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Police Find Guns Near Blake's Home

One of the weapons found in a barn behind the actor's house may have been used to solicit his wife's murder, according to police.

October 23, 2002|Andrew Blankstein | Times Staff Writer

Two .38-caliber revolvers, live ammunition and other items were recently recovered from inside a barn behind Robert Blake's Hidden Hills home by detectives looking for further evidence implicating the actor in his wife's murder, according to a police search warrant affidavit released Tuesday.

Los Angeles police sought the warrant after a man removing gym equipment from the barn last Friday discovered one of the guns inside a wooden box behind a stereo cabinet suspended about seven feet above the floor.

The man looked into "the box and saw a blue steel gun in a holster," according to the search warrant. "He also saw a knit hat and a garment that he thought might be a pair of gloves. [The man] immediately became nervous and called LAPD."

In the document, police investigators said Blake allegedly showed a weapon in a zippered holster to the two stuntmen he is accused of soliciting to murder his wife, adding that "the gun in the barn may be that gun."

"Recovery of that firearm will give us information regarding the kinds of ammunition that Defendant Blake used and the sources of Defendant Blake's firearms," Det. Ron Ito wrote in the search warrant affidavit.

"The discovery of the box in the barn leads me to believe that the Hidden Hills house may yet contain documents or photographs which pertain to Defendant Blake's plot to ... kill his wife," Ito continued. "I believe it is likely that the clothing in the box contains gunshot residue or other trace evidence relating to the murder."

Items recovered in the search include two .38-caliber revolvers, 11 bullets, a holster, leggings, steel wool, an oil can, Teflon lubricant, a videotape, checks, a 22-inch metal bar with a black handle, and the will of Blake's daughter, Delinah.

Police declined to comment on the search warrant and its contents.

Blake's wife, Bonny Lee Bakley, was fatally shot inside the actor's car on May 4, 2001, a few blocks from Vitello's restaurant in Studio City.

Blake told police he left Bakley in the car and returned to the restaurant after dinner to retrieve a handgun he had left behind. When he returned to the car, he said, he found Bakley bleeding from the head.

Bakley was killed with a World War II-vintage German pistol, an unregistered Walther P-38, found in a dumpster about 10 feet from where Blake's car was parked the night of the shooting.

The weapon had no fingerprints and was covered in fresh motor oil, according to earlier affidavits. The one bullet left in the gun matched two casings found in and near the car.

Since the murder, police have issued more than a dozen warrants to search Blake's property or that of his co-defendant in the case, Earle Caldwell.

Blake's defense attorney, Harland W. Braun, refused to comment Tuesday on the items recovered in the most recent search of Blake's Hidden Hills property.

Meanwhile, the state Supreme Court has yet to rule on a petition by Blake's attorneys to overturn a judge's decision to deny bail for the 69-year-old actor.

Although prosecutors are not seeking the death penalty, they are charging Blake with the special circumstance of lying in wait, and the judge denied bail based on that allegation.

Civil rights attorney Paul L. Hoffman and Braun argued in a 25-page petition that prosecutors had not shown clear and convincing evidence for the special circumstance allegation.

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