrook’s truck was gone from outside his house at the time the murder took place. Another witness gave Glazebrook an alibi.

Multiple witnesses testified that the reports written by Detective Lins Dorman conflicted with what they’d told the investigator, the Californian reported. In the case of a bar owner who’d had a customer with a scratched face the night of the murder, Dorman’s own testimony contradicted the report he’d written saying the woman had identified the man as Glazebrook.

Glazebrook’s attorney argued that his client could have gotten the scratch playing softball the afternoon of the murder, after Stone was already dead, according to the newspaper. The defense questioned detectives’ failure to track down any of his teammates, who could potentially have verified that his face was uninjured before the game.

“You were able to hunt up all of Michael Glazebrook’s ex-girlfriends,” defense attorney Richard Rosen told Dorman, according to the newspaper.

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Glazebrook’s parents, Walter and Jean Glazebrook, testified that they were with their son most of the evening, first at his softball game and then at the family home. They denied that he had a scratch that day.

The jury, comprised of eight men and four women, could not reach a consensus. They deadlocked, with nine jurors voting to acquit Glazebrook and three determining he was guilty.

The murder charge was dismissed a few days later.

“I felt from the very beginning that I was wrongly accused,” a relieved Glazebrook said after the hearing, according to the Californian.

Curtis, the district attorney, said he was still certain of Glazebrook’s guilt, despite having to drop the case.

Rosen, who called the prosecutor a “whiner” and described his remark as “sour grapes,” also made a prediction for his client — one apparently proven wrong by science.

“This case is history,” Rosen said in 1983.

Glazebrook remains in the Monterey County Jail, where he is being held in lieu of bail set at $1 million.

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