Today’s case spans more than 40 years. In the first of two parts, we take you back to 1981 and the senseless rape and murder of Sonia Stone, a young mother living with her daughter in the tony town of Carmel by the Sea on the California coast. A close friend has found Sonia’s body and has called the police. The responding detectives quickly focus their attention on a shifty neighbor whose constantly changing story feeds their suspicions. But this was a time before DNA testing, and the evidence, though solid, is circumstantial. When the prosecutor in the case finally gets some corroboration about the neighbor’s whereabouts the morning of Sonia’s murder, he brings murder charges against Michael Glazebrook. But an adverse ruling and an unreliable witness derail the trial – and start a decades long search for justice.
Guests: Detective Lins and Judge Bob
Retired Detective Lins began his 31-year-career in law enforcement when he was commissioned as a second lieutenant in the Military Police Corps in 1967 after he graduated from UC Davis. He served in the United States European Command in Stuttgart, Germany, and later commanded the first post stockade annex at the now-defunct Fort Ord in California. Later Lins spent two decades as a deputy sheriff with the Monterey County Sheriff’s Department, as a patrol deputy and then as a detective working major crimes. His final years in law enforcement were as a District Attorney Investigator for Monterey County, where his assignments included major crimes and child sexual assault. Over his career, he investigated more than 40 deaths, the majority being homicides.
Judge Bob served as Monterey County Deputy District Attorney for major crimes from 1972 to 1986. A graduate of UC Davis and Hastings Law School, and a U.S. Army veteran, Bob was elevated to municipal court judge in 1987 and then elected to the Superior Court for Monterey County in 1997. He served on the court until 2006 and now works as a temporary judge, assigned to cases across northern and central California.Read Transcript
Yeardley: [00:00:06] Hey, Small Town Fam, it’s Yeardley. How are you, guys? I hope you’re all kicking ass today. We have a great two-parter for you today. So, I’m often asked in interviews when I do press for Small Town Dicks, what have you learned from doing 12 Seasons of listening to these detectives? And the thing I always think about is how meticulous the work of gathering evidence is, and then how perfectly those precious pieces of information need to fit together in order for justice to be served. And then even after all that, how a case can get derailed on the smallest technicality, or a judge’s ruling that only makes sense to them. And then everybody just has to deal with it, and dance with the one that brung them. Today’s episode is all that.
[00:01:00] It begins with a vicious murder and a verdict 40 years later. It’s a stunning example of how the investigators we talk to on this podcast may be forced to set a case aside for a period of time, but it never actually leaves them. The details, the questions, the what ifs, the longing to get justice for the victims, seep into everything they do. And it stays that way even after they retire, because as Detectives Dan and Dave always say, “Being a detective isn’t just a job, it’s a calling.” Here is The Weight.[Small Town Dicks intro]
Yeardley: [00:01:48] Hi, there. I’m Yeardley.
Dan: [00:01:50] I’m Dan.
Dave: [00:01:51] I’m Dave.
Paul: [00:01:52] And I’m Paul.
Yeardley: [00:01:53] And this is Small Town Dicks.
Dan: [00:01:55] Dave and I are identical twins.
Dave: [00:01:57] And retired detectives from Small Town, USA.
Paul: [00:01:59] And I’m a veteran cold case investigator who helped catch the Golden State Killer using a revolutionary DNA tool.
Dan: [00:02:05] Between the three of us, we’ve investigated thousands of crimes, from petty theft to sexual assault, child abuse to murder.
Dave: [00:02:12] Each case we cover is told by the detective who investigated it, offering a rare personal account of how they solved the crime.
Paul: [00:02:19] Names, places, and certain details have been changed to protect the privacy of victims and their families.
Dan: [00:02:24] And although we’re aware that some of our listeners may be familiar with these cases, we ask you to please join us in continuing to protect the true identities of those involved-
Dave: [00:02:31] -out of respect for what they’ve been through.
[unison]: [00:02:34] Thank you.
Yeardley: [00:02:44] Today on Small Town Dicks, we have the usual suspects. We have Detective Dave.
Dave: [00:02:52] Greetings, Yeardley.
Yeardley: [00:02:53] Greetings, Dav, as I like to call you. We have Detective Dan, shaking his head like, “Please, these people.”
Dan: [00:02:59] He’s just weird.[laughter]
Dan: [00:03:01] Hello everyone.
Yeardley: [00:03:03] Hello, you. And we have the one and only, Paul Holes.
Paul: [00:03:06] Hey-hey.
