More than 40 years after a panel of their predecessors failed to reach a unanimous verdict, a California jury has convicted a 67-year-old man of raping and murdering a young mother in 1981 while the victim’s daughter was at school.
Michael Scott Glazebrook’s fate was sealed Tuesday at the end of an eight-day trial in a Monterey County courtroom, prosecutors announced. Glazebrook, a Seaside resident, has long been accused of murdering Sonia Carmen Herok-Stone, a 30-year-old mother whose daughter was 4 years old at the time of the grisly strangulation murder.
Herok-Stone fought for her life, and that is the reason her killer has now been brought to justice, authorities said.
“On October 15, 1981, she was found murdered in her home while her daughter was at school. She had been sexually assaulted and strangled to death with her own pantyhose,” prosecutors said in a press release. “Herok-Stone had a broken left ring fingernail with blood beneath it, indicating she had scratched her killer before her death.”
Glazebrook was identified as a suspect just one day after the slaying and he previously stood trial for murder. Prosecutors said Glazebrook, a 25-year-old who lived across the street from the victim in Carmel, was quickly found to have a suspicious scratch on his cheek for which he had no good explanation. From there, he allegedly told conflicting tales to police and his parents.
“Glazebrook made inconsistent statements about when and how he got the scratch. He told the detective he got it cutting plexiglass in his garage, but he told his parents that he got it in a fight at Monterey Peninsula College,” the Monterey County District Attorney’s Office said.
Back in 1983, when the case first went to trial, jurors did not have before them the crucial evidence of Glazebrook’s DNA under Herok-Stone’s broken fingernail. Simply put, the forensic science and testing that secured Glazebrook’s conviction in 2023 did not exist at the time of the murder, and so the original panel of 12 jurors voted against the defendant’s guilt 9-3. The judge declared a mistrial and prosecutors later dropped the case, believing the evidence available at the time wasn’t enough to get a conviction.
Unfortunately for Glazebrook, the investigation into the rape and murder was reopened in 2020 and double jeopardy issues were not implicated because the original jurors were not unanimous (i.e., a hung jury doesn’t mean you can’t be brought to trial again for the same offense — especially if that offense is one where there is no statute of limitations, like murder). And in the end, the 2023 panel did not have the same unanimity problem.
Prosecutors noted expert witnesses in the California DOJ testified before jurors. The witnesses said forensic testing found that the DNA under Herok-Stone’s fingernails matched Glazebrook.
Glazebrook was found guilty in short order of first-degree murder and for using a deadly weapon while committing rape or attempted rape.
At the scheduled sentencing on April 26, Glazebrook will face a sentence of life in prison without the possibility of parole.
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