Crime Library: Criminal Minds and Methods

Who Murdered Bonny Lee Bakley?

A Distraught Husband

Shaking uncontrollably and vomiting, Blake pounded repeatedly on Sean Stanek's front door and rang his doorbell repeatedly until the filmmaker opened it. He recognized Robert Blake, dressed completely in black and wearing a black cap, having seen him frequently in cafes and restaurants in the neighborhood, including Vitello's. At first, before he fully realized that the man at his door was Robert Blake, Stanek had thought that someone was playing a prank on him. But when he saw the anguish and terror in Blake's face he knew that something was terribly wrong.

"She's hurt! I need help!" yelled Blake in a highly agitated state. "Dear God, someone please help me!" As Stanek tried to calm him down, the actor, crying and shaking, told Stanek that his wife had been hurt and asked him to call 911, which Stanek did. Afterward, they ran across the street to Blake's car. By then it was 9:50 p.m.

When they reached the car, Stanek took over while Blake purportedly ran back to Vitello's to try and seek medical help, to see if there was a doctor or a nurse inside the restaurant. A nurse reportedly got up from her table and accompanied Blake outside to see if there was anything she could do to help.

While Blake was away, Stanek noted that the car's passenger window was rolled down, and there was no sign of shattered glass. The car's interior was covered with blood. Bonny, however, was still alive, but just barely. She was making gurgling sounds and was gasping for air, and her eyes rolled backward. Stanek listened intently on his cellular phone as he received first-aid instructions from a 911 operator who told him to try to stop the bleeding by pressing a towel against the wound on her head. Cradling her head in his arms, covering the wound with a towel that was fast becoming blood-soaked, Stanek could see that she was still breathing. But his efforts to save her appeared hopeless. He began speaking to her in an attempt to elicit a response from the gravely injured woman.

"Can you hear my voice?" Stanek asked. "If you can hear me, please squeeze my hand." However, there was no response.

When the police arrived, Blake was sitting on the street curb, crying and still vomiting. A policeman sat down next to him and put his arm around him in an attempt to console him. When Blake was composed enough to provide a statement, he told the police officers about his and Bonny's plans for dining out that evening. He also explained how, after dinner, he realized he had forgotten his licensed gun that he had been carrying because of Bonny's fear that an unknown person was stalking her. He explained that the gun had apparently slipped out of his waistband and onto the seat of the booth that they had occupied. He had gone back to the restaurant to retrieve it, he told the cops, and when he returned to the car he found that Bonny had been shot once behind the right ear and once in the shoulder.

Blake declined when asked by the police to take a polygraph test that evening, contending that he was much too distraught. Blake also purportedly said that he feared that he would fail the test because, as in the O. J. Simpson case, he'd had dreams of killing her and that alone might cause him to fail the test. He also reportedly said that he blamed himself for her death for leaving her alone in the car.

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