L.A. POLICE probing death of Robert Blake's wife sort evidence, prepare to interview bodyguard

Friday, May 11th 2001, 12:00 am
By: News On 6

LOS ANGELES (AP) _ Homicide detectives were sorting through steamer trunks, suitcases and boxes filled with potential evidence in the slaying of Robert Blake's wife.

The containers, turned over to police Thursday by Blake's attorney, were stuffed with documents, photographs and audio tapes detailing the life of the actor's wife, Bonny Lee Bakley.

Police also planned to interview Blake's bodyguard, Earl Caulfield, who allegedly saw a man watching the actor's house in recent weeks. Blake attorney Harland Braun said the mysterious stranger with the crew cut became such a fixture outside the house that the bodyguard gave him a nickname, ``Buzz.''

Bakley, whom Blake, 67, married four months ago when it was determined he was the father of her 11-month-old daughter, was shot in Blake's car Friday night after the couple ate at a nearby Studio City restaurant.

She was slain after the actor left her to go back to the restaurant to retrieve a gun _ which he was carrying because Bakley had told him she was in danger, his lawyer has said.

Braun has described Bakley as a celebrity-obsessed woman who used a lonely hearts mail solicitation scheme to get money from men. He said she was a ``packrat'' who saved all her papers and documents.

Braun said he had the materials collected and turned them over in response to a police letter. The delivery, announced in advance, drew a throng of reporters and television cameras.

With three steamer trunks, six suitcases and three file boxes full of articles, pictures and other memorabilia, Braun said it was evident Bakley, 45, was ``a packrat,'' who kept every piece of paper relating to her life.

Also turned over to police were some 90 minutes of audio tapes of Bakley's personal conversations. On the tapes, Braun said, she discussed her ``star-stalking strategy'' with friends, weighing whether it would be more beneficial for her to go after Christian Brando, son of Marlon Brando, as a potential husband or Blake. Bakley initially had claimed Christian Brando fathered her baby.

Blake, whose career dates to his days as a child actor, has made several acclaimed movies, including ``In Cold Blood'' in 1967. He remains best known for the police detective he played in the 1970s TV show ``Baretta.''