The police detective who supervised the Robert Blake murder investigation conceded Wednesday he didn’t order a gunshot residue test of the restaurant booth where the actor claimed to have left his gun — a key element of his alibi.
Detective Ronald Ito said it didn’t occur to him to order tests of the booth seat where Blake said he had left the weapon during dinner with Bonny Lee Bakley — or of carpet under the table where Blake claims he found the gun when he returned, leaving his wife alone in his car.
“You didn’t make the test in spite of information you had about where Blake said he had left the gun?” defense attorney M. Gerald Schwartzbach asked.
“No, I did not,” said Ito.
The gun was not the weapon that fired the fatal shots, but its whereabouts are central to Blake’s alibi.
Blake says he carried the gun for protection and accidentally left it in the booth, went back alone to retrieve it and then returned to his parked car, where he found Bakley fatally wounded.
Ito also acknowledged that on the night of the slaying he expressed the view to other officers “that everything circumstantial was going against Mr. Blake.”
Schwartzbach attempted to show the orders the detective gave were designed to support his view of Blake as the chief suspect from the very beginning.
The detective was on the stand all day as Schwartzbach laid out his theory that police procedures were flawed — and that officers were trying to design a case to win positive publicity by taking along an author who was writing a book about the robbery-homicide division.