Blake Witness’ Meth Use Described

Times Staff Writer

Two people testified Wednesday that a key prosecution witness who accused Robert Blake of soliciting the slaying of his wife snorted, ate and smoked methamphetamine frequently.

Stuntman Ronald “Duffy” Hambleton kept the drug in a china hutch and on a dining room table next to a bowl of jelly beans, according to testimony in Los Angeles County Superior Court in Van Nuys.

Hambleton, one of Blake’s chief accusers, cooked the drug in a coffee pot and was prone to paranoia and hallucinations, the witnesses testified.


In the second day of presenting its case, Blake’s defense team continued attacking the state’s witnesses as lacking credibility.

Hambleton is a key prosecution witness who last week testified that Blake asked him to “snuff” his wife and offered multiple scenarios for carrying out the killing, including one similar to the actual crime. But, as with stuntman Gary McLarty, whom authorities say Blake also solicited for the slaying, the defense has focused on alleged drug use.

Blake, 71, is accused of killing Bonny Lee Bakley, 44, on May 4, 2001, as she sat in the actor’s car about two blocks from a Studio City restaurant where they had just dined. Prosecutors argue that when Blake failed to persuade three men to kill Bakley, the actor fatally shot his wife himself.

Keith Seals, a carpet installer and convicted drug dealer, said he and Hambleton did methamphetamine “pretty much every day” at the stuntman’s Lucerne Valley ranch.

The drug was “the basis of our relationship,” said Seals, 32.

He and barber Donna Sharon contradicted Hambleton’s testimony that he hasn’t used methamphetamine since 1999 and did not have a methamphetamine lab on his property.


Sharon said Hambleton would stay up for days and become paranoid, often searching for a horned animal. She said he also saw people disguised as sagebrush or Joshua trees.

In cross-examination, Deputy Dist. Atty. Shellie Samuels sought to turn the defense witnesses’ drug use against them by asking Seals and Sharon if they suffered from paranoia and delusions.

In other developments, Los Angeles County Superior Court Judge Darlene E. Schempp denied defense motions seeking the dismissal of a solicitation count involving McLarty and a special allegation that Blake ambushed his wife.