Shattered Glass? Kroboth’s name change lands him in jail

Kurt Kroboth found his name “inconvenient and embarrassing,” he said on a name 
change application. Photo courtesy of the Albemarle Charlottesville Regional Jail Kurt Kroboth found his name “inconvenient and embarrassing,” he said on a name change application. Photo courtesy of the Albemarle Charlottesville Regional Jail

If Kurt Kroboth was hoping for a better life with a new identity in California, the ex-convict received a painful surprise last week when he was arrested for a parole violation that may, ironically, have stemmed from something he put on his name change application.

Kroboth is being held (under that name) without bond at the Martinez Detention Facility, according to an automated information system for Contra Costa County.

It was Kroboth’s sworn assertion on his name change application that he was not under the control of the California parole system that raised eyebrows, according to a California official, speaking on background.

Albemarle prosecutor Jon Zug, who prosecuted Kroboth for two parole violations, called Kroboth’s sworn statement “very interesting.”

Kroboth was convicted of attempted murder in 2006 after breaking into his estranged wife’s home and attacking her while wearing a vampire mask. She survived the encounter by fighting off the attacker, but testimony indicated that Kroboth, captured less than a mile away, was found with latex gloves, chloroform and a knife. The phone and power lines to the house had been disconnected.

According to Kroboth’s name change application, which was filed in March, his old name had become “inconvenient and embarrassing.” In May, Contra Costa Superior Court granted him a new one: Oscar M. Glass, with the initials, O.M.G.

Kroboth is a changed man and deserves to be free of his past, says a Richmond, California, woman who describes herself as his girlfriend. She asked not to be identified over concerns that her children wouldn’t understand.

“He’s paid and paid and paid,” says the woman. “He’s a 60-year-old man just trying to get through life.”

She says the Columbia-educated financier, who formerly earned a six-figure income, has been living modestly, renting a single room in a suburban house in the Bay Area city of Hercules.

“The person I know is pretty humble, modest and slow to get upset,” says the girlfriend, who says they met on an online dating site.

“Before three dates, he told me his entire story,” she says. “He didn’t try to twist the situation or make up excuses for himself.”

She wishes that America would emulate the European concept of the “right to be left alone” because Kroboth has become a model citizen, a man who volunteers fitness instruction at a senior center and helped repair her house.

While in prison, she says Kroboth assisted fellow inmates in getting their GEDs as he worked through his own issues with anger-management classes, medication and psychotherapy. He’s now practicing Buddhism.

Last Thursday, Kroboth’s probation officer called the girlfriend to pick up his briefcase, phone and car. The arrest has destroyed his most recent career as a tutor, she says.

“He had a tutoring client later on the day he was arrested and another one Monday. They’re going to think he flaked out, and I’m afraid he’s going to have lost all of his livelihood.”

Albemarle prosecutor Zug says he knew of about Kroboth’s planned name change before it happened and did not object because he knew it would just be a matter of time before the press found out.

“It’s gonna be back online, so anyone who Googles Oscar Glass will be referred back to Kurt Kroboth,” says Zug. “I knew it would be a waste of Kurt Kroboth’s time and money.”