Blake Cancels Wife's Funeral Service After Location Revealed
LOS ANGELES – Robert Blake canceled a small religious service for his slain wife Wednesday night after hordes of media showed up at the funeral home, his lawyer said.
"We had a private religious service planned," said Harland Braun. "A priest was coming and Robert was going to be there with his three children. But now we're afraid if he showed up there would be a riot."
Braun said he received a call from his investigator who was at the scene and said the funeral director could not get close enough to the building to bring the body of Bonny Lee Bakley inside.
"We have to look out for the living and we're afraid someone might get hurt," Braun said in a phone interview with The Associated Press.
"I've never seen anything like this," said the attorney who has handled many high profile cases. "The emotions in this case are running so high."
Cameras, helicopters and reporters went to the funeral home after the Los Angeles County coroner's spokesman announced the body was being released for shipment to New Jersey, where the family plans to hold a funeral for Bakley.
Braun said Blake wanted to have a small, dignified service for her before that. He said the actor also was considering going to New Jersey for the funeral.
"I'm going to advise him against going," said Braun.
Police Chief Bernard Parks indicated Wednesday that the investigation into Bakley's killing was progressing slowly.
"It's a homicide that at least at this time has very few clues," Parks said on the KFWB radio program Ask the Chief.
Bonny Lee Bakley, 45, was shot to death May 4 in her husband's car after the couple dined at a Studio City restaurant.
Blake, who married her four months ago after DNA tests showed he was the father of her 11-month-old baby, has said she was shot while he returned to the restaurant to pick up a gun he left behind.
Bakley's body was to be released to Armstrong Mortuary in Los Angeles and then shipped to Tuttle Funeral Home in New Jersey, coroner's spokesman Scott Carrier said.
Parks asked the public to allow facts rather than speculation to drive the murder probe.
"It's going to require an extensive amount of investigation," Parks said.
Asked if Blake was a suspect, Parks said, "No one's been eliminated. It would not be an investigation if we just chose who should be a suspect and who shouldn't."
Parks expressed dismay about media coverage that has focused on Bakley's shady past.
"The media has been given a platform to desecrate the memory of the victim," Parks said. "... Whatever her character was, she did not deserve to be a homicide victim."
However, Parks stopped short of criticizing statements made by Braun, who was hired by Blake shortly after the killing.
"I think he's doing what defense attorneys do," Parks said. "I think he's trying to defend his client before any accusations are made."
Braun was joined Tuesday by Barry Levin, another top criminal lawyer, even though Blake has not been charged with anything.
Braun said that Levin, a former police sergeant, would work to ensure that a proper police investigation is done.
Documents found in Bakley's home showed that she had been running a business that solicited money from lonely men through the mail. She also had a criminal record in Arkansas for possessing false identifications.
Audio tapes Bakley made of some of her phone conversations show a celebrity-obsessed woman who wanted to marry someone famous.
"I like being around celebrities," she said on one tape. "It makes you feel better than other people."