Yeardley: [00:03:07] Hey-hey. And Small Town Fam, we are so pleased to welcome back to the podcast, Detective Lins.
Lins: [00:03:15] Hello.
Yeardley: [00:03:16] Hello. We’re so thrilled to have you. Thank you. Lins, you have brought us several interesting cases over the course of Small Town Dicks, and I’ve only had a glimpse of what’s coming today. This case really took you on a journey. It lasted 40 years, and so I’m eager to dig into it. But before we get started, I’d like to welcome another guest to the podcast. He’s a new guest who was also an integral part of this case. Please welcome, Judge Bob.
Bob: [00:03:49] Nice to be with you.
Yeardley: [00:03:51] Thank you, Bob. So, the case you all are going to share with us today starts with a horrific murder in 1981. But before we get into it, I’d love for you to give us a little background on where you both were in your careers at that time. Bob, let’s start with you.
Bob: [00:04:10] In 1981, I’m Deputy DA for Monterey County, California.
Yeardley: [00:04:16] And, Bob, did you already know Detective Lins when this case began?
Bob: [00:04:20] Yes, I did. Lins had been in the sheriff’s office for a while. We both turn 80 this year. And he and I had worked on other cases before.
Lins: [00:04:33] Yes. 1981, I was a detective. I’d been on the department for 10 years. We know each other, I think.[laughter]
Yeardley: [00:04:44] And, Bob, you also know our producer, Gary.
Bob: [00:04:48] I do know your producer, Gary. I have known Gary since he was born, because my sister is his mother. So, Gary’s my nephew, and we’re a tight knit family, always have been. I’ve always been close to him every part of his life and every part of mine. I know I had talked to you, Gary, about this case way back in the day.
Yeardley: [00:05:21] So, Gary, you were in the know way back when. Do you want to say hi to your Uncle Bob?
Gary: [00:05:27] Hey, Uncle Bob.[laughter]
Gary: [00:05:30] I remember talking with you about this case for the first-time decades ago, and off and on over the years. Once I started with Small Town Dicks, I always thought it would make a great story. But as everybody is going to hear, we had to wait for the right time to tell it, and I’m very proud that we’re able to now tell the story completely. It’s taken over two years just to do the two episodes. I’ve lived with it, he’s lived with it, Detective Lins has lived with it for a lot longer than that.
Yeardley: [00:06:08] Well, I thank you all for coming together to share this story with us today. Bob, why don’t you start by letting us know why this case is so important to you?
Bob: [00:06:22] Well, it was one of the salient cases that I ever did. Here we are all this time along, but why this case is important to law enforcement people, to Lins, to me? It’s important in a lot of ways, because this case was personal with the people who were involved in investigating it and prosecuting it.
Yeardley: [00:06:47] We hear that often on this podcast that these cases get under your skin and then they don’t ever leave you. So, please tell us how this case came to you.
Lins: [00:07:01] It was about noon on October the 15th, 1981, little more than 40 years ago. I was sitting in my office in Monterey, California. And a person from communications comes running across the hall and says, “Hey, you better run down to this address in Carmel. A person has reported a possible dead body at that location.” My partner and I were anticipating, “Okay, we’ve got a possible homicide.” We’re driving from Monterey into Carmel. It’s probably about a 10-minute drive. Carmel is a city that’s one square mile. Right off the Pacific Ocean, you can hear the waves crashing against the shore. It’s not where you’d expect to come across a violent crime like we did.
Bob: [00:07:44] Carmel, 1981, was the last place on Earth, almost, that you would expect to find a dead body of a woman in her own home. She was found on her back, sexually posed, strangled with a set of pantyhose. Her black slacks laying nearby right inside her door, immediately at the front door. It was big news from the minute it happened. Carmel is a sleepy, quiet, touristy, artsy, wealthy town. Carmel-by-the-Sea, you just don’t have violent crime there.
Lins: [00:08:30] Exactly. So, when we arrive at the house, the first thing I see is there’s two sheriff’s patrol units there. One of the deputies comes up to us and says, “I want to warn you that it’s not a pleasant scene.” So, my partner Bert and I go into this small little cottage. And the first thing that we see is, here’s our victim. She’s facing the front door. She’s flat on her back. The only clothing she has on is a jacket, her blouse, and her bra. It’s all been pulled up over her shoulders. And around her neck, to me, it’s either nylon stocking or it’s pantyhose. I can’t tell what it is. It’s tied so tightly. Her face is discolored. She has blood running out of her nose, in her mouth. There’s blood spatter. It looks like she’s maybe been punched in the face.
