LOS ANGELES – Jurors in the Robert Blake (search) murder trial heard for the first time that the actor may have been afraid of an unidentified killer. They also got their first glimpse of the long-nosed, World War II-era revolver used to kill the actor's wife.
Both "firsts" came Monday during testimony by two prosecution witnesses.
Police criminalist Michael Mastrocovo unwrapped the gun that was found in a trash bin, and clicked the magazine of ammunition that was in the chamber when it was collected.
"It was found with the hammer back and there was a live round in the chamber," Mastrocovo testified.
Blake, 71, is charged with murder, soliciting others to commit a murder and lying in wait in the 2001 shooting death of Bonny Lee Bakley (search), the woman he married after learning he had fathered her baby.
The couple had dined at a restaurant and then left. According to Blake, they went to his car, where he left his wife briefly to go back inside to retrieve a gun he carried for protection but had left behind. He said he found Bakley bleeding from gunshot wounds when he returned minutes later.
Prosecutors are trying to prove the former "Baretta" (search) star made up the story about returning to the restaurant as an alibi.
Police detective Martin Pinner acknowledged on the witness stand that Blake said he feared he would be the next victim on the night his wife's slaying.
Pinner initially told the court that he did not remember if Blake had expressed concern about being killed. M. Gerald Schwartzbach, the actor's lawyer, then read a transcript of Blake's statements that night and asked again: "So Blake was expressing concern about he himself being killed?"
"Yes, sir," the detective replied.
Pinner also said Blake asked his lawyer if he could immediately make out a will protecting his young daughter. He reluctantly disclosed the information after Deputy District Attorney Shellie Samuels lost a fierce bid to limit the testimony to Blake declaring that Bakley's relatives were "piranhas," "crazy people" and "felons."
Superior Court Judge Darlene Schempp allowed the questioning because the government had already presented a portion of his comments.
Samuels maintains Blake killed his wife out of hatred and to protect their baby from her and her family. Schwartzbach is suggesting someone else killed Bakley because of her past illicit scams.