CARLSBAD — A Carlsbad couple allegedly murdered by their son had filed a restraining order against him 16 years earlier for criminal threats, court documents show.
In two typed letters to the court filed in 1992, the couple outlined Dennis Brian Gluck’s mental illness, erratic behavior and threats he made against them while living in their home.
“The change in Dennis’ behavior was gradual, although progressive,” Harry Gluck wrote. “It is not possible to say just when the unusual or bizarre conduct first appeared. Still, it has been developing over the past five or six years.”
Gluck, 44, pleaded not guilty earlier this month to two counts of first-degree murder with the allegation that he used a weapon, in this case a machete, to brutally murder his parents. Jean and Harry Gluck, 77 and 90, respectively, were found dead in their home in the 2700 block of Chestnut Avenue.
Because it is alleged Dennis Gluck committed multiple murders, a special circumstance is also attached to the murder charges. If convicted of all the charges and allegations, he faces life in prison without parole or the death penalty.
In the letters, Harry Gluck wrote that his son, who was teaching at a local school, became paranoid the parents of his students were talking about him. Additionally, he said Dennis Gluck started hearing voices and experienced several “severe” panic attacks, as well as had a traumatic experience at a tae kwon do camp, which left him “severely disturbed.”
It was during this time that Dennis Gluck, a second-degree black belt in tae kwon do, lost interest in the martial arts and became heavily involved in the Bible and religion. He was “openly hostile” toward his mother, who was Catholic and not happy he left the church, as well as his father, who was Jewish, but nonpracticing, according to the letters.
His behavior also became erratic, Harry Gluck wrote. He would “prowl” the hallways and slam doors throughout the night. Additionally, he slashed his water bed and then blamed it on Jean Gluck. He also started a small fire in his room with a container that resembled a Molotov cocktail. “Efforts to communicate with him were futile; he would either refuse to respond or would grunt and then laugh as he entered his room and slammed the door shut,” Harry Gluck said.
Dennis Gluck consulted several psychiatrists, but would always break off his sessions after several meetings or when the doctor wanted to prescribe him medication, which he believed he did not need, Harry Gluck wrote. He also spent time in a state mental health facility in Sacramento after a prior arrest; however, he used the “ruse” that he would take his medication to get out, Harry Gluck said.
A San Diego Superior Court judge granted the restraining order Nov. 10, 1992, court records show. It was good for three years and stated that Dennis Gluck could not come within 100 yards of his parents.
Dennis Gluck’s brother, Richard Gluck, a San Diego attorney, filed the order on behalf of his parents. He did not return a request to discuss the case or the subsequent years that followed. However, he told police investigators after the murders that Dennis Gluck lived off and on with his parents, according to court documents.
Investigators believe Dennis Gluck was living with his parents at the time of their deaths.
Mexican police apprehended him on the evening of Feb. 26 on a bus near Ensenada and turned him over to Carlsbad police detectives around 1:35 a.m. Feb. 27 at the San Ysidro Port of Entry, authorities said.
Investigators said transactions from Mexico started to appear on Dennis Gluck’s ATM card Jan. 16. Authorities believe he traveled approximately 2,000 miles through Baja and mainland Mexico during his time in the country.
Police found Dennis Gluck’s parents’ mutilated bodies in their home Jan. 18 after being called out by family members to check on the couple, according to the affidavit for an arrest warrant. When police arrived Jean Gluck’s brother, Tom Regan, 78, who is legally blind and hearing impaired, was at the residence and granted access to the home so officers could complete a welfare check. Previously, Regan had told one of his nephews that he believed the couple left Jan. 16 with Dennis Gluck, but hadn’t returned home yet. Regan also resided at the residence.
Somewhere down the line Gluck’s attorney may request a mental competency hearing on his behalf, said Larry Beyersdorf, a supervisor of the public defender’s North County office in Vista. However, he couldn’t say when that determination would come, except that it’s something that is not rushed into.
Such hearings are held to determine whether the defendant is capable of understanding the court proceedings and assisting in their defense.
If found incompetent, defendants are sent to a state hospital for an average of 90 days to receive psychiatric treatment, at which time their case is put on hold, Beyersdorf said. They are then re-evaluated and their case is resumed if they are found competent. If they are found not competent, they are sent back to the hospital for more treatment.
In 2000, Dennis Gluck pleaded guilty in a San Diego Superior Court to threatening a person with a machete and was placed on probation, according to court documents.
Gluck remains in custody on a no bail hold. His next scheduled court appearance is an April 8 preliminary hearing.