Blake, The Evidence & The Gun

Attorney Harland Braun has said repeatedly that he believes in the innocence of his client, Robert Blake. Wednesday, he both argued for the actor's release on bail - an unsuccessful request - and offered an alternate theory on why gunshot residue was found on Blake's hands and clothes.

Braun says even the lab reports on the residue acknowledge that its source is not known and it could have come from other guns the actor owns and not the gun police found near the scene of the murder.

Police believe the gun they found - not far from the place where Blake's wife, Bonny Lee Bakely, was shot last year - is the murder weapon.

A judge denied bail for actor Robert Blake Wednesday at the urging of prosecutors who laid out in legal papers the case they say will prove he killed his wife.

In another development Wednesday, Bakely's brother - Joseph, 36 - was arrested on a parole violation. Joseph Bakely was taken into custody after appearing on a television program to talk about Bonny's murder.

At the bail hearing Wednesday, Superior Court Judge Lloyd Nash made his ruling after listening to Blake make a personal plea for his release, saying, "This is my right to fight for my life."

Blake said he wants to be able help his lawyer prepare his defense, and he said he is so severely dyslexic that he cannot read any of the legal documents but would have to have them read to him.

Judge Nash said he was not ruling out the possibility that Blake could be released on bail later, but said he wants to see the evidence in the case at the preliminary hearing before he makes such a ruling.

"I am not opposed to your request for bail," he told Blake. "I can't make a decision until after I hear the evidence."

He scheduled another hearing for May 21 to set the date for the preliminary hearing.

Blake's attorney, Harland Braun, was arguing when Blake asked if he could speak.

"For the past year I've been silent while this town and this country said whatever they wanted about me," Blake said.

Prosecutors had attached to their motion to deny bond extensive phone records allegedly showing that Blake, 68, made dozens of telephone calls to two stuntmen and a private investigator in the days preceding the May 4, 2001, shooting of Bonny Lee Bakley, 44.

Braun had planned to seek the actor's release on $1 million bail.

Blake was jailed without bail on April 18 on charges of murder, solicitation of murder, conspiracy and the special circumstance of lying in wait. His bodyguard, Earle Caldwell, 46, was arrested on the conspiracy count and was released on $1 million bail posted by Blake.

Police claim Blake, star of the 1970s TV show "Baretta," had contempt for Bakley. He married her on Nov. 18, 2000, five months after she gave birth to their daughter, Rose.

Bakley was shot as she sat in Blake's car down the street from Vitello's restaurant, where the couple had just dined.

The calls billed to the telephone calling card were made to two stuntmen that Blake allegedly solicited to kill her and to the private investigator. The calls continued up until late in the afternoon of the day Bakley was killed.

There was also a call at 2:37 a.m. the day after the killing to the private investigator.

Prosecutors also summarized the testimony of a witness who said Blake talked of wanting Bakley to get an abortion and that, in the alternative, he could "whack her."

The witness told investigators that Blake described Bakley as "the scum of the Earth" and said that she "labored under the delusion that ... Blake would marry her."

The document said that a stuntman named Roy Harrison arranged separate meetings for Blake and two other stuntmen at Dupar's restaurant during which Blake suggested methods by which his wife could be murdered.

"Defendant Blake asked this witness to hide in defendant Blake's van which would be parked in a desert area and kill Bonny Lee Bakley," the document said.

The filing said he told the unidentified person that his bodyguard would have dug holes for burial.

Prosecutors said Blake suggested to the stuntman that the murder could take place behind Vitello's and that he showed him a .25-caliber gun he claimed was untraceable.

"This stuntman suggested that defendant Blake buy a prepaid phone card in order to talk to the stuntman about the plot without leaving a record on defendant Blake's phone bill," the document said.

Later, prosecutors said, Harrison arranged a meeting with a second stuntman and that Blake drove the man to his house and proposed that he kill Bakley as she sat in a parked car.

Attached to the papers were letters from Bakley to Blake discussing her pregnancy, her belief that birth control pills failed, her desire to marry Blake and her demands in connection with a marriage. One letter said, "I hate to tell you this, but the pill did not work for me."

They also included a transcript of a telephone conversation in which Blake sought to persuade her to get an abortion.