[00:09:24] She’s obviously fought, because she’s got more than one broken fingernail. She’s been pronounced dead by the paramedics. I see laying to her left is her purse, content scattered all around it. Her driver’s license is there. Her name was Sonia Stone.
Yeardley: [00:09:41] Did you know who she was in the community?
Bob: [00:09:45] Everyone knew who Sonia was. Sonia was popular in the community. She was a good mother. She had a very responsible job working for Levi Strauss. And so, this is an unusual crime scene. What the heck is going on? You don’t have a door-to-door rapist.
[00:10:05] I think we all found it shocking on a number of levels. One level was that it was in Carmel. On another level, it was unusual that it was a sexualized homicide, and we could tell that immediately. It was shocking at the time. We didn’t know and couldn’t have known initially that this wasn’t some kind of a serial killer situation. Our perp did another one in Fresno the week before, or one in South Dakota last year, we just had so little information from the crime scene itself.
Yeardley: [00:10:51] What was Sonia’s living situation? Did she live by herself? She have a husband, a partner?
Bob: [00:10:57] Sonia and her husband had one child, Sasha, who at the time Sonia was killed, was four. Sonia was not living with her husband. We immediately focus on Sonia’s husband, because in our experience at the time, you can almost take it to the bank that the husband is the killer, the vast majority of the time. However, her husband checked out pretty quickly as not being in the area when this happened.
Lins: [00:11:30] Yeah, Sonia was separated from her husband, who was up in the Bay Area as well.
Yeardley: [00:11:35] Did you know what time Sonia had been killed?
Bob: [00:11:38] We had a witness, a friend of Sonia’s, who went to her home very short time after she was killed. We know that it was a very short time after she was killed, because Sonia had taken her daughter to the Montessori school that morning and had returned home on her way to work. Shortly after Sonia was killed, her friend stopped by. And the way things were, her friends just walked in, she didn’t lock her door.
Lins: [00:12:12] The witness to the crime, the one that discovered it, her name is Carol. Carol was one of Sonia’s best friends, and she had been talking to Sonia on the telephone that morning. Carol happened to be in the area as a real estate agent looking at some property near Sonia’s house. She decided to stop by Sonia’s house. So, she approached the front door, tried to open it, and the door wouldn’t open all the way. She was able to look down and see that it’s one of Sonia’s legs that was blocking it. She looked inside, saw Sonia’s nude body with something wrapped around her neck, and she immediately started screaming, ran to her car, and drove away at a high rate of speed, stopping about a block away at a neighbor’s house, and that’s when she yelled for help, and that man ended up calling 911, which ended up in my responding to the scene.
[00:13:10] So, at the crime scene, the evidence technician was directed to pick up everything around Sonia’s body that included the contents of her purse and a broken fingernail. They bagged her hands. At that time, it was determined that the autopsy would be conducted by Dr. Boyd Stevens, a forensic pathologist, the coroner of San Francisco and San Francisco County. He was, at that time, a renowned expert in the field. We decided to send her body to San Francisco, because in this particular case, we need experts. At that point, my partner decides, “I’ll do the interior, and you go contact surrounding citizens and go knock on every door you can and see what you can find out.” And so, my job was to go out throughout the neighborhood and interview all the neighbors.
[00:14:07] Most of them aren’t there, or who are there say they didn’t hear or see anything. There was a house right across the street. I went up to that house, left a business card, nobody was there. I didn’t come up with anything particularly good on that very first day.
Yeardley: [00:14:23] Meanwhile, you guys are worried there might be a serial killer on the loose.
Lins: [00:14:27] That’s right.
Lins: [00:14:42] The next morning, I learn that up in San Francisco, Sonia is now undergoing an autopsy. They’ve taken some of her fingernails off, the clippings that they’ve noticed, she’s got blood under them. We continue canvassing the neighborhood. We see a guy across the street from Sonia’s out there working on his boat, sanding on it, working with the fiberglass, and sending dust up into the air. He’s wearing a paper face mask. So, my partner and I go walking up to him and introduce ourselves. When I first approached him, he was standing up on the boat, which would be almost like standing on a step ladder and he could look directly into Sonia’s house. Even I could see her house from the ground where I was standing and talking to him. He’s really super heavily muscle bound. I mean, this is a guy I can tell is in the bodybuilding. He’s wearing this t-shirt that emphasizes his broad chest and the big biceps. Basically, he’s kind of intimidating.
Dave: [00:15:46] What was his name?
