LOS ANGELES – A former private investigator is expected to testify months ahead of time in Robert Blake's (search) murder trial. The "conditional examination" of William Jordan on Friday was requested by prosecutors who said that because he is more than 70 years old, he may be unavailable at the time of the trial. His testimony would still be admitted at trial.
Friday's hearing before Superior Court Judge Darlene Schempp was also expected to include discussion of several motions by Blake's new attorney, M. Gerald Schwartzbach.
Blake, star of the old "Baretta" (search) TV show, is charged with killing his 44-year-old wife in 2001. Bonny Lee Bakley (search) was found shot to death in their car outside a restaurant where they had just dined.
The trial, which has been delayed more than once, is now scheduled to start Nov. 1.
Blake and Bakley had married just months before she died, after tests showed the 70-year-old actor was the father of her daughter Rose.
According to a police affidavit, Blake hired Jordan in September 2000, in anticipation of child custody proceedings. According to phone records included in court filings, Blake spoke with Jordan frequently up to the time of Bakley's murder.
Jordan was later hired to join Blake's defense team, according to court documents.
Deputy District Attorney Shellie Samuels has accused Blake of wanting to delay the trial to extend his freedom. Blake is free on $1.5 million bail but remains under house arrest.