Robert Blake’s prosecutor took on the role of the actor’s slain wife Friday, sitting in a chair while a crime reconstructionist demonstrated how Bonnie Lee Bakley was struck by two bullets fired in rapid succession by a gunman standing a few feet away.
Deputy District Attorney Shellie Samuels offered the demonstration to give jurors a clarification of where the bullets came from and in what position Bakley was seated in when they were fired.
Rod Englert, a crime reconstructionist from Portland, Ore., returning to the stand for a second time, said after he testified last month he went back to a police storage area and had a model sit in a duplicate of Blake’s car to obtain more information on the crime.
Bakley, 44, was shot May 4, 2001, in Blake’s car near a restaurant where the couple dined.
Englert held steel rods up to Samuels’ cheek and shoulder in a position he said showed the trajectory of the bullets.
He said the experiment showed the two shots that hit Bakley in the shoulder and cheek must have been fired in rapid succession.
“Common sense tells you these were rapid-fire shots, down to up,” he said. “They have to be very rapid, boom, boom. Otherwise the body would seize up.”
He also agreed with previous testimony from a medical examiner that the shooter was not firing from point-blank range, but was standing a few feet away from the victim.
On cross-examination, defense attorney M. Gerald Schwartzbach challenged the accuracy of Englert’s calculations, pressing him on whether he took into consideration that Bakley’s body in the car may have been moved by someone who tried to help her, as well as by paramedics who removed her.
Schwartzbach suggested blood patterns in the car were altered during the movement of the body — a point the witness refused to concede.
“There’s a lot of blood there, and there’s no way it could get there except from her bleeding,” Englert said. “Based on my experience, that blood was there before anyone got there.”
However, he said he had not read the testimony from a neighbor who came to Bakley’s assistance or from paramedics who were at the scene.
Schwartzbach also pointed out discrepancies in Englert’s re-enactment at the police department’s scientific headquarters.
Photographs shown by Englert of a model portraying Bakley showed her slumped over the hand brake between the front seats of the car, with the brake in a depressed position. Schwartzbach showed pictures of the car right after the killing, and the hand brake next to the bloodstained passenger seat was in the up position.