Lins: [00:15:47] His name is Michael Glazebrook. I say to him, “Would you mind removing your face mask?” He takes off his paper face mask. The first thing that I see, I have one of these, what you call an “oh, shit” moment. Takes off that mask, and here is this fresh scratch starting just below his right eye, going all the way down to his jawline. It’s about four inches long, and then it fades away as it goes down his neck. I’m thinking to myself, “Okay, this victim has broken fingernails, and here’s this guy with a scratch on his face.” My mouth probably dropped down to my feet.
Yeardley: [00:16:26] [laughs]
Lins: [00:16:27] So I said, “I’m here investigating the murder of your neighbor,” and I point to the house. He says, “Yeah, I know that was going on.” I said, “We went by your house yesterday, but you weren’t here and I left a card.” He says, “Oh, yeah, I was planning on maybe calling you.” We asking a few questions. I go, “Well, how did you get this scratch on your face?” He says, “Well, I was working on my boat yesterday, working in my garage here, I was cutting plexiglass, and a piece of it flew up and cut me in the face.” I’m thinking, that doesn’t look like something would happen with a piece of glass flying up in a face. That looks like a downward stroke. That’s what I’m thinking.
Paul: [00:17:04] He’s trying to come up with an excuse for what you recognize as an obvious scratch mark. That’s where the average layperson doesn’t know really what wounds look like. That’s the advantage that law enforcement has. When you see wounds over and over again, and you know how they occur, you’re going, “Nah, you know what? You’re not telling me the truth.”
Lins: [00:17:27] Exactly. So, I said, “Can you show us where this happened?” He takes us into the garage where his saws are and all his tools, and he says, “I was cutting this piece of plexiglass here that he holds up.” It’s a jagged piece of glass. He says, “I was trying to cut a piece off of it here, and it just flew up and hit me in the face.” And he says, “Well, I didn’t get it yesterday like I said, I got it today. It was this morning. Yeah, it was this morning. I got it this morning. What happened was, I was cutting the plexiglass, it cut me in the face.” This guy’s getting nervous. He’s doing the eye shifting back and forth. He’s bouncing back and forth on his feet. He told me three different stories within five minutes. Two different stories about the scratch, and then about how he left that morning. And so, within five minutes, he told me three stories of wham, wham. And so, that’s what got me feeling very suspicious coupled with the scratch.
[00:18:17] As far as my mind is concerned, he’s the number one suspect. So, I said, “Do you know Sonia across the street?” He says, “No, I know she lives there, but I don’t know much about her.” So, my partner and I say, “You know, I think this is the guy. I think this guy is a suspect. Well, we don’t want him to think that yet. So, how are we going to get a photograph of the scratch on his face?” Now, one of the problems there is, you all know as fellow law enforcement officers, you can ask somebody, do you mind if I take a picture, they may or may not say yes. So, I went back to the office, because we didn’t want to spook him. So, we run a background check on him.
[00:18:58] Actually, a couple of days pass, we find out that he has traffic warrants that he hasn’t appeared. He’s failed to appear. I can take him into custody on that. So, we decide the best way to get a photograph of him was to take him into custody on the traffic warrants, book him into the jail. And so, we go back, and my partner and I arrested Glazebrook at his home. During the booking process, I talked to the booking officers and told them, we were really interested in getting a good photograph of the scratch on his face. During all bookings, the jailers always take a forward picture and then a side view. And so, they said they would do that for me. He goes through the booking process and I say, “Now we got a good picture of the scratch on his face.” Well, you remember that earlier story I told you about not putting film in the camera?
Yeardley: [00:19:52] Yes. We called that episode, Tourist Season. It’s in Season 10.
Lins: [00:19:57] Well, in this case, the camera didn’t operate in the jail. We didn’t know that. And then later, after the film had been developed, they let me know that the camera had failed, and they did not get a picture of the scratch. But I didn’t find that out until several days had passed.
Dave: [00:20:14] What is it with you and cameras?
Yeardley: [00:20:16] Truly, you have the worst luck with old school film, Lins.
Lins: [00:20:20] I know. Yes. By that time, Glazebrook’s scratch had healed. So, we had no photograph of his scratch.
Yeardley: [00:20:29] Oh, my God, that’s devastating.
Dan: [00:20:32] Lins, when you initially questioned Michael, you had arrested him on the traffic warrants. I’m assuming that you read Michael his Miranda rights.
Lins: [00:20:42] That’s correct.
Bob: [00:20:43] Well, he waived his Miranda rights. He was not represented by counsel, and he was not charged with the crime, but he was under arrest.
