Blake denied bail hearing until evidence is presented

— A Los Angeles judge ruled Thursday that a bail hearing for actor Robert Blake should wait until evidence is presented later this year on whether the actor was lying in wait to kill his wife.

Superior Court Judge Lloyd M. Nash said he would consider a bail request for Blake, 68, who maintains his innocence, after a preliminary hearing later this year.

Nash also rejected Blake's lawyer's motion to strike the special circumstance allegation that has kept the defendant in Men's Central Jail in downtown Los Angeles since his April 18 arrest at his home in Hidden Hills.

Blake's wife, Bonny Lee Bakley, 44, was fatally shot May 4, 2001, as she sat in Blake's car near a Studio City restaurant where they had dined.

Blake's attorney, Harland W. Braun, has accused prosecutors of charging Blake with capital murder for the sole purpose of preventing him from being released on bail.

After the hearing in Van Nuys, Braun said he would appeal Nash's ruling.

Braun said Deputy Dist. Attys. Patrick R. Dixon and Gregory A. Dohi lacked physical evidence and eyewitnesses to link Blake to his wife's slaying.

Sandi Gibbons, a spokeswoman for the District Attorney's Office, said the prosecutors were confident they could prove Blake's guilt.

"We think we have a very good case," she said.

Blake, who starred in the 1970s television series "Baretta," has pleaded innocent to murder and two counts of soliciting murder and conspiracy with the special circumstance of lying in wait. He faces life in prison without parole, if convicted.

Blake's bodyguard, Earle Caldwell, 46, who is charged with conspiring with Blake to kill Bakley, has pleaded innocent and faces life in prison if convicted. He was released from jail in April after Blake posted his $1 million bail.

Nash set an Aug. 27 hearing to schedule a preliminary hearing.

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