A Question Of Guilt: The Bakley Murder

Who Killed Bonny Lee Bakley?

Christina Scheier and Bonny Lee Bakley had been best friends since they were kids.

"Bonny had set out the goal to be a celebrity when she was very young," says Christina. "She wanted to be on TV and say to all the people growing up, 'Hey everybody, here I am now, now you'll really notice me.'"

Ironically, Bonny achieved her lifelong goal only when she died. Months before, Bonny had married actor Robert Blake, a Hollywood loner. Police believe he shot Bonny to death on May 4th, 2001. She was 44.

The story of how Bonny Lee Bakley ended up in Hollywood, married to a one-time big name star - reads like a movie script. Peter Van Sant reports.

Growing up in New Jersey, Christina and Bonny wanted to be famous. Bonny knew she was attractive. "She knew she had an incredible body," says Christina.

Christina says in the 1970s, when Bonny was in her 20's, she began seeking out celebrities. "She went to see Tom Jones, Frankie Valli, and she really stalked Frankie," says Christina.

Bonny also tried to make it as an actress. Calling herself Lee Bonny, she and Christina were extras in several films shot in New York. Bonny was willing to do anything to achieve her goals of fame. "She always told me that you had to sleep your way to get to the top," says Christina.

At 21, Bonnie married her cousin Paul, with whom she had two children. "She wanted to be like Jerry Lee Lewis," says Christina. Jerry Lee Lewis also married his cousin.

Lewis became an obsession for Bonny. In 1980, still married to her cousin, Bonny moved down south. One day she arrived, uninvited at Jerry Lee's boyhood home. Frankie Jean Lewis, the rocker's sister, says Bonny sashayed into her living room with a tape recorder playing striptease music.

"She takes off her blouse and peels down her stockings," says Frankie. "It was good. She said 'I'd like to meet your brother.' So I got Jerry on the phone and I said 'Jerry we got us a real live one here' and he said 'Send her up,' that's what he always said."

Frankie, who runs a museum honoring her brother, says Bonny spent the next six years in Memphis, pursuing Jerry Lee. Christina says Bonny was planning to blackmail Jerry Lee. "Bonny told me she was going to get pregnant," she says. "Then she would get him to divorce his wife and marry her."

When Bonny did get pregnant, she planted the story of the impending birth in the tabloids. But when a test revealed the baby girl wasn't Jerry Lee Lewis', he refused to leave his wife. So Bonny finally give up on Jerry Lee.

Baby Jerry Lee joined Bonny's two other children, and was raised by her husband, Paul.

Bonny made money by preying on lonely men in a lucrative scam. "She would advertise in porno magazines and lonely hearts magazines," says Christina. Once a man showed interest, she would send nude photos of herself in exchange for cash.

Andrea Weber's late grandfather, William, read a personal ad placed by Bonny. Bonny and William, who was 82, started writing, and one day Bonny surprised William when she showed up at his Florida home. Soon after they were married. But after a week of marriage, Bonny disappeared, leaving William heartbroken.

"He still had the wedding ring on his hand," says Andrea. "Bonny was into my grandfather's life for one week and basically walked off with $80,000. Bonny was a very cold, calculated con woman, and what she did to my grandfather is something I'll never forgive her."

What happens when Bonny moves to Hollywood? Find out.


  • Emily Cartwright

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