New Scenario in Blake Case

Times Staff Writer

Robert Blake’s lawyer asked a judge Wednesday to allow him to introduce evidence that someone else killed the actor’s wife, possibly to curry favor with Marlon Brando’s son.

M. Gerald Schwartzbach, Blake’s fourth lawyer in the case, laid out a new scenario in court papers that does not involve the actor, best-known for his role as “Baretta” on TV. The defense motion alleges that one of the prosecution’s star witnesses, a retired stuntman named Ronald “Duffy” Hambleton, is at the center of a conspiracy filled with aging drug users and transients.

Los Angeles County Superior Court Judge Darlene E. Schempp will consider the defense request Oct. 14 in Van Nuys. Jury selection is set for later that month.

Blake, 71, is accused of fatally shooting his wife, Bonny Lee Bakley, 44, near a Studio City restaurant where they ate diner minutes earlier. He faces life in prison if convicted of the May 2001 slaying.


Schempp in February rejected another lawyer’s effort to blame Christian Brando for the death of Bakley, his former lover. She ruled that Dianne Mattson, who said she overheard Brando threaten to put a bullet in Bakley’s head, lacked credibility.

Now Blake’s defense team is trying to connect Hambleton to Brando, who they say was enraged when he learned that Blake, not he, was the father of Bakley’s daughter.

Prosecutor Shellie L. Samuels called the motion “farfetched.” She said Hambleton has told authorities that he does not know Christian Brando or others alleged in the scheme.