Lins: [00:20:52] Hindsight, I could have arrested him for murder there, but I just felt that was premature. So, in all innocence, took him in, and felt I was completely justified in asking him about Sonia’s case. That came back and really bit me in the butt, but that’s later down the line. Anyway, I say to Glazebrook, “Now that we have you here, we need to talk to you because you’ve given us some inconsistent statements.” And then we asked Glazebrook if he would be kind enough to take a polygraph examination, which he agreed to do. And so, Bob, you probably remember that I had brought him upstairs to your office where we had discussed giving him a polygraph examination.
Bob: [00:21:34] That’s right. The polygrapher told me, he said, “This guy really pretty starkly failed his test.” He says, “I’m very confident that this is your guy.”
Lins: [00:21:47] So, they called me back in to talk to him and I said, “Hey, you totally failed this polygraph. It shows you’re lying about everything that happened.” He says, “Okay, I’ll tell you what really happened.”
Yeardley: [00:21:56] [laughs]
Lins: [00:21:58] He says, “What really happened was, I’ve been having an affair with Sonia, and I was over there that morning, and we had sex as usual, and then I left. And so, I don’t know what happened after that, but, yeah, I was there.”
Bob: [00:22:12] That one was a pretty blockbuster admission. And that admission was brought about by a question asked, which was, “Mr. Glazebrook, you say that you had never been in her house. What would you say if we were to discover your fingerprints in her house?” That was the question. His answer was, “Okay, I was in her home that morning, but I didn’t kill her.”
Yeardley: [00:22:41] But it doesn’t account for the scratch. Now he’s just put himself at the crime scene, but now I won’t talk about the scratch. This guy is really not good at keeping his story straight.
Lins: [00:22:51] No.
Yeardley: [00:22:52] And on top of that, he’s now gone from not knowing Sonia to being her boyfriend.
Lins: [00:22:57] Yeah. So, he says, “That’s why you’re going to find that I was in the house. My blood might be in there, my semen might be in there.”
Dave: [00:23:06] Well, Michael’s doing a pretty good job of trying to get out in front of everything that he’s been thinking about for the last two days.
Lins: [00:23:12] Exactly.
Bob: [00:23:13] By the way, we thoroughly debunked that idea.
Yeardley: [00:23:18] The idea that he and Sonia were dating.
Bob: [00:23:20] Yes. Everyone who knew her, and she had some girlfriends that knew her intimately very well, they said, “Look, if she was having an affair with somebody, she would have told us, for sure.”
Lins: [00:23:33] That’s one of the first stories I started checking out, and all of her girlfriends says that that just never happened. They said, “We knew what was going on in each other’s lives. There’s no way she would have anything to do with this Michael Glazebrook.” They said, “We’d see him standing outside flexing his arms and stuff, but we weren’t impressed.”
Dave: [00:23:52] I’ve got this picture of Michael as just vanity, and loves himself, and people don’t say no to him, that type of guy.
Lins: [00:24:01] Yeah, that’s basically what we’re dealing with here. But I did not for a minute believe that Sonia would have had an affair with Glazebrook.
Bob: [00:24:10] Gradually, over the course of two hours or three hours, Glazebrook gave up a little bit more and a little bit more, some of it contradictory with itself.
Lins: [00:24:20] And so then, as now, a polygraph is not admissible, but it’s a great tool. So, in talking it over with Bob, the prosecuting attorney, we say, “Well, we just don’t have quite enough at this point to prosecute him. Well, we need to get the results back on the blood,” and that doesn’t happen overnight.
Yeardley: [00:24:38] So, do you arrest Glazebrook at that time?
Lins: [00:24:41] He’s not arrested then. He’s just prime suspect.
Bob: [00:24:44] We did not want to move on it until were solid on it. However, the prosecution world knew Glazebrook was our man. We pretty much knew that right from the get-go. We’re off to a red-hot start here, because he was still talking. Glazebrook was talking to us. He was not charged, he had not hired or been appointed counsel, he was still chatting, and he was chatting around town, he was chatting with us. And so, we did not file the case.
[00:25:22] We had the sheriff continue to investigate it and that investigation continued for months. I should point out that it wasn’t just me pushing this case. It was the entire upper echelon of the DA’s office that was involved in making decisions about this case. This was the biggest case, certainly one of the biggest cases that we’d ever had locally. This case was very, very seriously to say the least scrutinized within our office.
Paul: [00:25:55] What did they determine the cause of death to be?
Lins: [00:25:58] The cause of death was determined to be asphyxiation. The pantyhose were wrapped so tight around her neck that she couldn’t breathe. A full autopsy was conducted which included a sexual workup kit. Now, during the autopsy, it was a two-day affair. They shine a black light all over her body and they see stuff fluoresce, and that’s probably semen.
