Bakley died at the hospital at 10:15 p.m.
Several witnesses testified that Blake's behavior that evening
seemed disingenuous, and that his crying appeared forced and
without tears. But others testified that Blake was vomiting and
Blake's hands tested positive for five consistent particles of
gunshot residue on the night of the murder, but the state's own
experts testified that those particles could have come from
Blake's handling his own revolver that evening. The prosecution
contends that Blake may have rubbed gunshot residue off his
hands by touching his head, shirt and the grass.
This note was found in the car of Blake's former handyman, Earle
Caldwell. Prosecutors say it's a list of items needed to kill
Bakley and bury her body in the desert. The defense claims it
lists tools and cleaning products Caldwell needed to tend to
Blake's home, and that "25 auto" was a reminder to get his oil
changed at 25,000 miles. Murder and conspiracy charges against
Caldwell were ultimately dropped due to a lack of evidence.
Caldwell recently invoked his Fifth Amendment right not to
The so-called "murder list" detectives found in the car of
Blake's bodyguard Earle Caldwell was nothing more than a
handyman's shopping list, the defense says. Blake's workshop
contained a slew of tools and implements that he and Caldwell
used on odd jobs and remodeling projects around the actor's
Caldwell may have needed items like a "small sledge" and
"crowbar" during the extensive remodeling being done at Blake's
Hidden Hills property, according to the defense.
Blake's house went through several phases of remodeling,
according to the testimony of Blake's daughter Delinah, who also
lived there for a time.
Another view of construction at Blake's home.
Prosecutors believe that "pool acid," "Draino" [sic] and "duct
tape — black" written on Caldwell's list were needed to fulfill
Blake's alleged diabolical scheme to rid every trace of Bonny
Lee Bakley. But the defense says these were normal products
needed to do things like acid-wash a pool or unclog drains.
Blake had other pool-maintenance products, and black duct tape,
in his workshop, as seen here.
Blake's Hidden Hills home had to be baby-proofed once Rosie
arrived, according to his daughter Delinah's testimony. For
example, the "old rugs" on Caldwell's list were used for
wrapping around the exposed wooden beams, not for wrapping up a
body, says the defense.
Blake claims he and stuntman Ronald "Duffy" Hambleton met to
talk about a film project, not a murder project. Blake spent
thousands of dollars on new chrome and refurbishment of his
motorcycle in preparation, he says, for the biker flick he
discussed with Duffy.
As patrons enter the front door of Vitello's, co-owners Steve
and Joe Restivo might be seen standing behind the counter to the
left, taking names and making sure regular customers get their
favorite tables. The red vinyl booth at table #42, slightly
visible in the entryway to the main dining room, was Blake's
favorite table. It's where he and Bakley ate the night she was
killed, and it's where Blake says he returned to retrieve his
gun when someone else shot his wife.
No waitstaff or patrons can confirm Blake's alibi. The defense
contends it's likely he was missed as he slipped in, took a
straight path to table #42 to grab his .38 revolver and slipped
back out. One view of the front door, standing here by the
kitchen area, appears to be obscured.
Prosecutors say Blake's alibi doesn't add up: If he was already
in the car and had keys in the ignition when he realized he
forgot his gun, then why didn't he drive back to Vitello's to
pick it up rather than walk the block and a half, leaving Bakley
Blake typically prefers to walk, the defense says.
Was Bakley's shooter right-handed or left-handed? No conclusive
evidence was presented, but the defense co-opted this
crime-scene reconstruction photo of Det. Steven Eguchi posing in
the general area where the killer may have stood, in an attempt
to make a point about trajectory, the location of spent casings,
and a right-handed killer theory.
Blake is left-handed.
On March 16, 2005, Robert Blake was spared life in prison when a
jury found him not guilty of the murder of Bonny Lee Bakley. He
was also acquitted of soliciting stuntman Gary "Whiz Kid"
McLarty to kill Bakley. When jurors announced they were
deadlocked 11-1 for an acquittal on the second solicitation
charge, involving stuntman Ronald "Duffy" Hambleton, the judge
dismissed the count "in the interest of justice."
After his victory in court, Blake, 71, thanked his lawyers,
announced that he was broke and needed a job, and barked "Shaddup!"
at a reporter who asked if he knew who Bonny Lee Bakley's real