Search Is On for Killer of Actor Robert Blake's Wife

The slain wife of actor Robert Blake was obsessed with celebrities and promised in a prenuptial agreement to abandon behavior that checkered her past, the woman's friends and attorneys said.

Bonny Lee Bakley, 45, was gunned down Friday while sitting in a car near an Italian restaurant in Studio City where she and Blake had eaten dinner.

Results of an autopsy were sealed at the request of homicide detectives who were concerned their release would interfere with the investigation, coroner's spokesman Scott Carrier said Monday.

The autopsy was performed Sunday, but toxicology tests and microscopic tissue studies were pending, Carrier said.

Homicide detectives on Monday also searched a construction site near the shooting scene. Police refused to confirm television reports that evidence had been collected.

"We are making no comments on any developments," said Officer Ed Funes, a police spokesman.

Blake, 67, said the shooting occurred while he was returning to the restaurant alone to retrieve a handgun that he left behind. He was treated for high blood pressure after the shooting and was released from a hospital Sunday.

Police said Blake was not a suspect.

The couple married after DNA tests confirmed that Bakley's 11-month-old daughter, Rose Lenore Sophia, was fathered by Blake. The girl was originally named Christian Shannon Brando because Bakley believed the father was Christian Brando, the son of actor Marlon Brando.

Bakley also has a 7-year-old daughter named Jeri Lee Lewis, whom she claimed was the offspring of rock 'n' roll legend Jerry Lee Lewis.

Jerome Kearney, an assistant federal defender for U.S. District Court in Little Rock, Ark., recalled representing Bakley after she was arrested in 1996 by Arkansas Highway Police for possession of false identification and stolen credit cards.

"The one thing I remember about her is that one of her children (was) from Jerry Lee Lewis," Kearney said.

The probation office conducted an investigation and confirmed that Bakley and the rock 'n' roll singer had a child together.

"Everyone was just amazed. At first I thought she was maybe a little crazy or something because she was saying my child is Jerry Lee Lewis' child, but it turned out to be so," he said.

Linda Gail Lewis, sister of the rock legend, became friends with Bakley and remembered that she was outgoing and friendly.

"We definitely know she (Bakley) liked being around famous men," Linda Gail Lewis said Monday from her home in Nashville, Tenn.

Bakley also was involved in the pornography business, she said.

"Apparently she was selling adult movies and stuff and posing herself in the nude," Linda Gail Lewis said. "Because I knew her, something about that was written about me."

Bakley and Linda Gail Lewis sued the Daily Mirror newspaper in June 1991 for libel and slander in U.S. District Court in Tennessee after it was reported that they sold pornography, according to court documents.

All parties agreed to dismiss the suit in 1992.

Linda Gail Lewis said she was able to reach an out-of-court settlement over the matter, but agreed not to disclose the settlement amount.

Court records also showed that Bakley was charged in Tennessee in 1995 with "criminal simulation," a type of fraud involving the misrepresentation of the value of property. She pleaded guilty to a lesser charge in 1996.

Court documents did not detail what type of property she misrepresented.

Blake's attorney, Harland Braun, said the couple had signed a prenuptial agreement before their marriage in October that stated Bakley couldn't engage in any criminal activity.

Although Bakley lived in a unit behind Blake's home, the marriage was improving, Braun said.

Police recovered two 9 mm handguns and seized phone records and other paperwork from Blake's house during a Saturday search, Braun said. Police have interviewed Blake twice since the shooting, Braun added.

Braun said his own investigators also have started combing through documents in Bakley's unit and have found numerous letters from a lonely hearts service she was running.

Blake was carrying a gun because his wife feared for her life, Braun said. It was unclear who or what she was afraid of, he said.

"Murder is usually a highly motivated thing but here we have a woman we don't know a lot about," Braun said. "Someone took that opportunity to kill her when Robert left the car. She was very vulnerable."

In addition to her baby and the 7-year-old Jeri Lee Lewis, Bakley had two children, who are now in their 20s, from her first marriage, the Los Angeles Times said.

The 11-month-old baby has been placed in the care of Blake's relatives.

Blake, whose given name is Mickey Gubitosi, began his acting career at age 5, appearing in MGM's Our Gang series. He is best known for his Emmy-winning role as detective Tony Baretta in television's 1970s Baretta.