Bob: [00:26:21] That’s important, because this was not a first-degree murder case absent the felony murder rule.
Yeardley: [00:26:30] What’s the felony murder rule?
Bob: [00:26:32] So, we had to show, in order to pursue a first-degree murder, that not only did this guy kill Sonia, but he killed her during the commission of an enumerated felony, namely rape, which meant we had to prove that he raped her.
Yeardley: [00:26:51] So the idea of testing for semen at that point in time isn’t about identifying Glazebrook through DNA, because that technology doesn’t exist yet. Basically, what the presence of that semen does is offer proof that Sonia was sexually assaulted, correct?
Lins: [00:27:09] That’s correct. There was no DNA testing that we were even aware of at that time.
Bob: [00:27:16] We could test these fluids for blood type in 1981. That’s all we had, ABO blood type, which was useful to a degree, because if the material found on Sonia and the scrapings under her fingernails were not consistent with and exactly Michael Glazebrook’s blood type, it would have eliminated him as a suspect. No matter how suspicious he looked and no matter what kind of admissions he made, he would have been out.
Lins: [00:27:54] And so, the test does come back later that the blood type under Sonia’s fingernails matches Glazebrook.
Yeardley: [00:28:02] That must have been a really big deal.
Bob: [00:28:05] Yes. So, we’re down to 50 million people who could have done this. But we did get rid of 72% who couldn’t. That’s not insignificant, because his blood type fit. There are plenty of other blood types that don’t fit, Glazebrook’s fit. This is a case of numerous items, and bits, and pieces of evidence that looked to be pretty good. And especially when you put them together, they look great, but each and every one of them had a kicker.[show theme music]
Yeardley: [00:28:52] Hey, Small Town Fam, want to support upcoming seasons of Small Town Dicks? Well, consider becoming a Patreon member for $5 a month. When you join Patreon, you get access to content that’s only available to our Small Town Super Fam. So, that means you get special segments, outtakes, and you get our regular episodes early and ad free. It’s a pretty good deal. I got to say, I might be a little biased, but listen, I wouldn’t steer you wrong on this. So, we would love it if you would go to patreon.com/smalltowndicks and show your support. Thank you so much for listening. And now, here’s an ad which, if you belong to Patreon, you wouldn’t have to listen to. [laughs]
Bob: [00:29:50] As we moved through the early stages of the investigation, we put together every factoid about Glazebrook and his history that we could. We ran down every rabbit hole of his background, his friendships, his demeanor, his character, his occupation, his whereabouts, his habits. All of that were of critical importance to us. And so, we find Glazebrook works as a handyman, sort of an informal business that he did. But he worked the trades and he has a dishonorable discharge from the navy. That was important to us. When we learned from his friends that Glazebrook was a guy who always wanted what he couldn’t have, and then he found a way to get it. He just was kind of a bulldog in that way. His friends said that Glazebrook always seemed to get what he wanted in the end. We learned a lot of things about him that fit in with the profile of a guy who might have done this.
Yeardley: [00:31:13] Even though that information about Glazebrook’s character is circumstantial, it can only strengthen your case, right? At what point do you finally get to charge him with this crime?
Bob: [00:31:24] What triggered the filing of the case? Lins finally found this gal by the name of Mickey, who had been a girlfriend of Glazebrook’s. Mickey was a love interest of Glazebrook, who was interviewed numerous times by various interviewers from the sheriff’s office. She’s reluctant to talk to them, but she obviously knows something important.
Lins: [00:31:51] Yes, exactly. So, Mickey agreed to come into the office and speak to me. When being interviewed, she said, “Please don’t record me. I don’t want you to record me.” So, she did not get permission for anybody to record that, at least my supervisor was with me when I interviewed her.
Yeardley: [00:32:10] Are you allowed to do that? Are you allowed to refuse to be recorded, even if you’re being interviewed at the police station?
Dan: [00:32:18] You can request it. I think people request it sometimes, because they believe that that gives them some sense of plausible deniability that they snitched on someone. The other part of that, on the police side is, if that is a witness’s terms to giving you a statement, don’t turn it down. It’s better to get a statement and have a witness present, even though you didn’t record it than not to get the statement at all.
Lins: [00:32:45] Exactly. But Mickey told me on several occasions, and one occasion in front of Bob as well that Glazebrook had told her, he was in the house on the morning of the homicide that he’d been having an affair with Sonia, but that he did not kill her.
