Robert Blake's Trial Scheduled to Begin

Wednesday, December 1st 2004, 2:14 pm
By: News On 6

LOS ANGELES (AP) _ Robert Blake's defense lawyer has vowed to move ahead with the actor's murder trial despite a recent break-in at the lawyers' apartment-office and the theft of a computer.

Blake, the former star of the ``Baretta'' TV series, is accused in the 2001 shooting death of Bonny Lee Bakley, whom he married months earlier after learning he was the father of her child.

The 71-year-old has pleaded not guilty to murder and solicitation of murder. He remains free on $1.5 million bail, but is confined to his home.

Opening statements in the case were scheduled to begin Monday, but a strange twist in the case suggests a delay is possible.

On Wednesday, the day the jury was sworn in, someone broke into the apartment-office of Blake's lawyer, M. Gerald Schwartzbach, and stole a computer containing what a court representative called ``the heart and soul of the defense case.''

Police were investigating and the judge put off responding until Monday.

Blake was not arrested or charged until 11 months after the killing, and additional delays came when he changed lawyers and a five-week preliminary hearing was held to determine whether there was enough evidence for a trial.