Published January 13, 2015
In the months before the arrest of Robert Blake and his bodyguard for the killing of Bonny Lee Bakley, the actor's co-defendant said in e-mails that something was about to happen "that could send me far away," a detective testified Monday.
Earle Caldwell, Blake's handyman and bodyguard, told his girlfriend Lisa Johnson in one e-mail: "I'm sorry that the fact I am saving someone's life interfered with your schedule. ... And it's not just Robert's I'm talking about. Think about it."
The e-mails were written in August and October of 2001. Johnson turned them over to police on April 8, 2002, just days before police arrested Blake and Caldwell in the shooting death of the actor's wife.
Caldwell is charged with conspiracy. Blake, 69, is charged with murder, solicitation of murder, conspiracy and lying in wait. The prosecution is presenting testimony against them in a preliminary hearing that will determine whether there is enough evidence for a trial.
Testimony on the e-mails was delivered by Detective Brian Tyndall, who did not interpret what they meant. He said a second e-mail began with Caldwell apologizing for not being able to deal with his girlfriend's problems.
"I was busy saving someone's life. ... Things are about to happen in my life that could send me far away," the e-mail said.
After Tyndall left the stand, Detective Thomas Mathew testified that when he searched Caldwell's home he found a catalogue for ordering manuals describing how to build gun silencers and offering publications including "The Killing Zone," which gives information about ambushes.
Caldwell's attorney, Arna Zlotnik, pointed out that the material was not instructive, but merely listed things that could be purchased by mail. The witness said he did not know whether Caldwell ordered any of the material.
Zlotnik also noted that pages highlighted by the detective contained numerous other titles including books on warfare, bodyguarding, home security and fishing.
Bakley, 44, was shot to death in a car after she and Blake dined at Vitello's restaurant in Studio City on May 4, 2001. Blake claims she was shot when he returned to the car to retrieve a handgun he carried for protection and accidentally left behind in the restaurant.
Blake and Bakley had married in November 2000 after it was determined that he was the father of a a baby she had in June 2000. Blake has said he met Bakley in a jazz club and had casual sex with her.
A retired police homicide detective who became a friend of Blake testified the actor solicited Bakley's killing while she was pregnant. Two retired stuntmen have testified that Blake solicited them individually to kill his wife.
Blake and Caldwell were arrested on April 18, 2002. Caldwell is free on $1 million bail posted by Blake, but the actor has been jailed ever since. His attorney will ask the judge to set bail for Blake at the end of the preliminary hearing.