Bob: [00:33:06] Now that information had already been disclosed to us by Michael Glazebrook. And so, she said, “Yeah, he told me the same thing. He told me that he had been in her living room that morning.” So, this didn’t originate with her. But now we feel that we have sufficient connection between Glazebrook and the homicide.
Dave: [00:33:34] So, Mickey’s corroborating statement gives you what you need to finally charge Glazebrook?
Bob: [00:33:40] Yes.
Paul: [00:33:42] I think we have to remember, this is the early 1980s, 1981. There was no DNA testing. I did this kind of work in the lab, ABO testing, enzyme testing. Its associative value is so weak. This is a case in which now you have to focus in on the investigative aspects. You have to look at witness statements, circumstantial evidence, and see what adds up. This was a completely different era, forensically speaking.
Bob: [00:34:13] Correct. And so, we filed the case in July of 1982.
Yeardley: [00:34:18] And at that point, do you name Glazebrook as your main suspect?
Bob: [00:34:22] Yes, we charge him with the crime. We take the case to preliminary examination, which is a nothing burger hearing. All you have to show is reasonable cause to believe that this guy is guilty. A reasonable suspicion will do. It’s the exact same standard that you use for an arrest. So, we did a preliminary hearing. After the successful preliminary exam we filed in the Superior Court, the trial court, there was a, what’s called a Penal Code section 995 review of the statement evidence.
Yeardley: [00:35:06] You’re talking about the statements Glazebrook made to Lins when he said, he knew Sonia, they were having an affair, he’d been in her house, etc?
Bob: [00:35:14] Yes. That series of statements was deemed inadmissible, because the defense challenged that evidence as being illegally procured, because the police had done what the defense called, “a pretext arrest.” They arrested him on a pretext of having these traffic warrants, which he did have and which they totally could arrest him on, but they did it knowing that they were going to question him if they could about the homicide. The 995 motion to eliminate his statement to the police was initially denied by a superior court judge, and then granted by another superior court judge. We vehemently disagreed with that second ruling. Vehemently disagreed with it. And to this day, I am solidly confident that that ruling was wrong, unnecessary and wrong.
Lins: [00:36:25] When we lost that evidence where he admitted to me, he’d been in the house, basically, it was that I hadn’t really violated his rights, but I’d put him at a psychological disadvantage by arresting him for a traffic warrant and then questioning him about a homicide. That just put him at a psychological disadvantage where he started telling me those stories.
Dan: [00:36:49] I’m trying to understand this ruling. It doesn’t make a whole lot of sense to me. We’re all scratching our heads saying, “What the hell?”
Dave: [00:36:58] Much like you, I’m just completely confused. Like, we don’t have to show our cards. That’s not how it works. I’m befuddled.
Bob: [00:37:07] Yeah. After this ruling, we dismissed the case, and we started over again because of the fact that each side can remove a judge from the case one time, the defense and the prosecution. It’s called a bean ball.[laughter]
Bob: [00:37:24] You can remove one judge. And so we wanted to have a bean ball in hand. We had to go back and do another prelim. We got another ruling on the evidence, which was positive, but that was from a magistrate, and it did not trump the ruling from the superior court. And so, ultimately, we were stuck. We just had to go to trial without that that statement.
Lins: [00:37:50] Yeah. All we could get in was the blood evidence.
Bob: [00:37:53] Once the evidence of Glazebrook’s statement post polygraph was thrown out, we couldn’t use that statement again, but we could use other statements that Glazebrook had made to other people.
Yeardley: [00:38:10] So, you could still use the statement from Mickey saying that Glazebrook had told her he’d been in Sonia’s house the morning of the murder.
Lins: [00:38:18] Exactly.
Bob: [00:38:19] So, we go to trial.
Bob: [00:38:35] The trial in 1983, as you can imagine, was highly public, lots of news coverage, very hotly contested on the defense side. It took two weeks, two and a half weeks. The trial judge was one of the great judges of California, Nat Gagliano. We took a long time picking an excellent jury, very, very carefully. We put the case on, we called everybody that had anything relevant to say about the case. And Mickey testified at trial but changed her story. When she testified, Mickey said, “Glazebrook never told me that he had been in her home that day. I only said that because I was mad at Michael at the time. The police just heckled me and heckled me, and it was just because I was angry. It wasn’t true. And It was the cops who put these words in my mouth.”
Lins: [00:39:40] She got up on the stand, and she recanted those statements, and basically called me a liar, and said that I’d made up the whole thing.
Yeardley: [00:39:49] So, she lied on the stand?
