On the latest episode of “Marcia Clark Investigates the First 48,” prosecutor Marcia Clark reexamines the murder of Bonny Lee Bakley, wife of actor Robert Blake. Bakley was shot and killed on May 4, 2001 in Blake’s car after the two had eaten at a Los Angeles restaurant. (Blake claims the murder occurred when he went back into the restaurant because he forgot his gun.)
Blake was charged with first-degree murder with special circumstances and two counts of solicitation of murder. Two stuntmen, Gary McLarty and Ronald “Duffy” Hambleton, testified in court that they each declined Blake’s offer to kill Bakley.
On March 16, 2005, Blake was acquitted of the charges. But on November 18, 2005 in a civil trial he was found liable for her death and ordered to pay $30 million to Bakley’s estate (later cut to $15 million).
Clark tells A&E Real Crime what swayed her opinion about who was really at fault for Bakley’s death.
What was the biggest surprise in the Robert Blake case you discovered while reinvestigating it?
I knew about the stuntmen, and I knew about their checkered pasts in terms of drugs, et cetera. But what I didn’t know was that the gun was found a few feet away. I didn’t realize how close it was. The dumpster was parked literally right in front of the car where her body was found and the gun was thrown [inside it].
Who needs to throw the gun [away] so close to the crime scene?
What did you think during the trial?
It looked like a tough case to me because you had these stuntmen in the middle of it all, and they were problematic in terms of their pasts and the fact that they had been so reluctant to talk to police at first.
I couldn’t say for sure that the jury got it wrong. The more I got into it, the more I examined the evidence, the more I was able to take a closer look, the more convinced I became that the jury did get it wrong.
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