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Prosecutors Allege Blake Fired Gun

The new allegation is raised in response to the actor's attempt to have charges dismissed.

October 18, 2003|Jean Guccione | Times Staff Writer

Los Angeles County prosecutors took aim Friday at an earlier claim by Robert Blake's lawyer that the capital murder case against the actor is based on "pure speculation."

"Defendant Blake was doing what he said he was going to do -- ambushing victim [Bonny Lee] Bakley in the manner he had proposed to two people weeks before" the killing, the prosecutors wrote in their rebuttal to Blake's motion to dismiss.

Deputy Dist. Attys. Patrick R. Dixon and Shellie L. Samuels also upped the ante by adding a new allegation: that the 70-year-old actor personally used a firearm to kill his wife. Although prosecutors have argued that Blake pulled the trigger, the new allegation could add 25 years to any sentence.

Bakley, 44, was killed May 4, 2001, outside a Studio City restaurant where the couple had dined. Blake told police he went back to the restaurant to retrieve a handgun he had left at their table and returned to find his wife bleeding from the head.

Prosecutors allege that Blake "detested" Bakley, plotted to have her arrested and solicited her murder before finally killing her himself. The couple married only after Bakley gave birth to their daughter, Rosie.

Last month, attorney Thomas A. Mesereau Jr. asked Los Angeles County Superior Court Judge Darlene E. Schempp, who will preside over the trial, to dismiss the murder and conspiracy charges against Blake, citing insufficient evidence. He argued that there are no eyewitnesses and no forensic evidence linking Blake to the Walther P-38 pistol used to fatally shoot Bakley.

A hearing on the motion is set for Oct. 31 in Van Nuys. The murder trial is scheduled for February. The former "Baretta" star faces life in prison without parole if convicted.

In addition to the murder and conspiracy charges, Blake also is accused of soliciting two former stuntmen to kill Bakley.

Prosecutors called phone card records documenting dozens of telephone calls between Blake and the stuntmen "particularly damning evidence." They said the phone card not only proves that Blake was in contact with the men, who testified in court that the actor asked them to kill Bakley, but also that Blake "wanted to keep those contacts secret."

Dixon and Samuels also rejected defense arguments that the gunshot residue found on Blake's clothing might have come from another source, noting that the judge at the preliminary hearing pointed out that such findings "could not rule out that Mr. [Blake] was the shooter."

"While no one saw defendant Blake commit the murder, no one saw anyone else commit the murder either, let alone anyone else who happened to have a powerful motive to kill the victim and had planned such a murder for weeks," the prosecutors wrote.

In a separate motion, prosecutors also rejected co-defendant Earle S. Caldwell's motion to dismiss the charge that he conspired with Blake.

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