Two stunt men say actor Robert Blake tried to hire them to kill his wife, Bonny Lee Bakley. Blake attorney Harland Braun said Gary McLarty and Ronald “Duffy´´ Hambleton, who both worked on the “Baretta´´ television series with Blake, are expected to be key witnesses against his client.
Prosecutors have alleged Blake asked two people to kill Bakley before deciding to do it himself, but have not said who. Bakley was shot to death in May as she sat in her husband´s car near a Studio City restaurant. Blake and his bodyguard, Earle Caldwell, were formally charged with the crime Monday.
Blake denies any involvement in the killing, and his lawyer has said many people had a motive to kill Bakley. Braun said that at the time of Bakley´s slaying, Blake was working on a financial settlement with her that would have allowed him to divorce her and gain custody of their daughter.
Braun suggested the stunt men´s claims aren´t true, and might be a ploy to grab attention.
McLarty was involved in another high-profile Hollywood case. During the 1982 filming of the “Twilight Zone´´ movie, McLarty was in the helicopter that swooped down and killed actor Vic Morrow and two children. McLarty testified that Morrow asked to do dangerous stunts himself and resisted efforts to use a stunt double. Producer John Landis and four others were acquitted by a jury in 1987.