Five years after Romeo Glaze was first reported missing, the man prosecutors believe was responsible for his death has pleaded not guilty in Del Norte Superior Court.
Michael Loftin entered the plea before special Judge Josh Fredericks on Wednesday.
He will return May 29 for the setting of a jury trial, according to Deputy District Attorney Todd Zocchi.
Loftin was arrested last August after reportedly confessing in June to killing Glaze. Zocchi asked for Loftin’s arrest after reviewing reports on the case by the state Department of Justice and the Del Norte County Sheriff’s Office.
“Subsequent investigation revealed that Loftin admitted to multiple people, including at least, one family member, to killing Romeo Glaze,” Zocchi’s declarations stated at the time. “Additional investigation resulted in a percipient witness (eyewitness) to the homicide giving a recorded statement that Loftin killed Glaze.”
Five years ago
Glaze was 26 when he was reported missing by his sisters in March 2014. His body was found in Klamath Glen nearly a month later and DOJ investigators reported the cause of death was a single gunshot wound to the head.
Loftin is familiar to local law enforcement and court officials, as he has had several encounters with each over the years.
County superior court records show Loftin has made 35 appearances since 2002, eight of them on criminal cases.
In 2009, Loftin was in court for assaulting a prisoner in a holding cell while awaiting another court appearance. At the time, a combination of assault arrests and probation violations made him ineligible for bail.
In October 2014, Loftin avoided trial by pleading guilty to stabbing another person in the arm with an eel hook.
In June 2018, Zocchi explained that a second strike conviction was not included in the charges because while the 2014 case did result in a felony strike, it occurred after the date of the homicide.
Loftin, 36, remains in county jail without bail.