Crime Library: Criminal Minds and Methods

Who Murdered Bonny Lee Bakley?

The Murder Weapon

Within days after Bonny Lee Bakley's mysterious death, considerable attention began to focus around the discovery of a Walther PPK in a garbage bin on Woodbridge Avenue on May 7 by LAPD detectives Juan Parga, Dan Jenks and Michelle Harvey. The Walther PPK, considered a medium caliber firearm, is a small, traditional double-action gun capable of firing both .380-caliber bullets and .32-caliber bullets. With an overall length of six and one-quarter inches, a height of four inches, and a little more than an inch wide and weighing only 21 ounces, the Walther PPK is a relatively easy weapon to conceal. It was found in the vicinity where Blake had parked his black Stealth on the night of May 4, 2001.

According to reports that appeared on ABC's Good Morning, America when the story finally broke about the important discovery, the gun had three bullets in it, two of which, the police determined, that had been fired. One bullet was still in the chamber. It was also reported that the police had seized a box of ammunition, Remington Peters, a very common brand and which was the same brand found in the gun, during their initial search of Blake's home. Three bullets were missing from the box of ammunition taken from Blake's home. There was only one problem, and it was a big one — the casings on the bullets seized from Blake's home did not match the casing of the bullet found inside the Walther PPK. However, in the interim between when the gun was discovered and the time that this was finally reported a week later, the police had been able to determine that the bullet that killed Bonny had been fired from the Walther PPK.

The Walther's serial number had been filed off, and the detectives knew that professional hit men often file off the serial numbers of the guns they use to make the weapon untraceable. Since rumors and speculation hinted that a hit man hired by someone out of her past might have killed Bonny, this was one avenue that was being explored. But in this case the number had been poorly filed, and when examined by the FBI, they were able to make it out. That, in the minds of the investigators, poured considerable cold water on the hit man theory. It just didn't seem like a professional hit.

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