Bob: [00:39:51] Yes.
Lins: [00:39:52] That was hard to take, but that’s not unusual in cases where your witnesses will go 180s on you for whatever reason. So, that’s why it’s always important to have a witness with you when you’re interviewing and also record it. So, at least it’s there and it’s harder for them to deny.
Dave: [00:40:09] It’s so frustrating. It’s an attack on Detective Lins’s integrity, his professionalism.
Lins: [00:40:16] Yeah, I felt really bad when that was happening.
Bob: [00:40:20] And so, jury was out. I think it was two days, two and a half days, something like that. And they had come back a time or two with questions. You could tell that they were struggling. Finally, they come back and they say, “We cannot reach a verdict.”
Yeardley: [00:40:39] Oh, no. So, it’s a hung jury.
Bob: [00:40:42] Yes. And the judge asked them what the breakdown was, and it was nine to three to convict. And so, we huddled again. We didn’t feel we could put it in any better on a second go round. That was unusual in and of itself, because when you try a case, quite frequently, if it’s a hung jury, you’ll learn something in the course of the trial, the defense will be forced to show their hand. But they didn’t show us anything. We didn’t get anything new. And so, we decided that the best thing we could do was to suspend the case indefinitely and see if something didn’t turn up.
Yeardley: [00:41:27] So, he goes free.
Bob: [00:41:28] He goes free. He goes free.
Yeardley: [00:41:31] Do we now have a double jeopardy situation?
Bob: [00:41:34] We do not, because a hung jury is not jeopardy. If they had acquitted him, we could never try him again. But they didn’t. And so, the first trial ended in a hung jury, which was a frustration. And I feel thoroughly confident that had we not lost that evidence, Glazebrook would have been convicted in 1983. He almost was anyway, whilst trying that case with one hand behind our backs.
Lins: [00:42:07] This case should have been solved back then. As we all know, the biggest hang up to this thing was based on what the jury said, “If you could have put him in the house, we would have convicted him.” I’m going, “Oh, my gosh, that’s the part that got thrown out.”
Yeardley: [00:42:21] That’s devastating. How do you deal with a blow like that? Because it set this case aside for years, decades. Where do you put a defeat like that?
Lins: [00:42:41] As Dan and Dave can attest to, we carry these with us. Some of them never go away, and you wish there was something you could do. I’ve sat with many victims of crime when I’ve been alone with them, and I’ve broken into tears. This is part of me. This is how I operate, when I do my cases, I take them home with me, I live with them. They become a part of me. They never go away. Some of them are worse than others, this one in particular. I’m a type of person, as my wife can tell you that I hardly ever show emotion. This case is one of those few that tore me apart when it happened. I remember when I saw her daughter, I just about lost it there.
Bob: [00:43:54] It cost Sonia Stone’s daughter 40 years of angst behind the fact that her mother’s killer had not been brought to justice. And, of course, Lins keeps up with people, and he’s kept in touch with Sonia’s daughter all of these years. We never let this case go. This saga, this long story from 1981 until 2023, which is 42 years, Lins, bless his heart, all of these years, never gave up.
Yeardley: [00:44:42] Well, Small Town Fam, that concludes Part 1 of The Weight. We leave the story in 1983, after the case ends in a hung jury, and the men of police and district attorney’s office are convinced is guilty of a horrific murder, unimaginably walks free. That’s right. Michael Glazebrook gets to move on with his life. And the murder of Sonia Stone remains, technically speaking, unsolved. And then, because there’s no new trial and police have no other suspects, the case goes cold.
[00:45:20] Some in the community wonder if police focused on the wrong person. Others forget about the crime completely. But of course, the story doesn’t end there. The murder of Sonia weighs heavily on law enforcement for decades. And then finally, there’s a break, which is where our next episode begins. Small Town Fam, we will see you next week for Part 2 and the conclusion of The Weight. Don’t miss it.[Small Town Dicks theme music]
Yeardley: [00:45:55] Small Town Dicks is produced by Gary Scott and me, Yeardley Smith, and coproduced by Detectives Dan and Dave. Our production manager is Logan Heftel. Our senior editor is Soren Begin, and our editor is Christina Bracamontes. Our associate producers are Erin Gaynor and the Real Nick Smitty. Our social media is run by the one and only, Monika Scott. Our music is composed by John Forest, and our books are cooked and cats wrangled by Ben Cornwell.
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Dan: [00:47:17] -in search of the finest-
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Dave: So, thanks for listening, Small Town Fam.
Yeardley: [00:47:26] Nobody’s better than you.
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