Tapes Provide Inside Look at Blake Wife's Celebrity Quest
LOS ANGELES – An arrest in the slaying of actor Robert Blake's wife is not imminent, the detective heading the investigation announced Monday, and asked the media to back off on reporting rumors about her death.
"At this point we have not identified a single person as the suspect responsible for the murder," Detective Garret Zimmon told reporters at a news conference.
"Contrary to some rumors there is no pending arrest of a suspect in this case," he added.
The statement came shortly after the release of tape recordings that Blake's wife, Bonnie Lee Bakley, made of herself discussing whether she should claim that Blake or Christian Brando was the father of her newborn daughter.
Blake married Bakley after paternity tests determined that he was indeed the father. Bakley, 45, was shot to death May 4 outside a restaurant where the couple had just dined.
"Who would you go for more if you were me — Blake or Christian?" Bakley said in one recorded conversation released by Blake's lawyer Harland Braun. "... I'd probably feel more safe with Blake ..."
In the telephone conversation with a man identified only as Ray, he advised her: "Blake ain't gonna let you hustle him. Blake's too slick." She responded, "You think Blake is like a genius?"
The man replied, "I think he's hip. You ain't gonna get a dime out of him.... He's not a dummy. I think he's going to use you more than you use him."
"What would he use me for?" asked Bakley.
"Just sex," said the man.
Bakley speculated,"For sex he could go get a hooker. Why wouldn't he do a Hugh Grant thing?"
At another point, she said, "I was thinking (Blake) is a better deal. He's older than Christian and he may not be around as long."
Brando is the son of actor Marlon Brando.
The tapes, which were found among Bakley's personal items, offer insight into the celebrity-obsessed woman. They were released by Blake attorney Harland Braun.
In the 90 minutes of conversations, the baby is heard gurgling in the background as Bakley mused, "I don't know if the baby is going to work for or against me." She said some men don't like "a kid squalling around" and said that Brando might not like having a baby because "they get on your nerves."
"Is it really his baby?" the friend asked, referring to Brando.
"Yeah," Bakley said.
"Are you certain?"
In another conversation from her home in Little Rock, Ark., Bakley's friend asked: "Bonny, did you ever try to figure out why you're attracted only to famous people?"
"It's because I wanted to be that myself," she said and described herself as a one-time outcast among her schoolmates because she was poor and didn't dress well.
"You think, 'I'll show them. I'll become a movie star,'" she said. "But it's too hard. ... If I'd kept romance out of my life it would have been possible. But I would have had to be like Katharine Hepburn and it was too hard. I kept falling for somebody.
"So I thought, why not fall for a movie star instead of being one. It's more fun."
"I like being around celebrities," she said. "It makes you feel better than other people."
Monday Reports surfaced that police may have recovered the gun used to kill Bakley. The gun, a Walther pistol, was found in a Dumpster about a block and a half away from the Los Angeles restaurant where the couple ate shortly before she was shot. However police have not confirmed whether or not it is the murder weapon.
Police also interviewed Blake's bodyguard who said that he believed the police were trying to blame Blake for a crime he did not commit.
"They have their minds made up about what happened and I'm sure they think Robert did it. That's all they're looking for," said bodyguard Earle Caldwell, who said Blake is "not looking real great. He's not feeling good. He's in
Caldwell said he believes Bakely was shot by mistake by someone targeting Blake, and suggested that Bakely herself may have hired someone to kill the actor to inherit his money.
He said police dismissed that scenario as "ridiculous."
"They're already cooking his goose," Caldwell said. "He had nothing to do with it."
Blake's lawyer Harland Braun said, "When they find that Robert Blake is innocent, they're going to have to solve a murder."
Meanwhile he has been busy issuing reports to the media detailing Bakely's shady past as a con-woman who fleeced men for money through a mail-order nude photo scheme.
"You have 25 years worth of fooling people, preying on men's feelings of loneliness and inducing them to believe she was sexually interested in people so they would send her some money," said Braun. "Sort of sad, sad cases and she was a pretty predatory person."
The circumstances of the couple's marriage are also being probed. According to the New York Post, Blake married Bakely only to avoid a court custody battle over their 11-month-old daughter.
Blake's legal team has suggested that Bakley was out to trap the former Baretta star into marriage. It's been alleged she took fertility drugs to assure her pregnancy, as a passport to life as the wife of a Hollywood celebrity.
The two married, with Bakley signing a prenup and living with the baby in a guest house on Blake's property.
The little girl is now staying with Blake's friends and family as cops try to solve the slaying.
On Sunday, Bakely's family members paid tribute to the slain mom with a makeshift memorial, setting giant cards, flowers and candles at the murder scene.
— The Associated Press contributed to this report.