- The Washington Times - Thursday, February 27, 2003

LOS ANGELES, Feb. 27 (UPI) — A second witness testified Thursday that actor Robert Blake was formulating a plot to have his future wife, Bonny Lee Bakley, murdered two years before she was shot execution style in the front seat of his car.

Gary McLarty, a veteran stuntman, took the stand at Blake's preliminary hearing on charges that he indeed conspired to kill Bakley and testified that his long-time friend offered him $10,000 to carry out the deadly task and even tried to show him how he could slip inside the bungalow where she was living and shoot her as she was sleeping.

"Somebody at night could come in while she was sleeping," McLarty said. "He showed me how to enter the house and go up the stairway to where she slept."

McLarty said Blake discussed other potential scenarios, including ambushing her near a casino in Laughlin, Nevada, or behind a restaurant.

Bakley was killed May 4, 2001 as she waited in Blake's car parked near a restaurant where they had had dinner together. Police have found little physical evidence in the case and the gun that was retrieved near the murder scene from an oilcan had its serial numbers filed off.

McLarty, who said he refused to take part in the alleged scheme, was the second witness to tell the court that Blake had sought his help in ridding his life of Bakley, whom he believed had deliberately become pregnant in order to rope him into a marriage he wanted no part of.

William Welch, a retired Los Angeles Police Department homicide detective and private investigator, testified Wednesday that Blake had told him he had come up with a plan to kidnap the pregnant Bakley and force her to undergo an abortion. If she refused, Welch said, Blake was prepared to "whack" the 44-year-old alleged celebrity stalker.

Under cross-examination Thursday, Welch confirmed that he had continued to work for Blake after the alleged conversation, which the defense tried to portray as an empty threat by an angry Blake.

Attorney Thomas Mesereau pressed Welch on his relationships with members of the LAPD's Robbery-Homicide Division, the agency that investigated Bakley's death and placed the actor under arrest last April.

"I don't believe I am going out of my way to help them," Welch responded earnestly. "I was subpoenaed; I would rather not be here. I'm here to tell the truth."

The preliminary hearing, which will determine if there is enough to bind Blake over for trial, was interrupted briefly when Judge Lloyd Nash noticed Blake appeared woozy and asked him if he was ill.

"I'm fine. I'm in the pink," the 69-year-old Blake told the judge in dramatic fashion after struggling to his feet. "I've waited 11 months to get her and I'm not going anywhere."

Blake said in an interview aired on ABC's "20/20" Wednesday night that he feared his health would not allow him to survive long in jail.

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