ACTOR ROBERT BLAKE'S wife shot to death near restaurant

Saturday, May 5th 2001, 12:00 am
By: News On 6

LOS ANGELES (AP) _ The wife of actor Robert Blake was shot to death in her car while she waited for the former ``Baretta'' TV star near a restaurant, police said Saturday.

There were no immediate arrests.

The woman was shot once in the head Friday evening and was pronounced dead at a hospital, police spokesman Guillermo Campos said.

Campos did not have the victim's name. But in October, Blake confirmed his engagement to Leebonny Bakley, 44, the mother of his 11-month-old daughter, Rose Lenore Sophia Blake.

Blake, 67, told officers that as the couple returned to their car from a restaurant he realized he had forgotten something and went back inside to retrieve it. When he returned, Blake said, he found his wife shot and went to a nearby home to call police, Campos said.

Blake was questioned early Saturday as a witness, Campos said.

Blake played tough TV detective Tony Baretta in the 1970s show of the same name. He has had dozens of movie roles, including real-life killer Perry Smith in the 1967 film ``In Cold Blood.''

In October, Blake said the couple planned to marry Nov. 15, after Bakley completed probation. She was convicted in her home state of Arkansas of carrying a fake ID.