IE 11 is not supported. For an optimal experience visit our site on another browser.

Did star witness against Blake make up story?

Retired stuntman had read about facts of the case in the tabloids
/ Source: The Associated Press

The state’s star witness against Robert Blake came under attack Thursday by a defense attorney who got him to admit he had told police and other people lies in the past.

The defense lawyer also suggested the witness made up his story after reading tabloid accounts about the killing of Bonny Lee Bakley.

The defense is attempting to undermine earlier testimony by retired stuntman Ronald “Duffy” Hambleton that Blake plotted numerous scenarios for killing his wife before she was shot to death while sitting in the actor’s car in 2001.

Defense attorney M. Gerald Schwartzbach elicited from Hambleton that he lied to many people including police, Blake himself and a lawyer who questioned him during the preliminary hearing.

“And when you were lying you looked them right in the eye?” Schwartzbach asked.

“I don’t recall,” Hambleton said.

During cross-examination by the prosecution, Hambleton said Blake once mentioned getting his mafia contacts involved and that scared him. Hambleton said he worried about the welfare of his children and grandchildren. He suggested it was a reason he didn’t come forward for six months.

Hambleton was the last witness of the week. The trial will resume Monday, when the prosecution may rest after final witnesses.

Earlier, the defense focused on raising doubts about specific points in Hambleton’s testimony.

Hambleton acknowledged he had read tabloids for months before he told police that he had visited Blake’s home and saw a .25-caliber pistol in a holster there.

Schwartzbach suggested that Hambleton never saw such a pistol or a holster but read an account that stated there was one.

Hambleton also acknowledged to the defense that when he first talked to police about the case he never said that Blake used the word “snuffed” in describing what he wanted done to Bakley. Hambleton used that word while testifying Wednesday.

In a Jan. 28, 2002, interview quoted by Schwartzbach, Hambleton had said: “It was his usual ‘Baretta’-style talk dialogue — ‘I need to blow her away’ or something like that.”

“So you could not recall the exact words that Mr. Blake used?” Schwartzbach asked.

“I was asked what words he used and I couldn’t recall because he used many different adjectives for how he wanted her taken care of,” the witness said. “I’m not sure what word that was.”

Hambleton, 68, worked with Blake on the 1970s TV detective drama “Baretta.”